Studies Say Clutter in the Home is Linked to Childhood Trauma


"Our environments are a physical representation of our lives. When we are in chaos, so are our homes, workspaces, and cars," Kate Ecke

Are you living in clutter?


The way you keep your space – your house and business – is one of the least-discussed symptoms of CPTSD. Extreme organization and meticulous cleanliness – or messy and unorganized – are two possible outcomes. We can draw connections between our past dysfunctional relationships and our current toxic relationships in each of these scenarios.


You can learn a lot about yourself by paying greater attention to how you organize or disorganize your surroundings.


Author Tisha Morris refers to clutter as "stagnant energy." She says, "where there's clutter in your home, there will be clutter in [you] — either physically, mentally or emotionally."


According to studies, clutter (a lot of it) in the home has been linked to past experiences of significant loss or trauma.


You are not alone if you have an excessive amount of clutter in your home. You aren't a loser. What happened to you left you with a scar. You will begin to address the clutter as you handle the trauma from your past. Starting with the clutter will paralyze you since the shame is real and profound.

Most people won't think it's a problem if survivors are obsessively clean and orderly unless it reaches the degree of OCD. Today, though, we'll talk about the clutter and how it can be a symptom of CPTSD, as well as some strategies you can use to help yourself.


Why We Have Clutter

There are a plethora of reasons why we have clutter. Uncontrollable consumer impulses, emotional sentiments, memories, worry about future need, guilt or obligation, and hope for a future change are only a few of the most common.


We tend to imbue our possessions with emotion since we are emotional beings. We consider these objects to be a part of us or an extension of ourselves in many ways.


While our belongings may not all be cherished friends of old, they do tend to say a lot about us. Jessie Sholl, a writer for the health website ExperienceLife.com, proposes that "different kinds of clutter signify different emotional messages."


If your clutter is made up of other people's belongings, for example, you most likely have boundary issues. If most of your clutter consists of mementos from your past, you may have difficulty letting go, forgiving, or feeling that your finest days are behind you.


If you're hoarding unused stuff, you're probably afraid of the future or wish you were someone you're not.


Do you have a lot of unfinished projects? Morris says, "a lot of times, that stems from perfectionism — it will never be good enough, not perfect enough, so they just won't finish it."


Unfinished projects serve as reminders that we have fallen short of our goals. It's depressing and unattractive.


Another cause for clutter (or a messy home) could be that we're in a toxic relationship. We often feel stuck, sluggish, or just plain tired because the other person dictates our cleaning schedule or makes us feel out of control, provoked.


Our dwellings are a reflection of our mental state.


The Effects of Clutter


Dysregulation from Stress

Clutter's most evident psychological effect is stress; therefore, it should come as no surprise that it influences our health.


Dr. Rick Hanson, author, and speaker explains how cortisol can result in actual structural changes to our brain that cause long-term sensitivity to stress.


"Cortisol goes into the brain and stimulates the alarm center, the amygdala. And kills neurons in the hippocampus, which, besides doing visual/spatial memory, also calms down the amygdala and calms down stress altogether. So, this mental experience of stress, especially if it's chronic and severe, gradually changes the structure of the brain. So, we become aggressively more sensitive to stress."


Being stressed regularly causes your brain's physical structure to change, making it even more sensitive to stress. This is made worse by the fact that those of us with CPTSD already have a dysregulated brain.


Poor Health

A cluttered home environment might trigger a low-grade fight or flight response, putting our survival resources to the test. This response can cause physical and psychological changes that damage our ability to fight illness and digest food and increase our risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


According to other studies, being in a cluttered area makes you twice as likely to consume a chocolate bar rather than an apple. Finally, overweight people are 77 percent more likely to have a cluttered home. The cleanliness of one's home is a predictor of one's physical wellness. According to another study, people who lived in cleaner homes were more active and had better physical health.


Feelings of Inadequacy or Shame

Clean homes, especially in women's homes, are a sign of "having it together." As a result, cluttered environments might lead to low self-esteem, and disorganized living quarters have been connected to depression.


What you surround yourself with confirms your preconceived ideas about whether or not you've got it all together. It represents what you're willing to put up with, what you believe you're worthy of experiencing in your life.


Anxiety and Poor Coping Mechanisms

Clutter might make us feel anxious and disrupt our sleep, and it can also make us less productive by inducing coping and avoidance behaviors that lead to us snacking on junk food and watching TV programs. According to research, our physical surroundings substantially impact our cognition, emotions, and subsequent behavior.


Clutter has been linked to bad eating habits in research studies. In one study, participants in disorganized and dirty kitchen conditions ate twice as many cookies as in an orderly kitchen environment.


Impairs Brain Function

Disorganization and clutter, according to research, have a cumulative effect on our minds. Our brains like order and repeated visual reminders of disorganization deplete our cognitive resources, making it difficult to concentrate. Clutter's visual distraction causes cognitive overload and can impair working memory.


Relationship Problems

Clutter could also have an impact on our interpersonal interactions. Background clutter, for example, caused participants in a 2016 US study to be less able to correctly understand the emotional expressions on the faces of movie characters.


Sleep Disturbances

Surprisingly, it persists even after we retire to our beds. People who sleep in messy rooms are more likely to experience sleep issues, such as trouble falling asleep and being awakened throughout the night.


Signs Your Clutter is Out of Control

Let's talk about what it looks like to have clutter issues for those of us who aren't sure whether we have one.

Clutter is a problem if:

• You are informed (or you say) that you have "too much stuff"

• You are embarrassed to bring visitors into your home because of clutter

• Because of all the "stuff" you have, you feel stuck and unable to clean or arrange.

• You have a strong emotional connection to some of the house's possessions – specific things or collections

• Because of the mess, you waste a lot of time.

• You have stacks or overloaded shelves/drawers – perhaps even a room that you never let people inside because of the mess.

• You want to declutter but are having problems deciding what to get rid of.

• Although you have no more space to put things, you purchase more items — you keep shopping.

• You become so overwhelmed that you rent a storage unit to store your belongings.

• Clutter is causing you problems at home, at work, or in your relationships.

• You have cluttered sections in your home that are unworkable.

• You don't have a "place for everything," you don't always put "everything in its place."



Why We Can't Let Go

Your house is a physical manifestation of your mind and soul.


The majority of individuals hold on to clutter because it holds some emotional value for them. Things are kept for sentimental reasons. A broken toy, for example, can still stay in the closet since it was the final thing a loved one gave them before they died. As a result, the owner associates love with the toy.


We may save items because we believe we may need them in the future. We may retain things because they make us feel safe or in charge in some way.


Some of us even have "organized clutter" — a plethora of boxes and bins, all perfectly labeled and stacked, none of which we will ever use or require.


One of the reasons so many people struggle to let go of things, both physical and emotional, is that the decluttering process may be complicated and overwhelming when viewed as its whole.

In any event, we may think of clutter as additional weight in our lives: it's overwhelming and seems hard to lose, but if we start small, we'll be able to lose both the weight and the clutter. When we learn to control our clutter, we often learn to control our weight as well.


The solution will not appear overnight, but we can take steps to improve our lives and change our ways.


You're probably already aware that clutter might make you feel irritated and leave you with less free time to enjoy life. We're well aware that it can disrupt our social lives and generate a slew of other problems.


The Key to Letting Go and Decluttering

Mindfulness can assist you in removing clutter by allowing you to focus on one area or issue at a time that needs to be addressed. You'll be able to simplify your life by keeping what you need and letting go of what you don't.


Concentrate entirely on the things that are important to you. You can reduce stress by adopting mindfulness to help you clean out the clutter. Things we hold and feelings we refuse to let go of might serve as reminders of what once was.


You may believe that you will not have to deal with issues if you don't address them. However, clutter lingers, and you are aware of it subconsciously. You'll be able to retain a better ability to focus in all areas of your life if you let mindfulness help you organize your life.


When you let go of things, you'll feel better emotionally. You'll also be able to find items when you need them, rather than looking and being frustrated when you can't.


Furthermore, you will save money by not purchasing items that you already own. One of the most significant advantages of utilizing mindfulness to declutter is that it does more than provide you extra space in your house or business.


It enables you to let go of mental and emotional baggage, allowing you to develop your mindfulness. To get the best results, go over each aspect of your life one by one and clean out the clutter.


Solutions for Clearing Out the Clutter

  1. Don't feel embarrassed; seek assistance! Pay someone to come over and help you get things sorted if you can afford it. Recruit your children or offer to help a friend tidy their home in exchange for their assistance in decluttering yours. It can be intimidating, and having a second pair of hands can make all the difference.

  2. Take small measures at first. We'll talk about a strategy for getting organized in part two of this series. You don't have to do everything at once, but if you move through the steps as you have time, your home will be clutter-free in no time.

  3. Give yourself thirty minutes a day to focus on the clutter if you've always found it challenging since you think the task is too enormous. You'll discover that breaking down a job makes it easier to complete.

Our surroundings are a feedback loop. We construct our clutter around psychological elements such as impulses, sentiments, memories, fear, guilt, or an idealized vision of oneself.


The clutter then causes negative psychological impacts such as worry, self-doubt, poor attention span and focus, and unwanted behavior, all of which drive us to buy additional "comfort items" or clutch even closer to the ones we already have.


If you want to develop something or advance in some aspect of your life, the first step should be to clean up your environment. Make sure that your surroundings support the energy and transformation you desire to experience.


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