Dysfunction, they concluded, includes stress and an unhealthy diet. They also determined that clutter leads to dysfunction in social situations because people who live with large amounts of clutter were slow to notice visual cues in social interactions whereas people who do not live surrounded by clutter spot visual clues easily. This underscores the brain research on sensory overload.
Lack of organization is the reason for most physical clutter, which is good news because it is fixable. Getting rid of and organizing other people’s “stuff” provides a lucrative living for some, but there are websites dedicated to helping the do-it-yourself individual. Our “stuff” is hard to part with because we feel personally infused with it, and it is uncanny how quickly clutter attracts more clutter. But parting with some of it must be done if clutter has moved well beyond the junk drawer. Some things can be packed or filed, others can be given away, sold, or even (shudder!) thrown out. Use a cell phone to take pictures of things to be given, sold or thrown away. Take trips down Memory Lane and enjoy those electronic pictures, but prune the physical clutter!
There is no disputing the fact that the science is correct. Careful and regular pruning of clutter is necessary in order to avoid being over-crowded with visual stimuli. It takes determination and dedication, but it is worth it. Decluttering helps to make our physical space one that enhances our serenity and strengthens our ability to concentrate, control stress, and thrive. We deserve no less, and it is a gift we can give to ourselves.