With scores of books and articles praising the psychological benefits of decluttering, it’s worth wondering why we have clutter in the first place?
Clinical psychologist Noah Mankowski, an expert in hoarding, says that while there isn’t any solid scientific evidence to prove that the actual site of clutter is significant, there could be some truth to it.
“The way you perceive your clutter is the way you perceive yourself and your relationships,” he said, adding that where we put our clutter usually corresponds to different emotional events.
If you have a lot of stuff in the attic or the basement, according to Mankowski, this might indicate an inability to let go of the past.
For example, clutter in the living room might suggest blockages in your social life, as well as your relationship with yourself.
“When you clutter things, you can’t see the surface, you can’t see the carpet, you can’t see the floorboards, you can’t see the surroundings. Which actually allows you to not deal with it – it’s a way of coping,” Mankowski said.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapist Bridget Fitzgerald said a home that’s too clean can also be telling.
“A clutter-free environment might suggest someone who is not able to tolerate the untidiness or uncertainty inherent in life and relationships,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
Whichever school of thought, it can’t hurt to ask yourself, “what might my clutter be telling me?”