Much has been said about the effects of clutter on homebuyers and home sales, but what about its effects on you and your everyday life? Most of us have a little clutter in our homes, which poses no threat to our quality of life, but for some, it can have a negative impact on our happiness and healthfulness. Here's how.

Stress and Other Negative Emotions 
Studies have shown that clutter can be a source of constant, low-grade stress, whether because it assaults the eye and brain with too much visual stimuli, resulting in feelings of "information overload", or because clutter is a visual reminder of the work you feel you should be doing – that is, cleaning up. Clutter can also engender feelings of lethargy, shame, hopelessness, and a loss of control over one's life and may be felt by the whole family.

Time and Money 
Clutter isn't just a psychic drain, it's a drain on your time and finances too. When you have a place for everything and everything is in its place, things are easy to find; when you live in clutter, you waste valuable time and energy every day looking for things – things that may be right in front of you, but obscured by clutter. A disorganized home can also cause us to waste money: we may not pay bills on time, or buy duplicates of items we "lost" or didn't realize we already had, for example.

Your Social Life 
Does the thought of having guests over send you into a tailspin of anxiety? Is getting ready for company an all-day event? Have you stopped inviting people over or making friends because you're embarrassed about your home? Are you habitually late for appointments because you're held up looking for things, causing conflict with friends and family? Or perhaps people have begun to treat you differently and are uncomfortable or avoid spending time in your home.

Living in the Past 
Holding onto "stuff" can be a way of holding onto the past. When we're tied down by the memories that are tied to our belongings, it's hard to move forward in life, to achieve our goals and address persistent problems. To put it in Feng Shui terms, "nothing new flows into your life until you make room for it". In other, more familiar words — out with the old and in with the new. Remember, you don't need to hold on to the item in order to hold on to the memory.

Safety and Sanitation 
Clutter can make a home difficult to navigate through, increasing the likelihood of trips and falls – something you especially want to avoid in homes with children or older adults. Speaking of children, clutter makes it easier for them to get their hands on things they shouldn't. It also makes it harder to keep your home clean, as it obscures surfaces and collects dirt itself, leading to excessive dust and perhaps mold, which is particularly problematic if anyone in your home has respiratory sensitivities.

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