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The phrase “money can’t buy you happiness” is only sort of true. If you’re a hobbyist, the things you obsess over bring you joy. If you’re a professional, tools can literally buy you a livelihood. But sometimes, Marie Kondo is right – having those things cluttering up your house does not spark joy. There are some proven negative effects of having too much clutter!

Why Do We Have Clutter?

People acquire stuff for many reasons, and keeping it doesn’t always make us hoarders. For some of us, shopping is cathartic; it feels good to walk out of the store with something new, or score a great deal at a garage sale. Sometimes objects have enormous sentimental value, like an heirloom or a lost loved one’s possessions. No matter the reason, clutter can have serious effects on our daily lives.


The most obvious problem with clutter in your home is safety. There’s a reason fire safety standards for public places are so strict – clutter serves not only as fuel for a fire, but can impede your exit during an emergency. Clutter also attracts dust and pests, and difficulty in removing those things can worsen allergies.

But some effects are not as obvious. A 2017 study explored the role of clutter in people’s eating choices. It found that a chaotic environment – such as a messy kitchen or cluttered living room – actually influenced participant choices in eating, causing them to choose unhealthier foods.


A home should be a source of pride. It’s a piece of the world you carve out for yourself. If your home is messy and cluttered, you will likely lose this sense of pride. Worse, you may avoid having company, as many hoarders often do.

A 2012 study on the idea of cognitive control identifies clutter as potentially harmful to productivity. Reading facial expressions and focusing on work is more difficult in a cluttered environment. This can also exacerbate memory loss from old age. Similarly, this clutter can make it harder to find essential items in your home, leading to stress and frustration.

Looking to free up space, but have stuff you just can’t part with? Hillsborough Self-Storage offers both standard and climate-controlled storage. Our location offers 24/7 access and is convenient to I-85, I-40, the Triad and Triangle. Contact us today for a free quote!

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