How Clutter Impacts Your Energy (And What That Means For You)

minimalism Nov 07, 2023
How Clutter Impacts Your Energy

There’s nothing that quite impacts our energy as immediately as our environments. Our surroundings affect our energy just by being in them. Of course, this means that clutter impacts your energy as well, but let’s look at this a bit broader first.

Walking into a room immediately evokes some kind of response- even if it’s a room you’ve been in a million times. Our brains are constantly assessing our surroundings for danger and responding via our bodies. Our bodies work on autopilot constantly, so you may not necessarily realize every response you’re experiencing.

How Your Environment Immediately Impacts Our Energy.

I like to use a day spa as an example. When you walk into a spa you immediately feel serene. Maybe you hear the sounds of soft music or a trickling fountain and you see the soothing decor. The smells are probably the most powerful thing that influences your immediate relaxation.

What response does your body have to this? Your shoulder relaxes down your back and you start breathing more deeply. Take this in contrast with a haunted house. The immediate response there would be one of tension, raised shoulders, and shallow breathing.

Like I said before, nothing has an immediate impact on your mood and energy like your environment does.

How Clutter Impacts Your Energy.

For so many reasons, clutter, specifically, impacts your energy. I’m not going to do a deep dive into the psychological and biological impacts of clutter because I’ve covered this in detail in other articles. There have been many studies done. You can check out these other articles on the psychological effects of clutter and how clutter impacts your health and wellness.

Clutter overwhelms your brain which results in a behavior.

On the most basic level, clutter overwhelms your brain. Princeton University did a study that explained how clutter in sight competes for the brain’s resources. Clutter is visually disruptive and overwhelms your brain that’s trying to process everything in real-time.

What happens when your brain starts feeling overwhelmed? Like when you’re trying to learn a piece of technology that you’re not familiar with? I know that I get super frustrated. That frustration is a mood and moods show up as behaviors.

That’s why it can be so easy to get into habits of stress, frustration, and acting irritated when our environment is consistently cluttered and overwhelming.

“Energy blocks” add hiccups to your day and alter your mood.

There’s another concept that I call “energy blocks”. These are the belongings that cause hiccups of frustration or negativity when you come into contact with them.

They can be physical or emotional. Physical energy blocks are broken equipment, cluttered spaces, or anything that’s visually or mechanically disruptive. Every time you see it or go to use it you get frustrated or annoyed.

Emotional energy blocks are even more powerful because they bring on a negative emotional response every time you see or come into contact with it. This could be something like remnants of a past relationship that make you feel sad or bad about yourself every time you come across it.

These things should be the first to go when you’re decluttering your home. You’ll be amazed at how much more smoothly your day will go when you don’t have these areas of frustration sprinkled throughout your home.  

Your clutter affects the way you feel about yourself.

When we’re talking about your own spaces (i.e. your home or your bedroom) there’s an even higher emotional investment. That’s because you take on the ownership and responsibility for that space. Because of this, when it’s perceived that the area is out of control, you internalize that.

We often see our living space as being a reflection of ourselves or “having it together”. This is especially true for women, mothers in particular. It makes sense when you consider that our homes are typically a reflection of our internal lives.

Also, the belongings that you do keep are symbolic of what you tolerate in your life. If all of your belongings are worn-out hand-me-downs that you’re holding out of obligation or guilt- that’s telling yourself that you take what’s left- that you tolerate whatever is given.

These things matter for your general daily energy. When your surroundings are piled up and falling apart your energy (which is drawn from your environment) is going to be mediocre. Meh.

Your Environment Can Either Suck Your Energy Or Support It.

Finally, there’s the general mechanics of having clutter to consider. The more excess you have, the more time and energy invested in tending to and working around those things. Each belonging we own requires something from us. We have to maintain it or at very least push it aside or step over it when it’s in the way.

This is your sanctuary and safe space so it’s worth considering how your own environment and clutter impact your energy.


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