Visual Clutter Contributes to Mental Clutter

Typical work day consists of going to work, coming home, making dinner, doing some tasks in the evening, and then going to bed.

I had noticed in more recent months, that I would feel uninterested in accomplishing tasks. In particular, those tasks that had to be done at home like unloading the dishwasher, folding clothes, and a lot more. It was like when I got home, the mental stress of work did not dissipate. It was like it got worse. I was curious why this was the case.

I started doing research and looking into whether there was a correlation between an organized space and mental health. The first set of search results mentioned that there was a connection between hoarding and ADHD. Also there was a connection between not being able to get things done, and having disorganized spaces in your home. Here I am wondering if it exists, and turns out not only does it exist, but there’s studies that have been done that support that this exists.

I watched some of these video webinars and presentations about this link that they have found between hoarding and ADHD. In short, it mentioned that the lack of organization, and in some cases constantly being able to see everything that is wrong or out of place, contributed to ADHD and mental exhaustion. It continued on to explain that when you see something out of place or something that needs to be done but you do not want to do it, it creates a sense of not accomplishing tasks. Thus further increasing your mental load and making conditions like ADHD worse.

Had I known this earlier, I would have done more cleaning a while ago. I say this because I had within the last year or so been feeling overwhelmed with a to do list that seemed to never get shorter. Thus the things in my home, have become disorganized, like fruit on the counter, dishes left out to dry on the counter never being put away, and unwanted mail not being disposed of.

To add to this, as being a DIY-er and a handyman, a number of the projects that I want to do or need to complete, add to this mental load that will not decrease until I do them. For example, I bought a storm door to install. It took me almost 3 years to install the door. Not because I did not know what I was doing, but because I was just overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done. Oddly when I did get the door installed, the closer that came with the door did not close. Thus fixed one thing (installing the door), but added another thing to the list (having to replace closer for a brand new-ish door).

After watching a couple videos on this topic, that same day I came home and cleaned the kitchen. This was not a deep clean, but it was a visual clean. It included unloading and reloading the dishwasher, removing unwanted mail from the counter tops, putting away items that were left on the counter to completely dry away, moving shelf-stable food items to a cabinet, and hand washing the dishes that had been in the sink for at least a week that are not dishwasher safe.

After doing all of that, I felt a sense of accomplishment and less visual stress when entering the kitchen. One other thing that was mentioned in the videos, is to let go of things that you know that you do not need or use. Now I do have plenty of pots and pans, but there are some pans that I rare use and they could probably be donated and somebody else get more use out of them. At the same time, I probably should be cooking more at home, so those pots and pans could get more use than what they currently are getting.

I am going to continue to research and learn more about the subject, because it is something that I strongly believes that it relates to me and I do believe is gives greater insight into why some people insist on living minimalist lives.

Posted: 2024-02-27
Author: Kenny Robinson