Skip to Content

Research Into the Negative Effects of Clutter

Research Into the Negative Effects of Clutter


Sometimes it helps to receive different perspectives on a subject. We all take in information differently and we have diverse interests and motivations. For those of you who’d like to delve deeper, check out this post listing some of the research into the negative effects of clutter.


There are so many benefits to living a life with less clutter. I know that I feel lighter, freer and less overwhelmed by the daily challenges of life if I have less stuff in my home and my life in general.

That means less to tidy, less to clean and less to do. That sounds good enough in itself but the hidden story behind this is that I also have more time, more freedom and more energy to do what I want, when I want.

When I first began to explore a more minimalist lifestyle and the concept of living with less, it was because I’d realised that the key to a happier, less overwhelming life (for me) was to simplify things where I could.

I learnt about the effect of clutter on our brains and bodies, the relationship between clutter and stress and our ability to focus, the impact of over-consumption and living a life constantly chasing more and making decisions every second of every day.

I learnt about the ways we distract and divert our feelings by buying more stuff or choosing less healthy eating options. Filling our brains and our bodies with clutter that just drowns out negative emotions without addressing the root problem.

Simplifying my life was the key to making my life easier – happier, more rewarding and less stressful.

Here are some posts which you may find helpful if you’re looking to explore what simplicity could mean for you.


I thought it also might be helpful to give you some links to other research and articles on the effect of clutter and how these may be lessened through decluttering and living a more minimalist lifestyle.

It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out. It’s just about being aware of the impact of clutter and how our modern lifestyle of ‘be’ more, ‘have’ more and ‘achieve’ more can tempt us away from a life that’s better for us and better for others.

Below you’ll find some links to that research. The list isn’t a comprehensive guide to all the research but I hope it’s an overview to help you appreciate the negative effects of clutter and some tips to help you overcome them.

(Please note that I try to keep these links up to date and relevant. Please let me know at [email protected] if they don’t work, or you find some more links to add to the collection!)

Research into the negative effects of clutter


Joseph Chancellor and Sonja Lyubomirsky
Money for Happiness: The Hedonic Benefits of Thrift

Ryan T. Howell, Pauline Pchelin and Ravi Iyer
The preference for experience over possessions: Measurement and construct validation of the Experiential Buying Tendency Scale

Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn

The Minimalists

Minimalism & Happiness Through Scientific Eyes

Tedtalk: A Rich Life with Less Stuff

A Study in Psychological Science
Physical order promotes healthy choices

The National Institute of Mental Health
Family Burden of Compulsive Hoarding: Results of an Internet Survey

Dan Gilbert
Tedtalk: The Surprising Science of Happiness

Tedtalk: The 100 things challenge

UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF)

Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments

A Study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

The Choosi Clutter Report