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The Psychology of Clutter


This 4-episode Psychology of Clutter Masterclass series features the Loving Roots Project founder, Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, clinical psychologist & relationship coach in partnership with Adriana Fernandez, tidying coach & professional organizer.

In this Masterclass, we will be reviewing how clutter impacts the brain, your productivity at work as well as how to create more healthy habits with tidying and your lifestyle and creating happiness and improved mental health through better organization.

Episode 1: The Effects of Clutter on the Brain
Episode 2: Healthy Habits for Your Brain & Space
Episode 3: Productivity in a Tidy Workspace
Episode 4: Happiness Through Tidying & Better Mental Health

Episode 1: The Effects of Clutter on the Brain

Click video to play full length episode.

Effects on the Brain: Clutter creates disorganization in the brain, difficulties processing information, trouble focusing, paying attention, less productivity & decreased memory.

Sensory Input: Ways the brain is impacted by sensory input: visual, auditory, tactile, & olfactory. Our brains become overstimulated with too much sensory input, which leads to exhaustion, burn-out and it weakens our brain’s sensory responses.

Stress: High stress creates higher cortisol levels, which impacts the brain, decision making, personal control, etc.

Tips: Ways to declutter your brain, your physical & digital space and refocus your life.

Episode 2: Creating Healthy Habits for Your Space & Brain

Effects of Clutter on Habits: Research indicates higher stress & anxiety caused by clutter correlate with higher unhealthy habits, including procrastination, unhealthy eating, and less productivity.

Living Healthy Lifestyle: Incorporating mindfulness, creating healthy spaces that are our sanctuaries, finding more meaning in our life and habits as well as living with intention.

Habit Formation: How habits are created, the distinction between goal setting & habits and the importance of internal & external motivators as well as repeated behaviors.

Tips: 5 top tips for creating healthy organizational habits.

Episode 3: Productivity in a Tidy Workspace

Effects of Clutter on Productivity: Higher levels of clutter is directly linked to lower productivity. This includes workspace clutter and digital clutter.

How Clutter Impacts Work: Clutter causes the brain to receive too much stimuli, increases stress, mental overload, procrastination and difficulty finding things when they are disorganized.

Strategies to Reduce Work Clutter: Tips include ideas for the employer to encourage better habits and tidiness with their employees as well as tips for the employee to better manage their space, time management, and create positive systems.

Episode 4: Happiness Through Tidying & Better Mental Health

Mental Health Functioning: Correlation between high levels of clutter with depression, anxiety and hoarding.

Mind-Body Connection: Clutter can have a direct impact on our physical & mental wellbeing such as poor eating habits and being less physically active.

Impacts on Relationships: Disorganization can play a role in maintaining relationships due to being distracted by mental clutter and various stressors. Clutter can be time consuming and impact one’s ability to follow through on commitments.

Tidying & Happiness: Clutter has an impact on our perception of our home environment as well as our satisfaction with life. Organization improves our overall wellbeing and happiness. The importance of choosing experiences over materialism.