Science Agrees We Should All Make Like Marie Kondo And Declutter

It's clear that the cleaning phenomenon sweeping the world is actually really good for your home and your brain.

Psychology professor Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., from DePaul University in Chicago says a cluttered home is actually not a place where people can thrive. And he'd know -- he specialises in procrastination, the meaning of home, and how those concepts work together.

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"Clutter is not a good thing," Ferrari told Inverse. “People ask me about the positive side of clutter and I say, 'There isn’t any positive side.'"


*goes home and throws contents of apartment into bin*

According to Ferrari, it's not the fact that we have a lot of stuff that is the problem, it's our attachment to that stuff.

He says he has demonstrated in his studies that people with clutter have a problem making decisions; they seem to be trapped in a circle. "Decisional procrastinators" as he calls them, report that they have too much clutter, which interferes with their quality of life, and clutter, in turn, is the best predictor of procrastination.

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So basically, it's lose-lose -- you have too much stuff to think straight and yet, to think about getting rid of it, you need to clear your mind and you can't because, well, you have too much stuff.


And that isn't all.

When people were asked about clutter by Ferrari and his colleagues, the data revealed "having an attachment to a physical home and identifying with personal possessions were linked to a greater sense of psychological home -- the idea that home is an emotional state that you carry with you."

But once you have too much stuff in there, that changes.

“We have found that clutter decreases your sense of home and it decreases your life satisfaction,” Ferrari told Inverse. “Things that make you happy are important, but the question is: Do you really need so many of them?”

One thing the experts disagree with Marie Kondo about in fact -- speaking of making you happy -- is the idea of holding an item and asking if it sparks joy for you. In fact, Ferrari says you should not even touch items you're trying to get rid of. “Experts say that once you touch an item, you’ve become personally attached to it,” Ferrari explained.

READ MORE: How To Pack For A Trip The Marie Kondo Way

What you need instead is someone else to hold it up and say, ‘Okay, we’ve organised, we see that you’ve got 14 pairs of black pants. Do you really need this one?’”

And while it's tempting to say that ALL 14 pairs spark joy we all know that's not really true. So c'mon -- unless you work at David Jones it could be time to pare it back a bit.

“Clutter can interfere with your life,” Ferrari agreed. “People identify with their items and letting go is tough for people. But I think there is a limit to how much we can have.”

Feature Image: Getty.