Messy Room Depression: Understanding the Link Between Clutter and Mental Health

Do you often find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed when you step into your cluttered room? You’re not alone. Studies show that living in a messy environment can have a negative impact on our mental health. This condition is commonly referred to as “Messy Room Depression”.

What Is Messy Room Depression?

Messy Room Depression is a term used to describe the feelings of anxiety and sadness that arise from living in a cluttered environment. This condition is not only limited to bedrooms but can also affect office spaces, living rooms, and other cluttered areas. The cluttered space tends to trigger feelings of being stuck, out of control, and overwhelmed.

While it can be easy to ignore a cluttered space, studies have shown that living in a disorganized environment can have a significant impact on our mental health. A study from the University of California found that physical clutter in the home can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

The Psychology Behind Messy Room Depression

There are several psychological factors that contribute to Messy Room Depression. The first is the psychological weight of clutter. A cluttered environment makes it difficult to focus and think clearly, leading to increased stress levels. The second factor is the emotional attachment to clutter. Many people hold onto items that have emotional significance, leading to difficulty in letting go of things that are no longer needed.

The third factor is the learned behavior of chaos. When we grow up in a cluttered environment, we may learn to accept clutter as the norm. This can lead to a cycle of cluttered living spaces throughout adulthood. Finally, the psychological impact of clutter can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment. A cluttered living space can make us feel like we have failed in some way, leading to decreased self-esteem and increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

The Relationship Between Messy Room Depression and Mental Health

The link between clutter and mental health has been well established. A study from Princeton University found that a cluttered environment can overload our senses, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress and anxiety. Additionally, research has shown that people who lived in cluttered environments were more likely to have elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

Living in a cluttered environment can also lead to feelings of overwhelm, which can lead to a lack of motivation and feelings of hopelessness. This sense of being stuck can make it difficult to take action to improve our situation, leading to a cycle of clutter and poor mental health.

The Benefits of a Tidy Living Space

Decluttering and tidying up your living space can have a significant impact on your mental health. A study from the University of California found that people who lived in tidy spaces were more productive and less stressed than those living in cluttered environments.

Tidying up your living space can also lead to increased feelings of control and self-esteem. When we take the time to declutter our living spaces, we are taking control of our environment and our lives. This can lead to an increased sense of confidence and self-worth.

Finally, a tidy living space can lead to increased feelings of calm and relaxation. When we remove clutter from our environment, we are creating a peaceful space where we can relax and unwind.

How to Overcome Messy Room Depression

Overcoming Messy Room Depression requires a combination of mindset shifts and behavior changes. The first step is to recognize the impact that clutter is having on your mental health. Once you understand the relationship between clutter and mental health, you can begin to take action to declutter your living space.

Start by setting realistic goals for decluttering. This could mean tackling one small area of your living space each day or decluttering for 15 minutes each night before bed. The key is to start small and build momentum over time.

As you begin to declutter, try to be mindful of the emotional attachment you may have to certain items. It can be difficult to let go of things that hold sentimental value, but it’s important to remember that the memories associated with these items will always be with us, even if the physical items are gone.

Finally, try to adopt new habits that will help you maintain a tidy living space. This could mean taking a few minutes each day to put things away or dedicating a few hours each weekend to deep cleaning and organization.


Messy Room Depression is a very real condition that can have a significant impact on our mental health. Living in an environment that is cluttered and disorganized can lead to increased stress and anxiety, decreased productivity, and low self-esteem. However, by understanding the link between clutter and mental health and taking action to declutter our living spaces, we can improve our mental and emotional wellbeing.


FAQs about “Messy Room Depression”

What is “Messy Room Depression?”

“Messy Room Depression” refers to the feeling of sadness, apathy, and lack of motivation that can result from living in a cluttered or disorganized space. It is not a clinically recognized condition, but many people report feeling frustrated or overwhelmed when their living space is messy.

Can a messy room cause depression?

While there is no definitive answer to this question, some research suggests that a cluttered or disorganized environment can contribute to negative emotions, stress, and anxiety. A messy room can also make it harder to focus and can make it difficult to relax and rest properly.

What can I do to combat “Messy Room Depression?”

One of the simplest ways to prevent “Messy Room Depression” is to tidy up your living space. Dedicate a few minutes each day to putting things away, throwing things out, and making your bed. You can also try breaking down larger cleaning tasks into smaller steps, and setting achievable goals for yourself. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself – a clean and organized living space can take time and effort to achieve.


1. Stoppard, J. M., & McMullen, T. (2018). The relationship between clutter and depression: A review. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 99, 61-67.
2. Saxbe, D., Repetti, R. L., & Nishina, A. (2008). Marital satisfaction, recovery from work, and diurnal cortisol among men and women. Health Psychology, 27(1S), S15-S25.
3. Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2005). Emotion context insensitivity in major depressive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114(4), 627-639.