14 thoughts on “The Link Between Disorganization, Depression and Anxiety

  • June 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

    You hit the nail on the head Dr.! Thank you!

    • March 16, 2018 at 5:25 am

      The same here! I just woke up with a mess everywhere, clothes accumulating in the spare bedroom waiting to be out in the closet, dishes all around the kitchen and the little clothes I had organised did not fit mylself they way I want them because I have been eating whatever I see for the last month. This chaos came right inside my mind and I left my house feeling overwhelmed already at 8am. Just from reading this, I feel much relieved. Even though from what I said it does not seem like, I love the topic of organisation and I read a lot about it. But when it comes to following a routine, I feel like I boycott myself all the time. It feels good to skip my tasks some time – I fell free. But on the net day when I realise the mess has installed again all around, the overwhelming starts all over again. I guess I just need to trust the system and give it time to work. I won’t give up

  • June 23, 2016 at 7:05 am

    People are sloppy because they’re depressed, not the other way ’round. Being more organized might take one thing off their plate, but they’ll still be depressed.

    • September 8, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      I think both H.W. and Dr. Sherman have valid observations concerning the effects of clutter and disorganization. Some people are disorganized and have cluttered environment as a result of depression. Others become depressed or more depressed when they have disorganized lives and environments. When I was very young, I remember we had a person in our neighborhood called “the roach lady,” who lived in a cluttered and disorganized home. One day I went over to her home at her husband’s invitation and she had stacks of newspapers (roaches are attracted to newspapers for food, cover, and olfactory stimulation) that were several feet high and had a path between them. In retrospect, I don’t know if she was depressed, but her husband sure was depressed and anxious.

      Based upon my own personal experiences, a shopping addiction or over shopping as a conscious or unconscious activity to overcome anxiety and depression can lead to the accumulation of so many “cherished” items that over time cause your home, car, and other environments become so cluttered and disorganized that the situation paradoxically increases your anxiety, depression, and disorganization. Is this a chicken and the egg sort of thing?

  • June 25, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Great article, Audrey. I definitely see the connection between anxiety and depression and mess/clutter. I know for me, having an orderly and pleasant physical space is important in maintaining good mental health as well.

    • September 11, 2018 at 5:06 am

      I live with my sister who has been in depression for many years. In the past 1.5 years, both of my parents have died, and I believe she may have plunged deeper. She has -0- motivation, and the slightest of tasks is a huge chore , such as loading the dishwasher, getting the mail. She sleeps until 11 or noon, watches TV and/ or surfs the net for hours. Also has a preoccupation with death and people who have passed on. She has always lived in the past. She is incredibly sloppy to the point that it is now affecting my mental health. I can’t talk to her, she ignores, gets defensive or on one occasion became physical. I have expressed how important it is for me to have
      an organized environment for my own peace and harmony. I am contemplating moving out of state, but am afraid for her mental stability since there is no family left and no real friends she can rely upon .She refuses to get help, should I stage an intervention?

  • July 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Dear Dr. Sherman, you write great articles, and I love your style … This article and a previous one included some of the things I had already suspected about my problems with depression. However, you articulated the details in ways that helped me to see the solutions clearer. And because I was hearing it from someone else, I felt more like someone else was encouraging me, and giving me the help I really need to cope with some of these problems. I know my comments may sound vague, or don’t really specify my exact problems. But please know anyway that for me, you “hit the nail right on the head,” when it came to explaining my problems and providing solid ways to cope with them. I look forward to reading more of your insightful articles. I feel better already!!! Al D … 07-11-2016, MON

    • July 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

      So glad to hear this was helpful! If you take even small steps each day to take control of your environment you will feel better right away. Part of it is the taking control and part of it is freeing yourself up of clutter or overwhelm. Thank you for commenting, let me know if I can be of further help.

      • February 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm

        Great article. So true. So helpful.

  • October 16, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    How can you say that if I am organized my depression will be cured? You sound like my abbusive husband. You’ve got it so so wrong!! Because of my Major Depressive Disorder my brain does not function in an orderly manner, not the other way around. I wish it were that simple!

  • February 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    My problem is not knowing what I have to do to be organized, m problem is maintaing that order. How do people build that discipline? Im 53 and feel like a failure when I see the chaos in my house. I can’t even seen to be able to build the discipline of leaving the kitchen clean every night like normal people. I do constantly work on declutter, so my house can look good without major cleaning, and I have someone come help me twice a month.

  • February 4, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    I like that you suggested sticking to the schedule when your house needs to be cleaned. My husband and I always argue because we can’t find some of our belongings. Our house is too cluttered because we can’t find time to throw away unused things due to our busy schedule. We’ll hire a junk removal company instead.

  • February 27, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve suffered from clinical depression for many years, sometimes worse than others. I’m living with clutter now: house mainly. It is hard to get the motivation to tackle a seemingly very large task, but I have been able to do little pieces to make small amounts of progress.

    The feeling of relief and freedom (not to mention more motivation) that comes from tackling ANY chore is great for my feelings of anxiety and depression. I don’t believe that decluttering cures depression/anxiety by any means, but it helps!

    • February 27, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      Hi MT,
      Decluttering gives you the wonderful gift of feeling in control of at least some part of your life and that is uplifting!The pride in knowing you control your environment to whatever degree is worth whatever effort you have available to allot to it.
      The calmness of a clutter free zone provides you a place to relax and not see a huge mess screaming your name.
      Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing your experience,
      Audrey Sherman


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