Clutter and Its Effects on Families

By: Lauren Tankle


I get overwhelmed when things are out of place in my home. I hate coming home to see the clutter on the dining room table consisting of the bag from my trip to the store, coats and back packs that were abandoned as well as all the soccer practice gear from the day before that I haven’t gotten around to putting away yet. I realize how this overwhelms me, but I never really thought about it overwhelming my six year old.mess-1508597.jpg

Until recently, I figured that the more toys a kid had, the happier they would be. That method would have worked for me anyway. But after some research, I learned that the clutter that lingers around the house, weighing down on your mental to do list, may also be weighing down your toddler’s mind as well.

3 ways clutter can effect your child:

1. Slower rate in learning. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that when children have a large number of things competing for their attention at once, they have a more difficult time focusing on one thing at a time. The effects of being over stimulated over a long period of time can lead to a slower rate in learning.

2. Social Development. Being over stimulated can also cause toddlers to become over tired and more irritable which may even begin to have an impact on the child’s social development.

3. Bad Behavior. A messy home is more predictive of bad behavior than parenting style alone, according to a 2006 article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines.



3 tips on how you can prevent the effects of clutter:

  1. Don’t let things accumulate. Take 15 minutes a day, right when you get home, to tidy up a bit. Doing this repetitively will get you in the habit of tidying up every day and start working to eliminate the clutter in your home.
  1. Leave the dining room table clean. In my home, the dining room table is like a vacuum, collecting all the stray items left around. I have been actively working to minimize the clutter on the table to allow us to use the table together for work or homework or just to spend time together.
  1. Go through your children’s toys. To prevent over stimulating your child with visual clutter and the endless possibilities of simple choices to make, keep some of their items out and put some away. Cycle through your children’s toys every so often instead of dumping all the items they own into their room.


I recently went to the dollar store in Brockton and saw that they are currently carrying several different types of plastic bins. I grabbed 4 bins (1$ each!) and used them to store the seemingly endless amount of kids meal toys. I like the idea of bins because you can still have all of your kid’s items stored in their room, but the space will look very simplistic because the clutter is hidden in the bins.

How do you keep the clutter in your home to minimum? Do you have any organizing tricks that declutter your home or just make your life easier? Let us know in the comments below!


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