THE CLUTTER CLEANSE (PART ONE)
Minimalism, clearing space, and decluttering are all quite popular right now, and there’s a good reason for that. Clearing away and decluttering your space can help to eliminate stress.
We have detoxes; spiritual cleanses, and now we have a clutter cleanse. There have been many studies that show that visual complexity has an effect on our feelings.
We react to sensory stimulation. Sensory information comes from sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Any of our five senses can be over stimulated.
The important thing to understand in your home is our stimulation threshold. That is how much is too much or not enough. Reaching a healthy balance is important.
We are limited to the amount of information we can process. We can experience overload in a cluttered space. This overload causes stress.
The tricky part is that we all have different thresholds. Under stimulation can cause anxiety. If we have been living in an environment with high stimulation, then we may have adapted and enjoy the arousing and pleasurable environment. It would take a lot to overstimulate us.
The following graphics illustrate the results.
Over Stimulation / Stress
Under Stimulation / Anxiety
If we’re overstimulated in our workplace, we will probably relax better in a home that has less visual complexity. If our career has us in a very sterile environment, we may look for more complexity to offer intellectual and spiritual stimulation.
People with attention deficit disorders will not have the same threshold as an individual who requires less time to understand and retain information. There is also research and theory that an effortless attention can restore the capacity to pay attention. The best example of this would be to draw ourselves to nature in our surroundings.
If you want to determine if you have a high threshold for visual complexity, look at the following homes. Which one are you drawn to?
The first has a good deal of visual stimulation. The second blends with the environment and would offer less visual stimulation.
Many elements add visual stimulation to space. “Stuff” is one of our bigger problems, kids toys, mom’s books, dad’s video games, these all add to visual complexity when left out. Furniture, accessories, window treatments and wall hangings, as well as lighting, can add to the visual complexity.