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home and the extended-self: exploring associations between clutter and wellbeing: rogers & hart, under review

When I was writing up my research on the association between clutter and wellbeing, I paced it around minor rewards. I’d write for an hour or so then go for a walk or pop to the local shop. Each shop visit had the delightful lure of a nice chat with its owner, Rita, pictured here with her permission.

When Rita discovered that I was wading through data and statistical analysis to unearth the association between clutter and wellbeing she shrugged her shoulders. “Well I could have told you that!” she said, “Everyone knows that decluttering makes you feel better!”

And that’s why I wanted to do this research.

The trouble with knowledge is that it’s far more difficult to establish than we think. I’m with Rita, I see the wellbeing benefits of decluttering, organising and creating home all the time. And I’d go as far as to say that I’ve never met – and don’t expect to meet – another professional organiser who wouldn’t say the same. However, the scientist in me is resistant to claims without a robust evidence base.

clutter and wellbeing

Rogers, C.R. & Hart, R. (unpublished). Home and the extended-self: Exploring associations between clutter and wellbeing

Watch this space

The MSc taught me how wellbeing is conceptually understood in science; it’s not just ‘happiness’. Wellbeing encompasses a number of elements that include feeling happy and good, but it’s also about having a meaningful life, achievement, having relationships, being physically healthy, and feeling challenged and engaged.

If people who are on top of their clutter have higher wellbeing than those who aren’t, then what kind of higher wellbeing? Would it be just a general all-round wellbeing, or might there be some elements that stand out? And if some wellbeing elements do stand out, then that could give us some insight in how to help those struggling with clutter. Why? Because there’s a massive research base within positive psychology of particular activities we can do to increase specific elements of our wellbeing.

And what did the data reveal?
I’m not going to tell you (yet!). The results have been written up as a research article and submitted as an MSc dissertation, gaining a high distinction. My amazing supervisor, Dr Rona Hart, and I have now edited this paper and submitted it for publication in a psychology journal. We hope to be able to share the results soon and are evermore indebted to those who took time to complete the questionnaires, contributing their data to the research.

“You made it easy! Thank you so much, family WOWed and aaahed suitably!”

– m, london


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