Why a Clutter-Free Life is Essential for Highly Sensitive People

I read the most interesting article today about clutter and I can’t stop thinking about it. So of course that means I have to jump on here and tell you all about it too. Melissa from Simple Lionheart Life wrote a blog post titled Why Highly Sensitive People Need Minimalism. Her post really resonated with me. It’s only been recently that I’ve even realized just how much of a highly sensitive person I am. This article definitely drove it home for me and solidified why a clutter-free life is an essential way for me to live. Maybe for you too.

Melissa starts her post by identifying what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person.

The field of study of Highly Sensitive People is a fairly new area of research, with Dr. Elaine Aron spearheading it in the 1990s. She describes Highly Sensitive People as those who “have a sensitive nervous system, are aware of subtleties in their surroundings and are more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” Dr. Aron estimates Highly Sensitive People make up approximately 15 – 20% of the population. However, it is still not very well understood by the majority of people.

In Melissa’s post she goes on to list 11 characteristics of a Highly Sensitive Person. I could easily relate to almost all of them especially 1, 9 and 10. I am definitely someone that notices details in my environment that others miss and I am constantly picking up on others’ emotions. In addition, sensory information can easily overwhelm me. Environments with lots of people and stuff, loud noises, bright lights and even an abundance of smells are the enemy of me. If you want to see me have a melt down put me in a busy crowded mall. It’s all too much.

Why a Clutter-Free Life is Essential for Highly Sensitive People

The connection to clutter and the Highly Sensitive Person though is what made me sit up and take notice to this article. It all makes perfect sense.

Melissa says this about the clutter connection:

Clutter and too much stuff add to the sensory information overload that can be overwhelming for a Highly Sensitive Person. A cluttered space gives our eyes and our minds fewer opportunities to rest. There are simply too many things to look at and take in. Clutter makes it difficult for Highly Sensitive People to relax or rest because they are bombarded with too much sensory information.

I definitely don’t think clutter is good for anyone however a space inundated with stuff is for sure way too overstimulating for a highly sensitive person. No matter how much joy each of the different items in a room bring you, when you lump too much of it together in one space your brain simply cannot rest. I know my daughter too is a highly sensitive person and from a very young age if there was too much stuff in her bedroom she couldn’t fall asleep. The moment we purged some of it away and tidied up, she no longer had any trouble getting to sleep. I witnessed it time and time again.

Learning to keep clutter to a minimum in your home is a great way to cope with the busyness of an over-stimulating world. It is possible to create a peaceful organized home where you can rest and relax both body and mind. The best (not to mention least expensive) way I know to create a calmer more relaxing space is with LESS stuff. We can’t always control the environments outside of our homes but we can do something about creating sanctuaries inside our homes that give us plenty of space to breathe.

Purging costs us nothing
Purging nothing costs us everything

Creating peaceful organized homes starts with us and it begins by owning less. Simplifying isn’t something to fear but rather something to embrace because the calm that comes after the chaos is like a breath of fresh air. Remember this note I found from my daughter when she was small?

peaceful organized homes are possible, Ahh Home!
I like my home
My home is great
I love my home
Ahhh! home

I still love that to this day. Whether you are a Highly Sensitive Person or not, I think we can all benefit from calming our homes and reducing our clutter.

Would you consider yourself a Highly Sensitive Person? How important is a clutter-free home to you?

PS: I’m speaking at a FREE online organizing conference next week on how to organize on a budget. I’ll be talking about the importance of purging and my PROCESS steps for organizing any space. If you’d like to join me and 40+ other speakers at this event, get your ticket free HERE. (The link has been acting up so let me know if you have any trouble with it.)

Some other posts of mine that you may find helpful:

Take a Picture and Edit Your Stuff
How to Make Weekly Household Purges Happen
How to Get Chores Done When Your Time and Energy are Limited
Three Phases of Decluttering and Why They All Are Important


Filed under: My Life, Purging, Simplicity


3 Responses to Why a Clutter-Free Life is Essential for Highly Sensitive People

  1. 2
    Joanna Bettman says

    This really resonated with me. Thank you. Purging nothing is what costs indeed. Was not looking at it like that.

    • 2.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Oh I’m so glad it was helpful, that makes me happy 🙂


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