Hot and Bothered with Clutter

posted in: Essays 4

The heat wave that has been gripping the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic US for the past week has finally broken. Now is a perfect time to sit back and relax in the cool weather…or is it?

Thinking about the heat wave made me think about clutter that one may find in the home. Simply put, clutter is hot. Not “hot” as in “sexy” or physically attractive, but temperature hot!

Here’s some observations on why clutter is “hot” and why you might want to take a few moments to tidy up when the weather is cooler:

Clutter transfers heat.

Having lots of clutter around when it’s hot out means there’s going to be more things that are going to be heated up in your living quarters. Think of this as a type of heat chain (like a food chain). We all know that heat rises, so if you consider heat radiating up from the floor, through a rug, to large pieces of furniture such as a couch or counter, to smaller items such as appliances and other personal belongings, to the clutter that is sitting on top of that…boy that’s a lot of heat! Also, clutter will probably retain more heat than if there were no clutter about.

Clutter is restrictive.

Wearing tight clothing when it is hot can trap heat and make you even hotter. It’s the same way with clutter. Okay, we so don’t actually wear clutter, but we do live in our homes and “wear our rooms.” Would you prefer to be in a room that is restrictive, confining and suffocating you filled with unnecessary things, or a room that is open, free, flowing and allows for air circulation, or at best, doesn’t have papers blowing about when you turn the fan on or blast out the AC?

Clutter makes your eyes and body work too hard.

The eyesore that is clutter can become even more compounded when the temperatures soar. Instead of viewing clean lines and surfaces, evoking feelings of cool, tranquil relaxation, clutter appears front and center in your line of vision, jumping up and down and waving at you mercilessly. How does clutter makes your body work too hard? Well, if there’s a lot of clutter around, you have to put out even more effort to move things from one place to another to sit down or utilize space. Who wants to be sweating buckets in bazillion degree weather shuffling papers to carve a place to sit down, watch tv, eat or go to sleep?

Clutter stirs up emotions.

Emotions (and tensions) can easily run high with the temperature. Heat can make you uncomfortable, cranky, fussy, frustrated, draggy, indifferent and sleepy all at the same time. Being hot is one thing, but looking at clutter might also affect you on the subconscious level. In one way, clutter is all that stuff that you might have meant to take care of when the weather was more comfortable…and is now staring back at you in the heat taunting you, “Whatcha gonna do now?” Oh clutter, begone!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.

4 Responses

  1. Great metaphors for the impact of clutter in our lives!

  2. I am a minimalist, but I am the sort of person who never feels warm. I never thought about the heat aspect of it before, but I am happy to be a minimalist even and grow used to the coolness.

    • theorderexpert
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      Hello Samantha, you bring up a really interesting perspective about minimalism/coolness. I had not considered looking at things in that sense. I wonder what other temperatures, or perhaps even climates, people may think of when they think of their belongings, as well as their thoughts on clutter and minimalism? (How about it folks? What do you think?). Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to visit The Order Expert Blog. Cheers, Rashelle