4 Bad Effects of Living in an Untidy House & What You Can Do (Podcast or Post #9)

If you live in a messy house, how is it affecting you? Here are 4 bad effects of living in an untidy house, as well as what to do about it.


Are you tired of your house being cluttered and trying to convince yourself to stop procrastinating?

This week’s House Gone Sane Podcast or Post shares 4 negative results of keeping your home in a messy state. And we’ll discuss one change you can make today to start keeping your house clean.


Below you can read the post or play the podcast version- about 12 mins. ⬇

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Play the audio for this podcast (above) or download it in full by clicking on the 3 dots to the right of the volume control. (Otherwise, you can read the post below.)



Below are the links we mention/link to in this week’s Podcast or Post. (Keep scrolling to read the full post.)

FREE Printable Daily Cleaning Roadmap– These pages give you room to write a customized cleaning checklist. They show you what tasks you should include, and recommend where to start in each room, and what order to do tasks in.

Podcast #1: The Cleaning Mistake that was Keeping My Home Messy & the Change I Made

✅Podcast or Post #5: How to Motivate Yourself to Clean Your House (When You Don’t Want to)

✅6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space- by Psychology Today

✅It’s Science: Clutter Can Actually Give You Anxiety- by Motherly




The reason I felt like this was important to talk about is because if you take this information with the right mindset, you can actually use it to motivate yourself to clean your house. That is, of course, if you are living in an untidy house right now, and you’re looking for cleaning motivation/tips.

Let me assure you that I am not coming from a place of being judgmental. Nor am I coming at this from a full psychological perspective of the benefits of an uncluttered space.

No, I am just a mom and wife who used to really struggle with keeping my house clean and tidy. So I’m addressing this topic simply from the perspective of what I experienced and know to be true in my own experience.

I used to believe a lot of misconceptions about cleaning. And this made it more difficult for me to turn the state of my house around.

But thankfully, I eventually did turn things around. And I know there are other women/people trying to learn how to get motivated to clean and where to start.

It is my genuine hope that this information will be helpful. If someone had shared all of this with me back when my house was a daily disaster, if I had paid attention, it could’ve helped me make progress with my home sooner.


1.) It will take you way longer to clean when your house is a mess.

a clock is shown in front of cleaning supplies

I can’t explain it, but whenever my house is in a good state, I ALWAYS have more time to do the things I want to do once it’s cleaned. This is true even taking into account the chunk of time I spent cleaning it.

I’ll be honest here. We have a family of 6- 4 of which are kids. And when I first started my cleaning routine, we didn’t have a dishwasher. So I’d have to wash 6 people’s dishes- plus cookware- by hand. My total amount of time spent doing household chores would usually be between 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours a day, including dishes and laundry.

Now I usually clean between 1 to 1-1/2 hours on the average day .

Honestly, I used to spend that same amount of time or more cleaning back when my house was a disaster. But now I use a daily routine, which saves me time since I maintain areas that are already clean.

Taking time to clean your house is like an investment of time that you get back later. Why it works that way, I don’t know, but that has been my experience.


2.) When your house is cluttered and untidy, you lose things.

a drawer with clutter- scissors, notebook, calculator, screwdriver, measuring tape, tape, stapler, and more

Have you or your husband/spouse or kids ever put the keys on top of something, and they ended up getting lost in a pile of papers or clutter? You panic when you can’t find them, because you’re already late for work or an appointment.

I can’t even tell you how many times this has happened in our house.

But what happens when the dresser/bureau/desk the keys are put on is clean and cleared off?

You can see the keys on top.

So even if you, (or a certain someone,) didn’t put the keys back where they should be, all you have to do is literally look at them to find them.

“Looking” for something when your house is clean and decluttered is often literally just “looking” with your eyes.

But when your house is a mess, “looking” for something probably means you are not just using your eyes. Chances are you’re power walking to different clutter piles across the house. And you’re using both hands to frantically search through things.

And I think the next point goes along with this as well.


3.) A messy house will waste your time.


Here are some of the ways your time will be wasted when your house is cluttered or untidy.


1. Time will be wasted looking for things.


As we just talked about, when your house is untidy, you will lose things. And when this happens, you’ll undoubtedly waste time looking for things you’ve misplaced.


2. You’ll waste time scrubbing things you waited too long to clean.

a woman scrubs a dirty tub with a sponge

When you wait too long to clean, you end up with hardened gunk that needs to be scraped off or treated with something super strong to get back to normal.


3. You will waste time ‘mentally cleaning’.


How often do you glance at a mess and think about how you need to clean it? Yeah…you just mentally cleaned.

And if you think about it every time you walk by the same mess 15 times, you probably spent 15 times longer thinking about cleaning that area than it actually takes to clean it.


4. Time will be wasted when you have to clean or clear an area before doing an activity.


For example, back when my house was a mess, I’d have to clean up my kitchen before I cooked. I could never just walk into the kitchen and cook.

Now that I maintain the cleanliness of the kitchen daily, I don’t have that problem.

My stove doesn’t have weeks of hardened gunk on it, because I quickly wipe it down daily.

My pots, cutting board, and utensils are all clean and ready to go, because I do dishes each day.


4.) An unkempt home can add to your anxiety and negative emotions.

a woman holds her head stressed out as her house is untidy

Every person, of course, is different, and I am by no means a mental health expert.

What I am is a busy wife (and mom & stepmom of 4 kids total) who has been diagnosed with anxiety.

In my personal experience with anxiety, I realized there was a close connection to the state of my home and the timing of when I would experience a panic attack.

Now, just to clarify, whenever I would experience strong anxiety, I did not usually feel stressed out about the state of my home specifically.

There would be other legitimate things going on- what I personally consider ‘external’ factors that would contribute to my stress. And they are things that any normal person would be stressed about- at least to some degree.

BUT… when my house was out of control, I could not mentally and physically handle the stress without having a panic attack.

I ended up going to the doctor, after I almost passed out one September on what was my stepkids first day of school. I explained to my doctor all the symptoms I was having. Honestly, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

And no, of course, my doctor didn’t say, ‘well it’s because your house is a mess.’

What she did was ask if I had been stressed out lately. And I said ‘yes.’

I explained some of the things I had experienced the last few days. And my doctor agreed they were all things that could cause extra stress. And she told me that she believed I had a panic attack.

I was shocked because I didn’t know that was what happened, but it made sense.

My doctor asked me if I ever felt stressed and nervous and like my heart was beating fast. And I said, “Well, yeah, that happens whenever…” and I explained a situation I had to frequently deal with at the time that was apparently triggering a panic attack for me a few times each week.

Every person is different. So not every person with a messy house will get panic attacks or anxiety like I did.

And if you have a messy house and then get it under control, that does not guarantee your anxiety will lessen or disappear for the most part, as was the case for me.

But, that said, with my own personal experience of having frequent panic attacks, I can say that they stopped occurring once I started my cleaning routine and kept my house under control.

I very rarely have a panic attack now. And the few occasions I did, I again noticed it was a day that I had gotten behind on my house. Maybe it was because I was sick or extra busy that week. But a messy house has always been a common denominator in my panic attacks.

Does that mean that if we keep our house clean, there will be no stressful things that happen ever? No, of course not!

But here is the difference, at least in my own experience.

When my house is clean and under control, it becomes a haven. It becomes a safe place where I’m comfortable and can relax and feel good in. That’s how every home should be.

When there are stressful, external factors that I don’t have control over, I can better deal with them. Because my home is a good foundation now for me to be able to handle anything else that happens.

I can’t control if my husband gets laid off, if our tire goes flat, or if our home needs repairs.

I absolutely can control the state of my home. And when I do that, I have a peaceful place that provides the right physical and mental atmosphere to help me deal with anything else that happens.

So it really has been my experience that a cluttered or messy home contributes to my anxiety, or maybe more accurately, how I handle my anxiety.

I know a lot of people, and I know several other people who struggle with a similar type of anxiety. And I can honestly say that the majority of them also struggle with keeping their house under control.

Research has also shown that there is a connection between clutter and anxiety.

It may not be the case for everyone, or be as significant for everyone, but there definitely is a link between the 2.

When your house is messy, you are surrounded by a to do list. And you can’t really be relaxed in a peaceful atmosphere that’s filled with clutter.

Just like the expression, ‘a picture says a thousand words,’ that’s true with every glance we take in our homes. The more things in a room, the more words in our picture. And that’s got to be a lot on our brains.


What You Can Do TODAY to Change the State of Your House


If you agree that the untidy state of your home is having some negative effects, here’s what you can do today, to start turning things around.


Start a daily cleaning routine.


Download our free Daily Cleaning Roadmap. This show you both what should be on your daily list, and what order to do tasks in.

Once you have a full list of what you need to do each day, set a timer for how long you can clean. And do your routine every day starting with the first task on your list.

If you cleaned something yesterday, maintain it today. And you won’t have to waste time deep cleaning regularly used areas of your house.

Your house will look better, you will feel better, and you’ll have more time. You’ll also realize that you are 100% capable of keeping your house under control.


So those are 4 negative effects of living in an untidy house, and what you can do right now to break the cycle and change things for the better.


Don’t forget to grab our free Daily Cleaning Roadmap!

I designed these with the strategy that kept my house under control after it had been messy for years.

If you sign up for these and stay subscribed to our emails, well share future Podcast or Post episodes. We’ll also share other cleaning and home management tips and resources.

And I am currently working on a course that will show step-by-step how to get your house under control with a daily cleaning routine, when you’re starting with a cluttered mess.

If you are just getting started with trying to get your house under control, you may want to listen our first Podcast episode about the big cleaning mistake I had been making and the specific steps I took to start keeping my home clean.

DISCLAIMER: All of our articles and podcasts are for informational purposes only, and we are not liable for anyone acting on or failing to act on anything on our website. We aren’t mental health professionals, and if you experience depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, you should seek out care and advice from an appropriate medical provider/mental health expert. For better reading, the written version of ‘Podcast or Post’ episodes are worded differently than the audio version, but the main points are the same. Read our full disclaimer policies here on our Terms of Use page.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!


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