Episode 007: Visual Clutter

Episode Transcription

Have you ever thought about the number of items on the surface of your refrigerator? What about all the horizontal spaces in your home? Diana shares a study that compares the number of items on your fridge with the rest of your home’s appearance. She gives quick tips and examples of simple changes you can make in your home that will make you feel better.

In this episode, Diana shares what she learned about visual clutter and how it affects our overall mood. And a small change you can make today!

We’ll also discuss:

  • A quick step that you can take today that requires minimal effort. Try it for seven days!
  • What you can do with your horizontal surfaces
  • Diana shares her free training resource with five simple steps that you can take to declutter your home. Sign up here!

What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?

  • 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
  • How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
  • Guest interviews
  • Deep dives on specific topics 


Find Diana Rene on social media:

Instagram: @the.decluttered.mom

Facebook: @the.decluttered.com

Pinterest: @DianaRene


Are you ready for a peaceful and clutter-free home? Watch my FREE training videoKiss Clutter Goodbye” to learn how it’s possible! And find all of my resources here.

Episode 007: Visual Clutter

[00:00:00] Diana Rene

You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show. 

Today we're gonna talk about a couple of things. We're gonna talk about a study, but we're also gonna talk about an action step that you can take today in your home that will make you feel better.

So there was a study done in the early 2000s in LA, and it was trying to identify kind of what, what clutter was in different types of homes, different types of families. Um, what types of consumer possessions did they have, and at what level? And something interesting that they discovered as they were conducting this study is that the level of items or stuff or things on the front of their refrigerator was really, really telling on the rest of their home. And what I mean by that is if they had a ton of stuff on their fridge, they tended to have a ton of stuff in their home, a lot of clutter. And if they had like a totally clean fridge or not very many things on the fridge, then they tended to have less items in their home. It tended; it was just more tidy overall or less clutter. So they averaged it out. Okay. And the homes that had the highest amount on their fridge, the average was 80 items on display. And we're talking about things like magnets and photos and invitations and save the dates and baby announcements and calendars and all of the things, all of the things that we put on the front of fridges.

Okay. So the homes that had a lot of things on there had an average of 80 items, and those homes also had 1,448 visible objects in the main rooms of the home. So we're talking living and family room, dining room, office, and kitchen. Whereas the group of, um, homes that had more tidy and minimal fridge fronts, uh, they had approximately 322 visible objects in those main rooms. So 1,448 versus 322. 

So when I first read that study, it was really interesting to me, and it made me wonder why that is. And I think that something that really like popped into my mind is that when we have a hard time with clutter, we find any possible space that we can cover with our stuff.

And sometimes, we do it intentionally. Sometimes it just kind of happens over time, especially with the fridge. But I wanted to kind of experiment and try something. So before I like went on my whole journey with decluttering, I went to my fridge, and I took every single thing off my fridge. Everything. Every magnet, every save the date, every calendar, everything off the fridge, because I wanted to see how it would change the look of the room because it looks visually cluttered. Even if it wasn't cluttered and everything up there had a purpose, it still looked cluttered to me. And I know, I knew then, as I was learning, that the like anything with clutter stresses us out, there have been studies on how. Okay, side note, first of all, can you tell I really enjoy studies and the science of things, but, okay.

So there have been studies on how clutter causes stress, raises the cortisol hormone in our body, which is stress, right. So I was like, you know what? That looks visually cluttered to me. Let's take every single thing off and see how it feels. And at first, I hated it because it, it looked like I was moving.

Like it looked like it just looked very bare and empty, and like kind of sterile, I guess, maybe is the right word. But the more that I left it up. The more I started to really like it and start to like it. I'd walk into my kitchen, and I would see the naked fridge. And I would like it would just feel calmer in there.

It would feel bigger. It would feel more peaceful. It would feel cleaner. Even if nothing about it was cleaner, it still felt cleaner. And so I was turning to feel like I was onto something and, over the past four years, I have had five-day challenges where I've done them a couple times a year. I now only do it one time a year in January, but day one has always been to completely empty the front of the fridge, not like inside the fridge, just the cover of the fridge, right?

The outside of the fridge. And every single time, I would get really big pushback. Like, this sounds dumb.  like, um, I signed up to declutter, like, why are you just having me take everything off the front of my fridge? This is silly. And I would really encourage people to just try it anyway, try it anyway, try it anyway.

And they would, most of the time and 99% of the time, if they followed that and they got rid of everything, and they left it off for seven days. They never went back to putting stuff on it, or if they did, they put like very little, like one photo or just a couple of really important magnets or something like that, because they discovered that it completely changed the space in the room.

So here's the thing. There's nothing like magical about doing this right. There it's not like you clear off the front of your fridge and like voila. Like, everything in your home is perfect and tidy and neat, and you're happy forever,  and everything's great. I get that it's like a very small thing, but I think that's why it's so powerful because when we do it, we get a feeling like the tiniest glimpse into what a decluttered home could feel like.

Think about when you spring clean, and you like rage clean you, all the windows are open. Like you're excited. It feels like a fresh start. When you walk into your home after you do that, it feels different, right? It has a different feeling to it. You want to be there. You want the environment that you have created for yourself feels peaceful.

It feels calm. It feels new. It feels refreshing. You feel like you can recharge there instead of get stressed out there. And so the fridge kind of does like a mini version of that.  When we eliminate that excess, when we eliminate that visual clutter that's tricking our brain, we can walk into the space and we can feel a little bit more at peace.

And that gives us an idea of what it feels like to declutter. And then it also helps give us motivation to move forward in decluttering. So my challenge to you today is to try this. Is to empty everything off the front of your fridge. Um, I'm not gonna make you like actually declutter it. You don't have to donate anything.

You don't have to throw anything away. Just put it in a box, put it in a drawer first seven days. And after that, if you hate it, tell me and put it all back on the fridge. That's okay. But. If you don't hate it, then you can go through those items, and you can decide what you really need to keep. Or what could you maybe put on the side of the fridge?

That's not as obvious, or what could you put in your command center? Like calendars and things like that. Where is a better home for those items that you have just always thrown off on the fridge because that's just what you've always done. And you just never even thought about it. It's never been something that you've even had to consider before.

I want you to try it. It shouldn't take you long. This is like a super quick, actionable step that you can take today. That will help you see what could be in your home for you if you wanted to pursue decluttering and like minimizing and moving forward with that simplifying process. After you do that, I want you to go to my website, and we will put the link in the show notes, um, and take my free training, which is the five simple steps to a decluttered home.

And you will already kind of be feeling like the momentum of it. But then, in this training, I will outline the five steps that you need to take to be able to take that momentum and move through your home in a really efficient way. So that again is in the show notes, and it's a free training. And I would love for you to take that so that you can continue that momentum and you can keep moving through your home.

If you want to take it one step further, you can start to look at horizontal surfaces in your home. And obviously, your fridge is not a horizontal surface. This is, that's kind of like a, an anomaly, but is it an anomaly? I don't even know if I'm using that word right. But when we look at horizontal surfaces in our home, so primarily like countertops, bathroom countertops, um, kitchen countertops, the clearer that we can have our countertops of anything is going to create that same kind of like peaceful feeling that we have when we walk into our kitchen and the fridge is cleared. So maybe pick one bathroom and try clearing the countertop as much as possible. Obviously, leave the soap out and, um, anything that you can just maybe put under the sink or put somewhere else that doesn't have to be visible to you every single time you walk into your bathroom space. This is another thing where we're using. We're kind of tricking our brain. We're not actively decluttering yet, but we are tricking our brain into seeing a decluttered space and then kind of testing it out and seeing how we feel about it. And if it's something that we want to pursue further. 

So this is a super, super short episode today. It's always under 20 minutes, but I went even shorter because these are just really actionable steps that you can take today. I would love it if you sent me a DM on Instagram and let me know if you did it. I really wanna see her before and after pictures. Um, and I'll go into another episode of why before and after pictures are so important when you're going through the decluttering process, but I would love to see yours. This is just a very small step that you can take that can have a really big impact in your home. Uh, it just kind of like packs a big punch for maybe 10 minutes of your time. So give it a try. Let me know how it goes. 

Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.

 I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.