If your love life has taken a dip recently, it might be down to something rather unexpected - the clutter lurking around your house.

According to behavioural psychologist and relationship coach Jo Hemmings, a messy home can lead to issues such as depression and low self-esteem, which has a knock-on effect on relationships, reports the Daily Mail.

It's especially damaging in areas where we spend time with loved ones, such as the bedroom and living room.

And Jo, who is working with on-demand rubbish removal business Clearabee, which is launching a Recycling Awareness initiative, told Femail that shoving mess out of sight won't do any good.

Advertisement

"Research at UCLA has shown that even that out of sight clutter has a profound effect on our mood and self-esteem," she explained.

So, be brave and bold and have a major declutter once or twice a year – you'll feel good, and probably enjoy a big sense of relief when you've tackled it.

Here Jo reveals the impact messy rooms can have on your emotions, and what you can do about it.

BEDROOM

The problem

This is generally a place of both sleep and sex. Both require a lack of distraction to be fulfilling.

Studies have shown that people who doze in cluttered bedrooms are at higher risk of developing hoarding tendencies; have greater trouble falling asleep at night and experience more sleep disturbances.

The solution

It helps to make your bed as you get up in the morning – having a well made bed exposes the clutter in the rest of the bedroom and makes it easier to target those items for clearance that probably shouldn't be in there in the first place.

And make sure you add to the all-important sense of space, peace and comfort by resolving not to use the bedroom as a 'floordrobe', known to be a major source of rows between couples – particularly when dirty underwear gets discarded on the floor.

KITCHEN

The problem

Kitchens are often cluttered with gadgets that we rarely if ever use, filling up our precious work surfaces and creating unnecessary disorder.

A lot of kitchen benches are overcrowded with underused gadgets that can be hidden away in a cupboard. Photo / Getty Images
A lot of kitchen benches are overcrowded with underused gadgets that can be hidden away in a cupboard. Photo / Getty Images

Sometimes clutter has less to do with volume and more to do with things that we look at, unused and neglected, in the busiest areas of our homes.

Freeing yourself from redundant gadgets, which can make us feel guilty, is a great mind and space clearer.

The solution

Work surfaces should be a place of activity, not storage for rarely used items. As a rule of thumb, if you haven't used that breadmaker, sandwich toaster or juicer for six months or more, it's probably time to get rid of it.

And a frequent clear out of food cupboards is a definite must – those use by dates go by much quicker than you might expect. Set aside time at least once a month to go through the cupboards and throw away anything over the use by date.

LIVING ROOM

The problem

Neuro-scientists at Princeton University have shown that excess clutter and a disorganised living room competes for your attention, resulting in decreased concentration and increased stress.

The living room should be kept tidy as it is a common space where most people will spend their time. Photo / Getty Images
The living room should be kept tidy as it is a common space where most people will spend their time. Photo / Getty Images

Clutter here also has an impact on our relationships as this is the place we're most likely to relax and enjoy time as a couple or a family.

The solution

Mess often causes conflict, so regularly clear magazines and books gathering dust off the floor or coffee table and remove unappreciated ornaments off ledges and shelves.

BATHROOM

The problem

A room meant for cleanliness is one of the worst places to keep clutter. To maximise the simple pleasures of a relaxing bath or a refreshing shower, we need our minds to be open and willing to embrace those sensations.

Clutter can make you stressed out when all you want to do is brush your teeth or take a shower. Photo / Getty Images
Clutter can make you stressed out when all you want to do is brush your teeth or take a shower. Photo / Getty Images

Even a basic daily routine of washing, cleaning our teeth or shaving becomes more stressful if we are distracted by clutter in a bathroom.

The solution

Check the shower caddy for old bottles of shampoo, conditioner or shower gel that you'll never use again and tackle the bathroom cabinet.

You'll find that least 50 per cent of the cabinet's contents will be past their best.

Many don't realise that makeup and toiletries, like food items have strict use-by dates, so ensure you check these regularly and throw away any nearing the end of their life, which can be dangerous to use.

CHILDREN'S BEDROOMS

The problem

Messy at the best of times, kid's bedrooms are havens of junk – unused and broken toys, discarded old clothes, bits of games long forgotten or grown out of.

The solution

Get the kids involved to pick out their favourite stuff, that they have an attachment to, and chuck out the rest. They will have a lot more fun playing in a clear space, rather than treading on bits of old toys and you won't feel the need to moan at them to tidy up!

Play mess builds up quicker than most, so make it a regular Sunday evening, pre-bedtime, pre-school on Monday routine to give each of your child's bedrooms a spruce up and a thorough clear out.