We've learned what a mess says about you, but have you considered the impact of where that mess is located? Author and environmental psychologist Sally Augustin, PhD, sheds some light on this surprising revelation. (And yes, we've learned lots from this!)
Joseph Cote, flickr
Mess location: The entryway
Chances are you are: Extroverted
"A mess in an entryway that contains personalizing items [think knick-knacks, photos, art, etc.] communicates a need to clearly and immediately establish information about themselves to their visitor," Augustin says. "People with this sort of mess are also apt to be extroverted and interested in establishing a bond with visitors. Personalizing items also establish territory."
What to do about it: Extroversion isn't a bad trait! But have you been welcoming so many people in your home that you don't have time to tend to your own needs? Then it's time to put "you" on your calendar. Make it a habit to clear up clothes, jackets, and other "drop off" items that you leave by the door when you get home and for when you are leaving. As much as you enjoy welcoming guests into your own home, your entryway should be equally welcoming upon visitor arrivals.
Mess location: The living room
Chances are you are: Tense
"Cluttered spaces...generate tension for humans because our eyes continually review our environment. With lots of stuff around, that process becomes more arduous. In addition, since our possessions are extensions of us, lack of care for them could also indicate, potentially, a lack of self respect-but it may also indicate a toddler is present, money is in short supply, or other similar things."
What to do about it: Since the living room area tends to be the cluster zone for your family, it's all a matter of finding space to hide the clutter. Utilize decorative storage bins and storage ottomans. Seeing a messy area will induce more stress and tension, so take that extra minute to keep things in allotted places. Then, recover from the visual tension by closing your eyes and listening to music.
Mess location: The dining room
Chances are you are: Avoidant/Shy
"A mess can indicate that the space-owner wants to avoid this area, which they might want to do for a number of reasons-from negative experiences in dining rooms at an earlier time in their life (like getting grilled at the table when young about their day in school), to a more current issue, such as being on a perennial diet."
What to do about it: It's time to bring in the storage benches...and work on reconnecting with friends. It doesn't have to be formal entertaining-a simple cup of coffee will do. Remember, avoiding the mess won't help your mind relax and overcoming shyness means sitting well in your own skin, so making sure that the dining table surface is cleared off and that non-dining related items--such as papers, magazines, mail, and the random pile of jackets--are not taking up space in the dining room will also help make tackling the mess, and life, easier.
Mess location: The kitchen
Chances are you are: Adventurous
"Messes in this space that are due to things like unusual items...think rarely-used spices...or a cookbook for varying cuisines indicates openness to new experiences."
What to do about it: Capitalizing on your interest in all things new and exciting is as simple as making sure spices and cookbooks are easily accessible. For the latter, use a step-style spice rack, which ensures that everything you need is in sight and in reach. And why not bring in a small bookshelf to store your culinary guides?
Mess location: The bedroom...or bathroom
Chances are you are: Feeling insecure
"Bedrooms and bathrooms are the inner sanctums of our lives, the spaces where, to the extent they are private, we are most free to express who we really are. Therefore, messes composed of personalizing items here indicate a need by the people who control the space to remind themselves of who they are as a person."
What to do about it: It's hard to feel secure when the last place you see before going to sleep (and the first thing you see in the morning) is a mess of magazines, books and clothes. Conversely, if grooming products and extra bathroom supplies are stumbling blocks in the morning, you won't leave the house feeling ready to tackle the world. For the bedroom, make use of under-bed storage with sliding storage containers or boxes. Limit books or magazines to one per person, then relocate the rest to a bookshelf in another area in your home. Or better yet, donate them. For the bathroom, throw out all the old cosmetics you never use and consider storing surplus supplies in a bathroom étagère that is sized to fit right where the toilet is.