Are you a ‘clutterphobe’ — and is that a good thing?

    Do you hate disorder? Can’t stand when things are not neat and organized, and perhaps even secretly clean the desktop on shared computers at your work? In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and psychologist Dan Gottlieb discuss the need for order, and when it becomes a problem.

    Maiken Scott: We’re hearing a lot about hoarders these days, about people collecting way too many things. But are there also people who are at the other extreme, who can’t stand a mess?

    Dan Gottlieb: I’m feeling defensive, because I can’t stand a mess. In its extremes we could simply say OCD, but if you want to look at gray areas, or more nuanced cases, I’m seeing more and more people who can’t stand to be overstimulated. And we live in a world hat is really overstimulating.

    MS: Is a mess a form of overstimulation?

    DG: Absolutely. If you come home and your place is a mess that is not quiet, your eyes are overstimulated, your brain is overstimulated.

    MS: What does the mess represent?

    Chaos, everything that needs to be done, I need my desk clean I need my life clean so that i can relax.

    MS: When does “clutterphobia” become a problem?

    DG: Like everything else, it becomes a problem when it interferes with your life, your relationships, and work

    MS: It feels good to create order, even if you know that the order won’t last, why is that?

    DG: I talk a lot about “dis-ease” — what interferes with ease. When you come home and there is order in the house, what’s the visceral reaction — it’s ease. The body calls for it, the mind and spirit need it, and order can do that if it doesn’t go to extremes.

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