Clutter is Distracting

You are probably well aware that if you are working on something and become distracted, it is harder to get back on track or you might forget something important. Recently I came across a blog of interest about how physical clutter can impact your ability to process and focus. Whenever I survey the audience in my Memory Fitness Matters seminars, the majority of people raise their hand in agreement to this question. “How many of you are fairly organized but when things get too cluttered, you reach a point where you just refuse to do another thing until you get things in their place?”

In her blog,  Erin Doland reviewed an interesting study in the Journal of Neuroscience  which discusses why a cluttered environment distracts and frustrates you thus making it harder to focus. Once you have read her blog, take some time to notice your patterns when it comes to accumulating clutter. Then make a plan for the physical clutter you may need to address.

It is easier to notice the obvious clutter when it is visible, whether it is in your home, yard or car. My Tucson Hyundai is a perfect vehicle for my home health adventures. For years I had a Toyota RAV and then they made it just a little larger. Of course, I just filled the back of that vehicle as well as the front and back seats with materials galore I wanted to have available to enhance my sessions with my speech pathology patients. I needed to be prepared if I came up with a new idea so my “car” office was quite well stocked with materials.  Every once in awhile my car needed a decluttering session because when it was raining or snowing things never got back the way they should. Then I decided I wanted to downsize to my current car so I would start cutting back on the ”stuff” I kept on hand. Reducing the baskets full of worksheets and paperwork needed for the day allows me to spontaneously have passengers in my car moving only a few instead of lots of baskets and totes and it does make a difference.

Your home, car or garage are not the only places where you can have a lot of clutter. Notice what happens when the useless or negative chatter increases in your head. It is a distraction and often takes you away from what is a priority. Sometimes it is hard to move on and lessen the repetitive thoughts which are not productive. But, like physical clutter, one of the benefits of mind uncluttering can be improved focus and that enhances your memory skills.


Create some uncluttering moments. Maybe it is a drawer or a closet. Perhaps your desk needs to be reorganized. Don’t forget to also pay attention those thoughts that keep coming up over and over in your mind.  Perhaps you can come up with a solution or make a choice to refocus on what is more of a priority which a definite memory enhancer.

When you unclutter your mind, you enjoy peace of mind. Author unknown

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Toolkit.  For more tips refer to Walking the Path to Memory Fitness One Week at  a Time.

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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