Joseph Ferrari: The Psychology of Clutter | Room by Room #6

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Rev. Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a researcher, Catholic Permanent Deacon and Vincent dePaul Distinguished Professor.

Have you ever felt anxious whenever you looked around your cluttered home? But then you found it too emotionally stressful when you decluttered? Clutter has been found to increase stress, but many people avoid decluttering because they find it overwhelming or because they ‘don’t have time.’ 

Meet Joseph Ferrari

Rev. Dr. Joseph Ferrari is a researcher and Vincent DePaul Distinguished Professor of community psychology at DePaul University, Chicago, IL. He is also a Catholic Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Joliet, IL. 

Rev. Dr. Ferrari is the guest for several podcasts and blogs for Psychology Today about procrastination, and he is considered the leading researcher of chronic procrastination. His consumer book, Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting it Done, with J Wiley & Sons, is sold internationally.

Additionally, Rev. Dr. Ferrari is also listed in important professional associations, including the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Div. 27 SCRA, Div. 8, Soc for Personality & Social Psychology, Eastern Psychological Association, and Midwestern Psychological Association. His great achievements and experiences as a speaker, journal editor, and professor invite a lot of people to learn more about community psychology.

About the episode

In this episode hosted by Gabriella Joustra, Rev. Dr. Ferrari shared that he had written a personal growth book about this specific topic, clutter and procrastination, in late 2010. He analyzes disorganization into four different domains, including the impact on the livability of your space; the impact on your relationships with others; the financial impact; lastly, digital and electronic waste.  

He said there is no significant difference between genders regarding disorganization or clutter problems. It’s more apparent to females because men tend not to seek help/solutions when coming face to face with clutter issues.

Additionally, he advised that it is important to differentiate what you need and want because, for instance, you don’t have to change your gadget every time the newest model comes out, or you don’t have multiple cars for one person. You want those things but don’t necessarily need them in your everyday life.

In conclusion

A cluttered space affects not only your well-being but also your family relationships and financial aspects. The more clutter people have, the lower their life satisfaction. It is important that one detach himself/herself emotionally from the things that are unimportant and give oneself adequate time to declutter.

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