According to a recent study published in the journal, Environment and Behavior, the researchers set out to find what impact does a disordered kitchen have on people? We know environmental factors influence behavior and we know the influence of stress on overeating in general, but this particular question of the impact of a messy kitchen had not been studied before.
The researchers set up two kitchens, one was cluttered and noisy and the other was neat and tidy. They then asked 98 female undergraduate participants to complete a writing assignment in one of these two kitchens. The writing prompts varied; some wrote about a time they felt out of control and some wrote about a time when they felt in control. They were provided with unlimited supply of carrots, cookies, and crackers and told they could eat as much as they desired.
Of the participants who wrote about a time when they felt out of control, those in the chaotic kitchen consumed twice as many calories as those in the organized kitchen. Participants who were in the messy kitchen who had thought and written about a time when they were in control, however, ate less. The in-control mindset buffered against the negative impact of the environment.
Actively having and maintaining an in-control mindset might help to offset the demands of life, where work, life demands, children, and a busy schedule can make it hard sometimes to keep the kitchen tidy and organized.