Some people are quite content to leave their homes exactly as they were arranged when they first moved in and they give little thought to whether the arrangement of their personal space is perfect.
Another person, on the other hand, might seem to be constantly rearranging furniture and shifting how their homes look. What does this behaviour mean? Is it healthy or could it be related to a mental health issue? As with most things, the answer lies on a spectrum.
Table of Contents
- Rearranging Furniture and Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- What is Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Moving Furniture
- Other Reasons for Constantly Rearranging Furniture
- Not Having the Right Furniture for the Space
- Help with Sorting and Cleaning
- Psychological Reasons for Rearranging Furniture
- Feng Shui
- Rearranging Furniture and Creativity
- Rearranging Furniture and Concrete Satisfaction
- When Rearranging Furniture Might Be a Problem
- Final Thought
Rearranging Furniture and Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
On the most extreme end of the spectrum, constantly rearranging furniture could be a repetitive behaviour related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is a common mental health disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts as well as compulsive behavior.
What is Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
There are lots of different forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
These are all things that happen when someone has OCD. They have unwanted and upsetting thoughts that they think they need to do something about. To reduce the anxiety and unpleasant feelings, they might have to do the same thing over and over or have a difficult time stopping themselves from doing something.
Intrusive thoughts can be different for everyone. They can be things like being afraid of getting sick from touching things that other people have touched, checking to make sure the oven is turned off a lot, or thinking about hurting other people.
But, when it comes to rearranging furniture, the type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that would be relevant is related to orderliness.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Moving Furniture
Some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have obsessive thoughts about their environment being orderly and/or symmetrical.
As with any other type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), they will feel compelled to ensure that the area around them conforms to this orderliness and symmetry to calm their anxiety and unpleasant feelings.
When it comes to the home, this can look like compulsively rearranging furniture to make sure that it is perfectly symmetrical and organised. Unfortunately, as with other repetitive behaviours, no matter how many times they might rearrange the furniture.
It is likely to never be completely perfect and the relief from the anxiety will only last for a little while, so they will need to do it again and again.
If you, or someone you know, is rearranging their furniture to an extent that it is interfering in their life, including their relationships, work, or school, this could be a sign that it is time to seek help from a medical professional.
Other Reasons for Constantly Rearranging Furniture
Not everyone who likes to constantly rearrange furniture is doing so because of obsessions or as a way of fighting back anxiety. If you are someone who enjoys rearranging the furniture in your home but for you, it is more of a feel-good option than a symptom of OCD, you are not alone.
Lots of people use moving furniture and switching up the arrangement of their front room and other areas of the house.
Sometimes as a form of self-care and an expression of their personality, or there might be a practical reason why someone moves furniture regularly, or like many just an excuse to go out and buy some new furniture.
Not Having the Right Furniture for the Space
Sometimes it can be hard to feel settled in a new space if the furniture you already own doesn’t quite seem to fit right. You might move a lot and not want to keep buying new furniture for every home, or you might prefer to repurpose what you already have rather than acquire additional objects.
Whatever the reason, it can take a while to get the arrangement exactly right in the constraints of the floor space that you have, and, until that point, you will probably re-arrange things a few different times.
Help with Sorting and Cleaning
When we rearrange a room, we are forced to look into all of the little nooks and crannies that don’t usually get cleaned regularly. Some people like to move their furniture around as a way of forcing themselves to clean. Once you’ve moved the sofa, everything that was underneath it is now in the middle of the room, so you can’t avoid cleaning it up.
You can think of moving things around like a spring cleaning activity and one that allows you to totally get to grips with all of the often neglected places.
Psychological Reasons for Rearranging Furniture
Whenever you have an impact on the environment around you, this can give you some real psychological benefits. It is a way of achieving inner and outer harmony.
You can feel good inside by having furniture that shows who you are on the inside. This will also make your environment a space where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and without stress.
It can take a few tries to make your house look and feel the way you want it to. It is hard to imagine what a house will look and feel like before you create it. You may need to keep trying different things until you achieve the inner and outer harmony that you are looking for.
One framework that can help with having your furniture relate to your psychological well-being in a way that works for you is feng-shui decorating. As Rodika Tichi said, “What feng shui decorating means is that you create an environment that has the best energy to support the specific activity, or activities, intended for that space”.
In the words of Iain Balmain, a feng shui consultant from Birmingham, what feng shui decorating means and gives you is a framework or template for how to best create each type of room.
So the feng shui ideas for a kitchen will be very different from an office, a bedroom, or a living room because the activities that are intended to take place in that room are very different so the best energy to create for each won’t be identical.
Rearranging Furniture and Creativity
Rearranging furniture is a way to hone your aesthetic and identify your own artistry as well as a practical way of making your house an easy place to live.
A creative outlet is something that can help improve your life. Getting the chance to try new things in your home can make it a reflection of who you are. It can shine a light on exactly who you are in a real and physical way.
Many of us don’t have huge amounts of options to get creative so finding creativity in the place where we spend the majority of our time can be a great way of living in our artistry.
Rearranging Furniture and Concrete Satisfaction
Rearranging furniture can cause mood elevation in and of itself. Movement-based creation and having mastery over our physical environment have been found to improve body image, self-esteem, and psychological well-being.
Moving furniture gives a concrete satisfaction that is often lacking in our everyday lives. It is an achievement that can be physically touched and experienced. And this can give us a true sense of mastery and control which can improve how we feel about ourselves.
Improvement occurs when we have autonomy over our life and you can give yourself this feeling by having control over your physical environment.
There is also satisfaction in re-purposing the things we own rather than going out and buying new stuff. It allows you to identify what you truly love and what you are happy to let go of, and such specificity brings relief.
It is easy to feel buried under the weight of everything that we own and letting go of the things that don’t bring us joy can be freeing. Repurposing in this way is a feel-good option as opposed to cramming other things into the home. It can make you feel light (and it can also make cleaning a lot easier).
It also prevents you from the type of buyer’s remorse you might feel by buying additional objects that don’t actually work for you. It feels clever to give a space a whole new feel simply by changing its arrangement and it is a way for you to perform your own artistry as well.
When Rearranging Furniture Might Be a Problem
If you are always rearranging your furniture and you are having bad thoughts about your house or your family is worried about how often you rearrange, you might be doing something that is not good for your mental health.
For most people, such specificity brings relief when it comes to rearranging their furniture and they truly see it as a way to express their creativity. But it makes sense that if this becomes a crutch on which to manage your negative emotions, these behaviours may tip into obsessions.
If you are finding that rearranging furniture isn’t a form of mood elevation but is instead a way of reducing negative emotions only, it might be a good idea to talk to someone who could find other outlets to manage how you are feeling.
Each person is different when it comes to how they like to arrange their space. Some people don’t care too much about the arrangement of their office, living room, bedroom, etc.
Other people, on the other hand, like to spend a long time on research and planning the arrangement of their house even as far as making a mood board and enjoy coming home to a place that demonstrates their sense of style.
Rearranging furniture can be a way to hone your aesthetic and identify what you truly need and want in your living area without buyer’s remorse from buying new things. Also, it makes sense that improvement occurs when your home is in line with your sense of style.
The action of moving things around can also bring its own psychological benefits because it is a specific activity that can bring a person a sense of control and autonomy over their space at that moment and beyond.
If it becomes an activity that your family is becoming concerned about or that isn’t making you feel good anymore, it can be helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling.
Jessica D. Davis
My name is Jessica D. Davis, as a writer and editor, I'd like to create a place where other writers and I can talk about business, investing, health, career, lifestyle, home improvement and other topics.