Procrastinators and Clutter: An Ecological View of Living with Excessive “Stuff”


In the present study, young adults (n = 346; M age = 21.5 years old) completed self-reported measures of procrastination, self-identity with possessions, clutter, place attachment, and psychological home to provide an ecological understanding of the context in which chronic procrastinators live. Results found behavioral procrastination tendencies related only to clutter (a belief that living spaces have too much “stuff,” feeling overwhelmed with excessive possessions, and that one’s personal life is negatively impacted by many possessions). Clutter in one’s living space, negative emotions, and impaired social ability all predicted high procrastination scores. Clutter was the best predictor of procrastination as determined by multiple regression. Taken together, chronic procrastinators reported too much clutter (possessions, or stuff), and that clutter interferes with a strong quality of their lives.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Beswick, G., Rothblum, E. D., & Mann, L. (1988). Psychological antecedents of student procrastination. Australian Psychologist, 23(2), 207–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: experiments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of psychopathology. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 24, 349–354.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Ferrari, J. R. (1991). Self-handicapping by procrastinators: protecting social-esteem, self-esteem, or both? Journal of Research in Personality, 25, 245–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Ferrari, J. R. (1992). Psychometric validation of two procrastination inventories for adults: arousal and avoidance measures. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 14, 97–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ferrari, J. R. (1993). Christmas and procrastination: explaining lack of diligence at a “real-world” task deadline. Personality and Individual Differences, 14, 25–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ferrari, J. R. (2010). Still procrastinating? The no regrets guide to getting it done. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Ferrari, J. R., & Díaz-Morales, J. F. (2007). Perceptions of self-concept and self-presentation by procrastinators: further evidence. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 10, 91–96.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Ferrari, J. R., & Scher, S. (2000). Toward an understanding of academic and nonacademic tasks procrastinated by students: the use of daily logs. Psychology in the Schools, 34, 359–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ferrari, J. R., & Tibbett, T. P. (2017). Procrastination. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences. New York: Springer Meteor Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Ferrari, J. R., Johnson, J., & McCown, W. (1995). Procrastination and task avoidance: theory, research, and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  12. Ferrari, J. R., O’Callaghan, J., & Newbegin, I. (2005). Prevalence of procrastination in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia: arousal and avoidance delays in adults. North American Journal of Psychology, 7, 1–6.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Ferrari, J. R., Diaz-Morales, J. F., O’Callaghan, J., Diaz, K., & Argumendo, D. (2007). Frequent behavioral delay tendencies by adults: international prevalence rates of chronic procrastination. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38, 458–464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ferraro, R., Escalas, J. E., & Bettman, J. R. (2011). Our possessions, our selves: domains of self-worth and the possession-self link. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 169–177.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lay, C. H. (1986). At last, my research article on procrastination. Journal of Research in Personality, 20(4), 474–495.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. McCown, W., & Johnson, J. (1989). Adult inventory of procrastination. In J. R. Ferrari, J. Johnson, & W. McCown (Eds.), 1995 Procrastination and task avoidance: theory, research, and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Reynolds, W. M. (1982). Development of reliable and valid short forms of the Marlowe-Crowne social desirability scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 119–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Roster, C. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Jurkat, P. (2016). The dark side of home: assessing possession ‘clutter’ on subjective well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 46, 32–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Scher, S., & Ferrari, J. R. (2000). Toward an understanding of academic and nonacademic tasks procrastinated by students: the use of daily logs. Psychology in the Schools, 34, 359–366.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Senécal, C., Koestner, R., & Vallerand, R. J. (1995). Self-regulation and academic procrastination. Journal of Social Psychology, 135(5), 607–619.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Signmon, S. T., Whitcomb, S. R., & Snyder, C. R. (2002). Psychological home. In Psychological sense of community: Research, applications, and implications (pp. 25–40). New York: Springer Publications.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  22. Tibbett, T. P., & Ferrari, J. R. (2015). The portrait of the procrastinator: risk factors and results of indecision. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 175–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Williams, D. R., & Roggerbuck, J. W. (1989: October). Measuring place attachment: some preliminary results. In Paper presented at the session on outdoor planning and management. San Antonio, TX: NRPA Symposium on Leisure Research.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Authors are grateful to Trina and Angela Dao for presenting this work at the Biennial Procrastination Conference.


This study was NOT funded by any grant.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph R. Ferrari.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

JR Ferrari declares that he has no conflict of interest. C Roster, K Crum, and M Pardo declare each that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ferrari, J.R., Roster, C.A., Crum, K.P. et al. Procrastinators and Clutter: An Ecological View of Living with Excessive “Stuff”. Curr Psychol 37, 441–444 (2018).

Download citation


  • Procrastination
  • Clutter
  • Possessions
  • Ecological context
  • Social relations