Understanding the reasons why clutter happens is the first step to living a clutter-free life.
Today is Day 10 in our 31 Day Declutter Challenge. As I work through the clutter in my own home, I am realizing how important it is to understand why the clutter exists in the first place.
Today I want to talk about the reasons WHY clutter happens. I think it is hard to get the problem under control until you truly understand the cause.
When I take a long, hard look at my home and everything in it, I am absolutely amazed. I cannot believe the amount of THINGS I have amassed over the years! And when I think about how much time it takes out of my life just to take care of those things, I am even more amazed.
I am tired of giving so much of my life over to taking care of things I really don’t need. And yet, somehow the clutter keeps piling up.
As I have thought about the reasons why I have allowed stuff to get out of hand in my home, here is what I have come up with:
This is a hard one.
All of the little notes I’ve been finding from my kids as I’ve been working to declutter my office this week really get me. I hate to throw any of them away, even if I can’t figure out which kid they’re from!
There is a dress hanging in my closet that I used to wear when my husband and I were dating. There is no way in the world I could ever squeeze myself into it now. And even if I could, it’s unlikely I would wear it as it looks like it came from 1998. But my husband absolutely loves that dress and will not let me get rid of it. So for now, it stays. Maybe I will be happy I kept it many years from now.
We have a few knick-knacky type things that the girls have purchased on our various vacations. I loathe knick-knacks myself and don’t buy them. They are annoying to manage and I can never really figure out a good place for them, yet the girls would be so sad if I were to throw them out because they remind them of our fun times together as a family.
2. Shopping mindlessly or to relieve stress.
Sometimes if I am feeling stressed out I feel the need to buy something.
I guess I just like to get out of the house and be by myself. But when I do that, I often end up at some store where I seriously peruse the aisles until I find something I want to buy.
Or sometimes I see something online and I hit buy before even thinking about the fact that I already have enough skirts, and just because it’s adorable doesn’t mean I need it and should buy it.
Sometimes I even buy something because a friend purchased it and I really like it, so I want one, too. Even though I have no idea what I’ll do with it or where I’ll put it.
3. “Someday I might need it.”
I have piles of craft and scrapbooking supplies that I will probably never use. I have not made a scrapbook page in several years, and yet it kills me to think of getting rid of any of it. Someday I might start scrapbooking again, right? I’m just too busy right now.
I sometimes keep pickle jars or other cool containers because I am sure I might be able to find a use for it someday.
I keep lots of things in the name of frugality, actually. But when it comes down to it, I either forget I have something and buy a new one anyway, or I simply never actually need it.
4. It was a gift.
I have a few things on display in my house that I do not love, or even like, simply because somebody gave them to me as a gift.
While I don’t love the item, I do love the person. Or I am at least afraid that they will see it is gone if I get rid of it.
As I type this I am looking at a little handmade porcelain bird that a neighbor gave me a few years ago as a thank you gift for taking care of their dogs. It’s pretty, but I am not a fan of knick-knacks, and even if I were, it’s not my style. And yet I keep it, even though my neighbor has probably forgotten she gave it to me and wouldn’t likely come into my office and notice whether it was gone or not anyway.
I feel obligated to keep things that people give me, even if I have absolutely no use for them.
5. You spent good money on it.
I have piles of fabric that I purchased with a project in mind but never actually started. I spent good money on it, yet it has sat in my basement for five years and I still have not done anything with it. The likelihood of my starting these projects at this point is pretty low, and I don’t even like some of the fabric anymore. Yet, there it sits taking up space.
I bought a yogurt maker forever ago that I have never taken out of the box. Because I really do have good intentions of using it to make my own yogurt. Really, I do! But if I haven’t used it in over seven years, am I really deluded enough to think that I will use it anytime soon?
Clothes, toys, books, movies. All of that kind of stuff. If it isn’t being used, why do I keep it? Because I think about how much money it cost me and I feel like I should keep it for that reason alone.
6. There is no time to deal with it.
Things pile up, and even if none of the above reasons apply, I just don’t take the time to deal with it. And then I get overwhelmed.
And then more stuff piles up.
You’ll notice that I have not provided any solutions here.
Believe me, I wanted to. My fingers typed them out several times. I KNOW the solutions. But I really need to think about the reasons right now so I don’t have to deal with this all again another year from now.
Take a good look at the clutter in your own life and write down the reasons why it’s there. You might come up with different reasons than I did. Which reasons are easier for you to justify?
Why does clutter happen in your house?
Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.
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