Clutter happens for different reasons. In this post, I will focus on the three common reasons and discuss how to get rid of it.
Reason 1: You thought it was a good idea
Not long ago, having thing was good. Extra this and backup that meant you always had everything you needed. You had enough space to store all of the things, and if you didn't, you created more space by adding an extension to your house or upgrading to a bigger house.
Then your children left home one by one. Minimalism became (sort of) mainstream, and that lady from Japan told you that you shouldn't keep things unless they make you feel sparkly. I mean have you been noticing all the focus on simple living and having less lately?
You now feel as if your place is laden with clutter.
Hold your judgment for a sec and let's see if you really do have clutter.
The first thing I want to mention is that clutter is a subjective concept. What you consider clutter might not be clutter at all for someone else. So don't let anyone else tell you that you have clutter when you enjoy being surrounded by your things. Don't let them push you to throw things that you cherish. Show them one of your fingers and walk away.
Second, if you determined that you do indeed have some clutter, then we can start decluttering. I have written a short guide on how to jumpstart decluttering in just four hours, and you may find it useful.
Reason 2: You accumulate clutter when you're spread too thin
You’ve been extremely busy and have not had the time nor energy to put back things where they belong. Looking at the clutter everywhere zap your energy even more but you just can’t bring yourself to start cleaning the mess. You also keep buying things that you already have because you can’t find what you’re looking for in the sea of clutter which accelerates clutter formation.
Start with exploring why you are so busy. Writing out everything on your mind and making actionable lists help. Is there a way to streamline your tasks to cut down time and effort required to complete your tasks? Are they essential or can you let go of some? If all tasks are important, can you prioritize them? Can you delegate some tasks?
Being busy and overwhelmed is the same thing as having a cluttered brain (click to tweet). And you need to address the clutter in your head if you want to declutter your physical surroundings.
You will feel more energetic once you've figured out your priorities. You should also have an easier time to spot and sort clutter from the rest. It's like your eyes are now equipped with a clutter radar. Use it to start decluttering.
Reason 3: You feel inadequate and try to compensate for it by having things
People sometimes hold on to clutter because of fear, misplaced hope, and other unhealthy reasons.
Have you ever bought something because everyone else had it and you didn’t want to be the only one without it? How about buying thing hoping that it would make you look wealthy, sophisticated or intelligent? Keeping clothes that are smaller than your actual size hoping you’ll be able to wear it someday? Books and courses you bought in hope of improving yourself?
You bought these items because you think you’re inadequate in some way. And you somehow deluded yourself to believe that having these things can fix yourself.
It won't work that way.
In fact, every time you handle these items, you’ll experience guilt for failing to change.
So let’s get rid of them. You’re not giving up on yourself by throwing these things. On the contrary, you are going to redeem yourself by appreciating what you already have.
You don’t have to work hard to be part of a certain group because you already belong to another group. You don’t need to change to be liked because some people will accept you for who you are.
You’re already smarter than a lot of people in some fields and can do some things easily compared to most. If you want to improve yourself, work to hone your talent instead of overcoming things you’re not good at. That’s a much better way to spend your energy.
Only keep what belongs to your authentic self. Everything else is clutter.
Does any of these reflect your reason for having clutter? If not, please share with us in the comment section and I will help you come up with a solution!