Clutter can create a hazardous situation in your home, office, and your life. Figuring out what is cluttering your way of life is the first step to becoming clutter free.
Being clutter free involves purging what is not needed or contributes to our stress levels and create a safer, more enjoyable space. It allows us to focus on the things that matter most, and give our energy to the people and things that bring us more happiness.
Have you ever looked around your house and thought, “I’ve got a lot of stuff”? Maybe you’ve even wondered how to simplify your living space? Then you’re probably concerned about clutter, and we’re going to discuss some ways to fix it.
What Is Clutter?
Clutter is the accumulation of things, physical or mental. They often are tied to intentions (going to do x one day, going to use that x for y project), or “I want to try x” and add it to the to-do list. Often, these things that aren’t used or experienced, collect in our minds, and in our living and working spaces. They consume mental energy and physical space, slowing us down and taking attention away from things that matter more.
What Does Clutter Mean?
Clutter is defined as a collection of belongings, items, or even thoughts that are untidy or messy. These things do not contribute to your day-to-day or your happiness and tend to steal time and energy.
Clutter, like piles of boxes that need to be donated or paper stacks of bills and receipts on your desk that still need sorting, can mean that you are simply physically too busy with other, more important, day-to-day tasks. Whereas mental clutter can mean that you have too many burdens in your mind that distract your thinking.
What Is an Example of Clutter?
Examples of clutter include miniatures, dirty dishes, trash, papers, even thoughts and emotions. It’s the things we collect whether on purpose because we like them, or unintentionally because we are distracted or busy.
Many of us have lots of objects and sometimes a messy home. If one might feel it begins to influence their lives more than they’d like, reading some questions and insights about “Am I a Clutterer” from Clutterers Anonymous can help identify if it’s just being too busy or if it might be helpful to focus more on reducing clutter.
What Does Clutter-Free Mean?
Clutter-free could mean your home is neat and organized. You have everything you need in its place. It could also mean you have mental clarity and are at peace with yourself.
What Does “Clear the Clutter” Mean?
Clear the clutter means recycling, donating, selling, or throwing away the stuff that is stealing your space, time, and energy. It’s making your space more livable and stress-free!
How Do You Know If Your House Is Cluttered?
Your house is cluttered if everywhere you look you see “stuff”. You house makes you feel like you need to clean and organize but just haven’t had the time or motivation. This stuff induces feelings of needing to clean, organize, and sort, as well as stress.
Types of Clutter
Emotional clutter can have a great effect on your well-being. This includes persistent thoughts that cloud and drain our energy. It can include negative self-talk such as “I’m not good at this” or “I’m not appreciated” and even “I can’t do this”, which usually plays on repeat and makes us believe them after a while.
Mental clutter is a state of being in one place physically but a completely different place mentally. It’s thinking about home when we’re at work and vice versa. This also includes the multitasking we so often do because of modern times-an example of which is checking email on our smartphones while eating dinner with the family.
Physical clutter are actual items that we collect either because we want to or due to our busy lives. This includes intentional as well as unintentional collection and can be further broken down into three categories:
|Sentimental||Items that remind us of a loved one, a fond memory, or an event.|
|Utilitarian||Items that may be useful, have a specific function, found in different varieties, and we have several types of them (i.e. scissors, fabrics, and phone chargers can be utilitarian clutter).|
|Aspirational||It’s what we buy and collect for something in the future. We dream of learning how to certain tasks and purchase the items that go along with those tasks, only to collect them into physical clutter.|
Reasons for Clutter
Why Does My House Look So Cluttered?
We have a tendency to collect things: memorabilia, figurines, plants, animals, etc. etc…. When we let it get out of hand then our house becomes cluttered.
Why Can’t I Throw Stuff Away?
It can be difficult to discard things that we’ve tied emotions to. The last card your grandmother sent you before she died, the flowers your partner gave you for your birthday, even the plant that reminds you of your mother who lives 400 miles away have feelings and memories that we’ve assigned to them inadvertently. We don’t want to discard our feelings and memories, so we hang on to these items.
What Is Clutter a Sign Of?
Clutter-whether it is physical, emotional, or mental-can be a sign of mental illness. It can also be a sign of our desire or need to collect things. Some even say it’s a sign of intelligence!
Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid Of Stuff?
Getting rid of stuff is difficult because it takes time and energy. We sometimes put so much of ourselves into our relationships, work, and others that we lack the desire to organize our own lives. We also attach feelings and emotions to our stuff, which makes it hard to get rid of.
Is Clutter a Sign of Intelligence?
Some studies have shown that clutter and intelligence are closely related! You could look at it as though your mind is so occupied with important tasks and events that you just don’t have the time to declutter. It could also mean that you have high levels of creativity-which is an excellent trait to possess.
Clearing the clutter is making your space more livable and stress-free!
Consequences of Clutter
Does a Cluttered House Cause Stress?
Absolutely clutter can cause stress! If you look around your house and see piles of newspapers, dirty clothes, knick-knacks, and think “I gotta clean this place up!”, then you’ve got clutter-induced stress.
What Does Decluttering Do For You?
Decluttering your home can tidy things up, help you organize, and significantly decrease your stress and susceptibility to illness. It can also bring you mental clarity and feelings of happiness and satisfaction knowing you’ve accomplished decluttering.
Health and Safety Consequences of Clutter
What we don’t often hear is that if there is clutter, there are potential safety consequences. Clutter can harbor bacteria, mold, dust and pet dander that can contribute to allergies. Then there’s the safety consequences-piles of stuff, disorganization, and overloading of furniture can lead to trips and falls.
Getting Rid of Clutter
Getting rid of clutter can lead to some really positive benefits in daily life. Here is a great reasource from Stanford University that dives into how an organized space can help lead to clearer thinking and increased happiness.
Where to Begin When You’re Overwhelmed by a Messy House?
It’s best to start small if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Find a single bookshelf or a corner you can tackle in a short period of time and try to stick to it until you’re done. This will give you a sense of accomplishment which can lead to another small project. Then you’ll find yourself done in no time!
Where Do I Start Decluttering?
The best place to start decluttering is where you spend your down time. Wherever you tend to sit to relax-whether it’s your living room or your bedroom-is a good place to start cleaning and organizing so you have a decluttered space to retreat to when you need a break.
How Do I Get Rid Of Clutter Fast?
Let go of the feelings and emotions you’ve tied to your clutter. Don’t give them a second thought-look at the clutter as just that-junk. This way you can get rid of clutter quickly and achieve that sense of accomplishment fast!
What Must I Do With Home Clutter?
This depends on what the clutter is. Here are a few suggestions:
- Clothing, toys, and books can be donated to a local charity or sold in a garage sale.
- If you buy something new, discard something old that has a similar function.
- Find items that have multiple functions to pare down what you’ve already got on hand.
- Organize clutter behind closed doors-closets, cupboards, pantries, cabinets, and drawers can store your stuff out of sight to decrease visual clutter.
How Do You Declutter When Overwhelmed?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the easy stuff. Throw away trash, broken items, and small things you don’t use anymore. Then move up to larger things like the torn ottoman, broken lamp, or the old leather boots you kept from high school. Always start small and work your way up at your pace-this will help keep you motivated and gradually decrease those feelings of being overwhelmed.
How Can I Remove Clutter From My Mind?
This is a challenging one-first identify the thoughts that are cluttering your mind. If it’s things you need to do around the house, get those things done. Create a to-do list and take care of it. Create a space in your home that is clutter-free where you can relax, meditate, and re-center. Take steps to take good care of yourself-eat well, sleep well, live well. Exercise and live in the now. If there’s something you’ve been thinking about or planning on doing, do it.
Best Clutter Free Habits
1. Prevent the clutter before it starts!
- Take care of paper mail immediately. Create a place for bills and important mail. Put junk mail in the recycling bin. This will help you be more organized.
- Put things back where you got them from. Put the can opener back in the drawer. Put the scissors back in the utensil holder. Hang towels back up after use. This will make things easier to find and look nicer.
- Don’t buy it if you don’t need it! If you’ve already got something at home, don’t buy another. If you must, buy the improved version and discard of the old one! Ask yourself, “Do I need this? What will I do with this? Where can I keep this?” If you can’t answer all of these questions, don’t buy it.
2. Clean up after yourself-in the moment!
- Make your bed every morning. Put all blankets and throw pillows up neatly on the bed or in storage. A nice looking bed is more inviting than an unkempt one.
- Dirty dishes have a home-NOT in the kitchen sink! Clean up all dishes by hand or put in the dishwasher after every meal. Not only does this make your kitchen look better-it also prevents bugs and questionable smells.
3. Do your laundry!
- Keep your laundry basket in the closet or bathroom, behind closed doors. Nobody wants to see your dirty clothing.
- Be more efficient with getting laundry done. Set a timer on your watch or listen for the buzzer when the washer and dryer are done. This will save you time and prevent wrinkles.
- Put the laundry up straight out of the dryer. This keeps clothing and fabrics fresher, looking cleaner, and smelling better than sitting in the dryer.
- Start small. Set small goals for decluttering and take your time.
- Prevent the clutter. Make a space for everything. Don’t buy what you don’t need.
- Organize. Use tools and organizers to easily find what you need. Discard what you don’t need.
- Take care of yourself. Practice yoga, mindfulness, meditation, prayer, and thankfulness to clear your mind and remain grounded.
Products to Tame Clutter
Clutter Free Products
There are many products including organizers, bins, vacuum bags, filing systems, and label makers to help get and keep you organized. Store like products together in bins and organizers and label. File paperwork and label to keep important documents safe and bills paid on time.
Clutter Free App
A free (or paid for personalization) app to give you helpful tips on the best way to organize your home. This app helps you get inspired, complete challenges, and track progress.
Clutter Free Hangers
Your hanger appearance can make a huge difference in every closet. Mismatched hangers make a closet look cluttered! Use the same or similar style hangers to produce a simpler, streamlined effect on your hanging articles of clothing. Also use a soda pop top hung from the hook of a hanger to add another hanger-which creates more space.
Clutter Free Gifts
Consider giving friends and loved ones the gift of experience rather than clutter or stuff. Consider tickets to movies, concerts, theaters, escape rooms, or even activities such as bowling, horseback riding, golf, or the local water park. You’ll create memories and prevent clutter.
Help With Decluttering
Clutter Free Academy & Podcast
These are podcasts that can help you create a clutter free home and life. Available podcasts include help with lack of progress, the problem with paper, and the effect of clutter on our mental health.
Clutter Free Company
There are multiple resources online for getting your home organized. From local contractors to storage facilities, find the services available to you to assist with creating a clutter-free home.
Clutter Free Junk Removal
There really are professionals out there that will tackle your clutter for you! They will clean your home, locate and remove the junk, and even repair damage to your home. And you don’t have to do any of it.
Clutter Free Design
Create a room and house design that helps you prevent clutter. You design your own space and storage and the look you want for where you live.
Keeping Clutter Away
How to Live Clutter Free
Purge the things you don’t need. The general rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it and free up that space for something that is more important to you and what you’re trying to accomplish in life.
Clutter Free Kitchen
Use organizers for all silverware and utensils. Make space for all of your small appliances in cupboards and pantries-not on the countertops. Aim for an approach of “In a drawer or behind a door”, where most surfaces are clean, and anything you need to reach or use is within arms length, neatly organized in a drawer, or on a shelf behind a door.
Clutter Free Bathroom
Use the storage you have efficiently and discard what you don’t need. Create additional storage in nearby closets for towels and throw away old, tattered towels or donate them to your local animal shelter or veterinarian.
Clutter Free Office
Use organizers for papers, pens, staplers, and all other office supplies. Have a close space for important documents and bills. Aim to clean the desk daily from any papers and items worked on throughout the day, so the next day provides a fresh start with a clutter free work space.
You too can create a clutter free living space and way of life. Make the decision today to clear out the junk (both physical and emotional) and live a simpler way. Use the tips and suggestions here and you’ll find you can be successful at living clutter free!
- Clutter – Causes, Fixes, and Methods for Simple Living
- Declutter Your Mind: Succesful Methods from Real Practice
- Declutter Challenge – Getting Motivated for Simple Living
- Clutter Storage – Clever Options for Minimalist Living
How To Make Your Space Clutter Free?
Start with what you don’t need. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, you’ve got duplicates or multiples, or you have never used it-dispose of it! Live within your means and don’t buy out of habit. Keep things organized and in their place.
How to Keep a Kitchen Counter Clutter Free?
Start with organizers for silverware, cooking utensils, spice jars, and canned goods. Make room in your cabinets for small appliances like the toaster, coffeemaker, and stand mixer. Never underestimate the power of a junk drawer.