Too Much Stuff – Too Much Clutter

By | September 21, 2015

Too Much Clutter

Drowning in Clutter?  Too Much Stuff? Too Much Clutter?

What is it about stuff, anyway? Why are we so enthralled with it and why do we accumulate so much more than we need or could ever use?

Why do some of us run up huge credit card debts buying more and more stuff?

Maybe we want to be cool. Maybe the latest “must-have” item will make us the envy of our friends. Maybe we enjoy being admired when we’re driving a shiny new car. It makes us feel successful. When you have better stuff than somebody else, it makes you feel important.

Do you have Too Much Stuff?

Having too much stuff can not only drain and frustrate you, it can make it difficult to get things done.

Too much stuff can get in the way of achieving your goals and getting things done. It can make it impossible to get organized.

Professional organizers who are called to cluttered homes and offices say their clients use the same words, over and over, to describe their reaction to the mess: their energy is drained, they can’t find things, and it’s beginning to interfere with crucial parts of life — such as getting to work on time or navigating staircases.

What one person calls clutter another calls collections or treasures, so the first step is to figure out what qualifies as clutter. “Other people can’t decide what is clutter for you,” says Cynthia Townley Ewer of Richland, Wash., the editor of the web site Organized Home.

Overflowing Shelves

Overflowing Shelves

Peter Walsh, an organizational expert and former host of The Learning Channel’s Clean Sweep show, divides clutter into two general types. “Memory” clutter is stuff that reminds us of important events, like old school programs or newspaper clippings. “Someday” clutter refers to items you won’t toss because you feel you might need them someday.

“It’s about balance,” Walsh says of clutter control. “If you have so much stuff it drags you into the past or pulls you into the future, you can’t live in the present.”

And unless you’re extremely organized, a house full of stuff can be very depressing. A cluttered room saps one’s spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there’s less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there’s more going on than that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what’s around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.

Drowning in Stuff

drowning in stuff

So, how do you start. And START you must.

Marla Cilly, the Flylady, recommends you start with Baby Steps. Get dressed to the shoes, hair and makeup.  Getting dressed to the shoes tells your mind that it’s work time. Break your tasks down into 15 minute blocks and set the timer. It’s amazing what you can do in 15 minutes.

The Flylady’s ’27 Fling Boogie’ is a fun way to start to declutter. Do this every day and make a habit of it, and you will be amazed as, each day, your house feels that little bit less overwhelming. It only takes a few minutes each day. Here’s the drill:

1. Grab a box or bag and go around your house. Look for 27 things to throw out. Bin them and go back for more.

2. Now look for 27 things to donate. Pack them into a bag and put them in the boot of your car. Drop them at the Salvation Army Op Shop next time you’re out and about.

3. Finally look for 27 things to keep and put them away in their proper places.  Our Grandmothers used this old adage for a very good reason.  It works.  “A place for everything, and everything in its place”.

Piles of Junk

Piles of Junk

Marla offers up her advice in the form of reminder emails. If this sound right for you (and there are many, many emails a day), check her site at

Once you’re in the habit of doing this each day, you’ll start to automatically look for items to throw away, give away or keep.  You start to look at “stuff” differently. You start to see “clutter” in a different way. You start to feel more in control of your clutter and not the other way around.

But sometimes, you’ll feel stymied. You look at something that you haven’t used in a long while. It has a value to you and you can’t bring yourself to part with it.

If you can’t bring yourself to throw something out, put it in a box and put a date on the box that is exactly a year from today away. Don’t list what’s in the box — just the date. If you find that that future date has come and gone without your needing anything in the box, chuck it, without looking inside. Don’t look back. And should you need and use some of the things from that box, find a good place to keep those items.

Old Junk and Clutter

Old Junk and Clutter

Next, you need to get your “buying more stuff” under control. One way to resist acquiring stuff is to think of the overall cost of owning it. The purchase price is just the beginning. You’re going to have to think about that thing for years—perhaps for the rest of your life. Every thing you own takes energy away from you. Some give more than they take. Those are the only things worth having.

Remember – You are not your stuff. We are more than our possessions.

  1. Our memories are not under our beds. Memories are within us, not within our things.
  2. An item that is sentimental for us can be an item that is useful for someone else.
  3. Holding on to stuff weighs on us mentally and emotionally. Letting go is freeing.
  4. You can take pictures of items you want to remember.
  5. Old photographs can be scanned.

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2 thoughts on “Too Much Stuff – Too Much Clutter

  1. Pingback: Why Is Blogging So Hard? | A Year From Today

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