Ask Unclutterer: Why do people struggle with clutter?

Reader Juliette submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

I know why I fight clutter: After a long day at work the last thing I want to do is housework. But is this the same reason as everyone else? Are we all working too hard and too many hours to take care of our stuff?

After years of doing what I do, I’ve found that most people who struggle with clutter fall into one of the eight following categories:

  1. Overwhelmed by the task, don’t know where to begin. Feeling overwhelmed can be paralyzing. When you are plagued with anxiety, it can be tempting to ignore the problem and just hope it goes away.
  2. Fear of being forgotten, their stuff is the only proof they have lived. As humans, we know we’re mortal but wish we weren’t. Since the beginning of human history we have been looking for ways to be remembered. People who fear their mortality often have issues with this, especially sentimental clutter.
  3. Fear of change or of the future. The past may have been a glorious time, and since the future is uncertain, it can be tempting to hold onto everything from the past. Even if the past wasn’t so glorious, it’s at least a known quantity. This also ties in with people who look at objects and think, “I might be able to use this some day.” It stems from a fear that one might not be able to acquire needed items in the future.
  4. Experienced a major life change, such as death of a family member, a marriage, or a new baby. Major life changes can be difficult because they often come with a lot of stuff — a death means you might have to process someone else’s stuff, a marriage could mean you have to merge two households, and a new baby is a combination of exhaustion and new stuff. Usually these influxes of clutter are short term, but they’re still stressful (even if a good stress).
  5. Poor decision-making and/or time-management skills, simply don’t know how. Decision-making and time-management skills are learned, not engrained. They need to be practiced just like a toddler practices walking and a guitarist practices his craft. Michael Phelps didn’t wake up one morning with a new ability to be an Olympic gold medal winner — he spent years practicing. If a person hasn’t practiced and trained to have strong decision-making and time-management skills, she isn’t going to know how to handle everything that comes her way. She’ll often keep something out of guilt or habit.
  6. Lack of energy. Many people call this “being lazy,” but I think it’s really a lack of energy. If you don’t get the right amount of sleep your body needs, eat foods that best fuel the mind and body, and move around a lot during the day, you’re going to have less energy than you need to get things accomplished. And this isn’t a weight issue, either. There are people of all shapes and sizes who don’t eat or sleep well who struggle with insufficient energy.
  7. Side effect of a physical disability or mental disorder. If you’re not of sound body and/or mind, it’s understandably a challenge to get through the day. These people benefit greatly from the help of professionals to assist them.
  8. Don’t want to, don’t see any reason to change. I wouldn’t say that these people actually “struggle” with clutter, though people who come into contact with them probably do. The truth is that being an unclutterer is not the only way to a remarkable life. For some people, clutter isn’t an obstacle. And, as long as the person with the stuff isn’t a danger to himself or others (just messy, not a hoarder), I don’t see this as a problem. People need to do what is the best path for them to achieve the life they desire.

Based on the information in your question, you might have issues with clutter because of insufficient time-management skills. This is just a guess, though, I’m basing on your use of the phrase, “working too hard and too many hours.” You might read through the list and see another category (or two) that suits you better. I was a clutterer because of many of the reasons listed, but mostly because I had awful sleeping and eating habits, poor time-management skills, and didn’t realize clutter was keeping me from living a remarkable life. Throw in my physical disability and a mild fear of being forgotten and I think that sums up all of my reasons for living so many years as a clutterbug.

We all have our reasons for struggling with clutter — and there are certainly a few reasons people fight clutter that don’t conveniently fit into one of these eight categories — so be sure to read the comments to learn about why different readers are here. Additionally, there are hundreds of posts in our archives that address how to handle each of these categories of clutter. Thank you, Juliette, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Good luck in your pursuit of a remarkable life.

Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.

35 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: Why do people struggle with clutter?”

  1. Profile photo of

    posted by Jude2004 on

    The reason I have problems with clutter is that I have no help. I inherited the problem and I’ve been dealing with it for decades. It takes hours and days to sort through things and I’m constitutionally incapable of just chucking it all.

  2. posted by JenO on

    Good article.

    I would add one more. With employers downsizing in the last twenty years or so, many people who are left with jobs are working longer hours to keep those jobs. This takes a toll over the years: it’s harder to get the proper nutrition, sleep and exercise; also, as a person ages, physical problems start to crop up more. Clutter at home is low on the priority list.

  3. posted by Grow With Stacy on

    Lack of energy has been a problem for me for most of this year as I’ve been pregnant and exhausted.

    But I’ve found that even if I’m really tired I can still find *something* that I can do towards decluttering. Often once I get started I find that I have more energy than I thought.

  4. posted by Mutantsupermodel on

    I think the main issue with clutter is priorities/goals. In my case, when I settle on a goal- there is no stopping me. Everything shifts around to make it happen. The problem is prioritizing. When I get depressed, sick, or just plain exhausted I let my prioroties and goals crumble and just get by day to day. This leads to a complete lack of drive and purpose. Just like with any goal, decluttering works with deadlines and measurements. If you decide to have a completely de-cluttered bedroom by December 31st come hell or highwater, you’re going to get there. When we don’t have clear goals and deadlines, it’s too easy to come up with excuses like I’m too tired. I know this because I do it ALL of the time. It’s a habit I’d like to change but honestly, I haven’t made it a priority yet :)

  5. posted by JC on

    Conversely, sometimes when I have a crazy day at work and am tired, decluttering and putting things in their place makes me feel better. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I’ve really done all day. I usually only pick a corner of a room, or a stack of mail to sort and toss and file. Nothing sweeping. Small but significant.

  6. posted by Renee F. on

    Dear Erin,
    Number 2 for me is not fear of being forgotten, rather fear of forgetting – many of the extraneous, dust collecting items in my house are from my grandparents or from my parents. They are memories, sentimental and sweet. Fortunately, there are not too many and they are not offensive to the other members of my family. Some of my clutter I’m keeping, for now…

  7. posted by WilliamB on

    Your list sparked some other thoughts in my mind:

    A. What if the clutter one’s struggling with is someone else’s? Two types come up frequently in this blog: inherited (deceased relatives, relatives who always give and expect to see the thing) and roommate (spouse, significant other, child, etc).

    B. Where does the guilt-keep category fit? The thing you might not want but feel guilt about getting rid of (“Great Uncle Fred would have been devastated if I got rid of this)?

    I suggest a wording change in #8: you use messy as a synonym for clutter, and clutter to mean stuff. If it’s not a problem for the owner, the owner probably doesn’t consider it clutter. And I know plenty of people who have a lot of stuff but who aren’t messy, some are fantastically organized.

  8. posted by Amy on

    I’ve changed my ways a lot in the past few years (this site has been very motivating). I have realized a few things that help me.

    1. Realize that if my home is noticeably messy, it sets up may day or week in a bad way. If I want to do well at work, I start by making my home more organized.

    2. Realize that if it is too much work to keep things clean, than I have too much stuff or my routine is too complicated. The things that make my house messy are not pictures or other items that do not get moved around. It’s the laundry, toys, dishes and paperwork. I have donated tons of clothes and toys to better match the space I live in. This way I only have so much to pick up. RE: paperwork, I try to get rid of the distractable items, and deal with (or have a place for) things that I need. My meal routine has been simplified during the week so that I do not use a million pots and pans, mixing bowls etc.

    3. If I constantly have the same problem area, it means I need to start critically thinking about how I am misusing the space and how to fix it. I have to define what I want the spaces main purpose to be and figure out what I can do to make it happen. Do I need to remove some items and store them somewhere else? Do I need to get more organizers?

    It has been an interesting process and prioritizing one thing at a time and tackling my biggest time-wasters/problems first has made it easier to refine my space as I go. I now take pride in my place and can relax there without blinders on.

  9. posted by Lindsay on

    I resent being told that I have poor time management skills if I can’t find the time to declutter as well as you do. Some of us have to work for a living.

  10. posted by Chris on

    What I had to do may seem drastic, but WORKED for me.

    I took a week off of work. Paid, thankfully, since I had lots of leave saved up.

    The first night I picked a room [dining room for me], and cleared it out. Nothing but bare walls and carpet.

    This room was now the “GTFO” room.

    First few days, I went through EVERYTHING I owned.
    About half the stuff ended up in that room.
    Decided that wasn’t enough; so I fine tuned further.
    Ended up getting rid of nearly 2/3rds of my consumerist wasteful crap.

    Got rid of:
    -TV
    -Xbox
    -Nintendo
    -VCR [I know, I know…]
    -Cable bill [ :P ]
    -Some furniture
    -Bikes [kept ONE nice roadbike that I actually USE]
    -Old sports gear
    -9/10ths of my books [they are more beneficial in a library, plus I can still access them anytime]
    -ALL my physical media [it’s digitized anyways] [library]
    -Bed and couch [bought a NICE futon!]
    -3/4 of my clothes – I realized I only wear a select bit of them, all of which are high quality, classic, and fit well
    -About half of my tools
    -Old car and bike parts

    I found that once I got rid of all the crap in my life, organizing was EASY! Only took two days to do the entire place.

    And being able to fit my entire life in one carload [barely, and not including the futon] is NICE!

  11. posted by Carolyn on

    I’ve done really well decluttering … except for certain sentimental items, like millions of photographs (and yes, I’ve digitized many of them but continue to hold on to many more!).

  12. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Lindsay — Whoa, tiger! Where is this outrage coming from?? I checked your e-mail address against Juliette’s and they are not the same. So, for starters, you are definitely reading something in this post that isn’t there. I don’t mention you a single time. You can rest assured that I wasn’t telling you anything about your time management skills.

    Next, I work a full time job. I am well aware that “some” of us have to work for a living … since I do. If you know of someone who gets paid to do nothing, let me know. I would love to get paid to do nothing. I think most of us would.

    Additionally, your problem with clutter might not stem from poor time management skills. I’m not even sure Juliette’s do. I was just guessing based on five words in her e-mail.

    I’ve found the easiest ways to deal with clutter when holding a full-time job is to establish routines. Have you read this post: http://unclutterer.com/2009/01.....fter-work/

    Hopefully it will help!

  13. posted by Keter on

    I second JenO and Lindsay…and I outright ENVY those whose life experience is such that they fail to be able to understand that overwork is epidemic these days, or mistake it for poor time management skills. The Japanese have a word for it, in fact, Karoshi, which means death by overwork. Before death, however, there are a lot of other personal maintenance things that must slide if one is to remain employed. My choice was to quit the death march job. Not everyone can do this.

  14. posted by Jess@minimalistmum on

    @Jude – it must be very difficult to inherit a load of clutter – it’s hard enough dealing with your own…

    However, you are making a choice when you are constitutionally incapable of chucking the lot. You’re saying the value of someone else’s clutter is greater than the value of your time.

    If you don’t want to throw it away, can you donate?

  15. posted by Kari on

    I don’t know if I want to enter this debate but…the vast majority of us work for a living and work long and hard. The choice to declutter is just that–a choice. And the choice to remain decluttered is just that–a choice. No one is saying anything about superiority or ability or anything. We all make our choices and we all have to live with the consequences. Living in clutter–or without–is a choice that has consequences. Each of us can make the call on what works for us. As long as each of us and the beings who live with us are not endangered by their surroundings, it is our choice, and our choice to live with the consequences.

  16. posted by luxcat on

    I feel like JenO just summed up my life in a few short words.

    I also think maybe Lindsay’s post was not so much “outrage” as “exhaustion and frustration”… probably for one or more of the many solid reasons in the original blog post.

    We live a relatively decluttered life but I admit fall far short of my goal (Chris- I wish I had the guts to do what you did! also, DH presents a stumbling block) mostly because I get up, go to work, come home, manage to maybe do dishes or laundry or run an errand, cook something, spend one hour or so reading or watching TV (one must have SOME downtime) and fall into bed, only to repeat the next day. Everything suffers, my health (little time to exercise) my looks (no time to do those extra little things that make women look better) and my relationships (hard when you never see each other because both parties are working insane hours)

    So no, I don’t have many evenings “off” nor do I have weekends “off”… DH and I both often work 6 days a week

    For us, while decluttering is a goal, it is also a luxury. What I also know is the closer we get to that goal the easier it is to keep things functioning around the house.

  17. posted by jbeany on

    I fit more than one category. I was cluttered as a child and a teen for lack of skill and practice, as well as sentimentality. As I became a young adult and started working, it was the time management issue. Then it was a health issue. When my health improved, I did a huge decluttering of most of my sentimental things and also decluttered a lot of basic organization things like paperwork and household goods. For a while, I made it my number 1 priority. Now, I’m back to school and the time crunch that goes with a busy, active life. I’ll see how well my uncluttering holds up in the long run, but so far, I’m doing well. I think if you decide that it’s your priority, even if only temporarily, then you can get it to a point where it becomes much easier to keep up. And while taking a week off work and doing nothing but decluttering sounds like it was a fabulous transformation (Way to go Chris!), a lot of what I did was more of the 15 minutes, one thing a day variety – something very easy to manage even with a busy life.

  18. posted by Angela Alcorn on

    I manage to keep my own clutter under control, but my husband and I have a big problem dealing with his clutter. He faces several of these problems and one you haven’t mentioned:
    – Doesn’t know where to start.
    – Generally lacking in energy.
    – The “might be able to use this one day”
    – Fear of forgetting. Not fear of being forgotten himself, but fear of forgetting his past.

  19. posted by Fiona on

    Great list. This has really helped me pinpoint why I just don’t seem capable of getting rid of specific piles of stuff. Hopefully, I can now assess things and make a new plan of attack. Thanks for uncluttering my head a little, Erin!

  20. posted by Laura on

    Hi Erin,

    Your blog is one I read every day. As a single mother with a full time job and a small apartment, de-cluttering is something I have to work on every day. BUT, it is worth the effort because as you have pointed out many times, it helps me eliminate the “static” so I can enjoy my home and life more. Thanks for your work here!

  21. posted by Cloris on

    This list was helpful.

    Lack of time, energy, and a couple of physical abilities prevents me from tackling my clutter.
    Also, the feeling of “where do I begin?” takes hold.
    And: The weekend is finally here & I have 2 days to destress from the loooong work week. I’d rather take a walk, get some exercise and fresh air, visit friends, than stay home and root through old books and obsess over which ones to donate (see below) , toss (see below) or keep.

    Here are some other stumbling blocks I have:

    The recycling culture: You can’t just toss things out anymore; it has to be in the right way and to the right place. Yes, you can just leave stuff out somewhere for other people to deal with. But that’s not a nice thing to do. Also, what if you don’t have a car to haul the stuff off in?

    The DIY and craft culture: I can’t toss out that vintage fashion calendar; after all, I might be able to decoupage those images onto something that would make a cute gift for someone, sometime….

    The “retro” and “vintage” culture: I can’t toss out that 60s jacket. I just saw someone yesterday wearing one just like it and it looked cool. Maybe I’ll want to wear mine again.

    The “no mas!” culture of some institutions: Some libraries now refuse to accept donations because they have too many old books. Many of them have a big list of books they won’t take (old computer books and textbooks). And others have a “we only accept donations from 10-11 a.m. on Wed. (or fill in some other inconvenient time).

    The eBay culture: I can’t toss out those old Simon and Garfunkle albums. Someone on eBay might pay good money (or some mone) for them!

    My pocketbook: I can’t toss out those old Simon & Garfunkle albums. What if I want to hear “Bleecker Street” someday? I’ll have to pay for it online. But I bought it 30 years ago, so why should I pay for it again? …. I’ll just hang on to the album.

  22. posted by Melissa on

    I kept a lot of clutter for years for several reasons, but I realized my depression fed a lot it. For me, when I become depressed or overwhelmed, I tune out of my environment. I go into my head. I watch TV. I read. I talk walks. So I honestly don’t notice the clutter as much because I am so out of touch with the external world.Right now, the house is really messy because there’s a lot going on in my world and I just don’t want to deal with it. My house becomes a reflection of that. That said, I have, with good success, done better and better over the years. And I plan to do a little decluttering this weekend.

  23. posted by Margaret on

    I have more than half of the stumbling blocks on the list. I will add just plain lazy/procrastinate about the more tedious chores (which are usually worse in my head than in reality). Also, having people working against you (which others have mentioned), which for me usually means that as soon as I actually get something done or get going, something comes up — e.g. the kids manage to flood the bathroom and it takes two hours to clean up because it leaked into the basement too before I noticed.

    Cloris makes some excellent points, which I would summarize as Fear of making the wrong decision (fear of making the wrong decision to get rid of something and fear of picking the wrong method to dispose of something). My house is cluttered and a messy disaster, and they are definitely related. I have actually started making a little progress on it, but it is a huge huge job to deal with. And I give myself permission to make the wrong decision. Am I sending all my stuff to its ideal location? No — it’s pretty much some things go to a donation place that I can get to every couple of weeks or else to the trash. At this point, I’m not even worried about recycing, because the recycling drop off for my area is 25 miles away. I feel a little bad about it, but realistically, I do not at this point have the space or organizational skills or even time to handle setting up and maintaining a recycling station and then actually get things out of the house. I expect that will be something we will do when we are no longer living in chaos (and my kids are old enough to help with it). Not a perfect choice, but it’s what I can do right now.

    As for getting rid of things and then regretting it, well, I have a lot of more serious regrets than that, so I can deal with it as part of life. It might cost me time to replace something, but it costs me time at least once a week when I need some thing or paper and I don’t know where it is and have to search and search and search to find it or go through the replacement process anyway. As for monetary cost, well, there is a monetary cost to the mess we live in as well — replacing things that we just couldn’t find or that we ruined because we aren’t taking care of our things properly right now. Add to that the stress and frustration and embarrassement and fights that arise from the mess, and it starts to look like a few replacements here and there are a small price to pay for getting the house in order.

  24. posted by Jessica on

    Cloris has brought up some good points, and although I don’t have a general decluttering problem, I have thought about a lot of those things when I’m thinking about getting rid of stuff. In fact, I’m holding onto a few things for an appliance and metals recycling drive that only happens twice a year. Fortunately I have space in my basement to hold them, but it is taking up “mental space”. I just want to be done with this stuff but I don’t want to add to the landfill. I also hang onto to things with the idea that I can repurpose them or reuse them in crafty-frugal-environmentally friendly way, but it always feels at odds with my desire to declutter.

    I feel fortunate not to have accumulated too many things at this point in life, so my main goal is clutter prevention. I know I’ll be facing issues of inheritance down the road, so I’m preparing myself to avoid the feelings of guilt.

    And then, of course, there’s the guilt of having problems from “too much” (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) when so many have the opposite problem.

  25. posted by Tom on

    Having just gone through a major decluttering (2400 sq ft to 600 sq ft), I can say: getting rid of stuff takes a lot of time and is expensive. You can’t just throw things out: some things contain personal data (digital cameras, cell phones, etc.). Goodwill etc. are picky about what they take, trash is limited, and junk haulers cost money and time to arrange. Furthermore, once you’re down to reducing clutter in your main living spaces, you have to select carefully what you still need and what you don’t, otherwise you may find yourself having given away all the pants that still fit.

  26. posted by Ramblings of a Woman on

    I find I have several of these issues as stumbling blocks for removing my clutter. Overwork was a major one. Now I am dealing with major depression and anxiety, and currently out on medical leave. It has been threrapeutic to me to begin decluttering. I believe, that at least for some people, our clutter represents the clutter that is in our minds as well, and only once we begin to work on the mind can we begin to clear the physical clutter.
    What I can say is this, once you begin removing ‘stuff’ from your life, it is freeing. It frees up space and time. I am having a family gathering this afternoon and normally I would be panicking becasue of the house. Instead I am sitting here calmly relaxing waiting for them to arrive.

    I appreciate your blog so much, you have such great tips here!
    Thanks!

  27. posted by Jess@minimalistmum on

    For the busy people who really struggle for time and energy to declutter:

    http://minimalistmum.blogspot......-five.html

    This is not a solution to your busy lives. But if you have an hour to read or watch TV, then you have half an hour to declutter and then a half hour left to read or watch TV. You can make a difference in half an hour a day – all the infomercials tell you that!

    Decluttering is downtime (and exercise!) in its own way, and of course pays off the way TV never can.

    If you are only decluttering by reading (or writing) about decluttering, then stop reading for a while and start doing what you already know needs doing. I fall into this trap a lot.

    Now, what do I do when I clear a large space and DH decides he can load up his backlog of retired computers into the clear space :-)

  28. posted by Meg - Minimalist Woman on

    If reading about uncluttering makes someone stressed out or resentful, then why are they reading a blog called “Unclutterer”? Just sayin’.

    One way to deal with the fear of tossing out something which might later be useful is to also streamline your range of acceptable activities. For instance, decide not to do elaborately decorated cakes anymore, then get rid of all the cake decorating supplies. If people stop wanting to be jacks of all trades, they would find they don’t need a lot of stuff.

    But the exhaustion and lack of time because of overwork is all too real. It leads to depression, too, compounding the problem. I personally have found that uncluttering is a good way to take back some control in your life, and it can be incredibly restorative and liberating.

  29. posted by Cloris on

    <<>>

    I don’t recall reading anyone saying they were stressed or resentful because of reading about uncluttering. But if they did say that, I understand it and I won’t invalidate their feelings. Reading about decluttering is a big reminder of the clutter in our lives; another thing on a “to do” list. Even if it takes a while to move from “reading about decluttering” to actually decluttering, that’s okay. It’s a first step, isn’t it?

  30. posted by Marjorie on

    If you’re afraid of being forgotten after you’re gone, leaving a lot of clutter won’t help. Even having children won’t help once they’re gone. The key to immortality?? Have a loan named after you. Leave a small sum of money to your former employer or any large employer to be used for a small loan (one paycheck) that employees can apply for for hardships.) Name the loan after yourself. People will still be talking about you 300 years from now!

  31. posted by deb on

    I’ve fallen into many if not most of those categories at one time or another, and I think that’s true for most people. AND, most people work. I was surprised recently to find that I had only 5 days off this past summer (I’m self employed). Yes, FIVE (please no karoshi comments, I know all about it). Still, I managed to keep on my uncluttering path, as I made it a priority. As it was previously said, if you have time to read this blog or watch a tv program, you have time to unclutter. Actually, I’m reading this now as I wait for a movie to transfer to my ipod that I will hook up to my tv in the bedroom, where I will be uncluttering for the next couple hours.

  32. posted by Cloris on

    Maybe there is another blog somewhere for people who have achieved their decluttering problem and they can crow amongst themselves there.

    People are not all the same; some are old, some have physical ailments; others have mental and emotional ones. Not every job is the same in terms of how draining it is to the person. Some people are older, have arthritis, and yet stand on their feet all day at work. So when they come home at night, maybe they read a decluttering blog for 10 minutes while they eat and rest their tired, aching joints. Others, some who have posted right here, are debilitated by emotional crises. Others have family crises. We all know that our lives would be better if we decluttered. But we have roadblocks we are trying to get over. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  33. posted by JenO on

    I’d just like to second the commenter who is taking small steps toward decluttering. Some people do 15 minutes a day, or choose one thing per day to donate or toss. It might seem like you’d never be able to get through the mess that way, but it’s really surprising how doing one or two very small things on a fairly regular basis can build up. And it works in another way, too: often just getting started is by far the hardest part. Fifteen minutes (or ten, or five!) can lead to more.

    Hang in there, people. At the very least, we know from all these comments that we’re not the only ones who can’t do it all at once.

  34. posted by viola on

    i fit in some of these categories as well, mainly the “overwhelmed” and “i might need it someday” areas. but there’s also another one – being a penny pincher, i’m reluctant to get rid of some things because i don’t want to pay for it again someday (related to the “i might need it” area). i run across this often, but it comes down to a few dollars or quite a few. in the end i just have to brush it off and move on because it’s not worth the worry. it’s still a process though to not be concerned about the dollar – especially in today’s economy. now i watch more of what i spend my money on. i’m more willing to spend it on good food or a good experience – and then i won’t have something to take care of. :)

    side note: i did recently downscale from a 1700 sq ft house with a garage (lots of storage) to a 1100 sq ft apartment with no garage. i’m sooo glad i took the time over the past year to purge. i sold LOTS of “stuff” in a garage sale (while i still had the garage) but am looking forward to downsizing further over the next few years. i’m having a minimal mindset and have considered getting rid of most, if not all, of the decorations that fill the walls and shelves.

    i’m learning that it just takes time to be minimal and that’s ok.

  35. posted by Sara on

    I appreciate Cloris’s comments about the different “cultures” that invade our minds and want to keep us from decluttering. Guilty as charged, on almost every count.

    I also related to the line in the original post about “people who look at objects and think, “I might be able to use this some day.” It stems from a fear that one might not be able to acquire needed items in the future.”
    Yes, again, guilty as charged.

    I’m 8 months pregnant and trying to do some much-needed decluttering, but have very little energy. I try to do short 15 minute bursts, because that’s all I can do right now. It’s hard to be on my feet any longer. I can get a lot done in 15 minutes, though.

    I’ve also asked a dear friend if she could come help me go through and get rid of the stuff. Despite being a single mom with an executive-director level job (and no cleaning service), she has one of the cleanest and most decluttered homes I’ve ever been in (and she has for many, many years). I know she loves me and won’t let me throw away anything really important, but she also loves me enough to tell me what is crap and what I need to get rid of. I’m realizing as I type this that I have so much fear about decluttering that I need to really trust the person helping me.

    I really appreciate this blog – it’s great inspiration to read during my rest breaks in between those 15 minute decluttering bursts!

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