Exercise: Sit in a relaxed position. Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Visualize a space in your home. Are you able to visualize every item you use on a regular basis? Can you see where they are? If you can’t maybe you can benefit from reading this article.

Clutter overloads your senses, creating stress, making you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, isolated, ashamed, depressed and prevent your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. It also decreases your performance due to these distractions.

Clutter Defined:

  • A collection of things lying about in a disordered manner.
  • Items that don’t belong in the space, don’t have a permanent “home”, you don’t use them, they are broken, they don’t add value to your life.
  • Stuff you are storing for someone else.
  • Things that don’t fit in the space.
  • Items that prevent you from using the space for its intended purpose.
  • Objects that break the natural flow of the space.
  • Items that bug you or are meaningless to you.
  • Stuff that take away your time from doing meaningful things (distractions).
  • Anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy, or space and destroys our serenity. “Clutterers Anonymous”

“When you understand what drives you, what truly motivates you, you are then able to create an environment that facilitates your goals. It frees up space so the new you can step in. There is purpose in how you live” – Lanna Nakone, Organizing for your brain type.

Clutter can also be a constant reminder of unfinished projects. Projects that you need to find time to finish and maybe projects that are not relevant to you anymore. Things start piling up over time and it becomes more and more difficult to get started.

Types and Causes of Clutter

There are many different kinds of clutter: physical, social, mental, emotional, financial, digital… just to name a few.

Everybody can be a victim of it. It can be a result of:

  • Lack of time; too many projects on the go, tasks or commitments.
  • Storing items for someone else.
  • Unbalanced lifestyle (working too many hours, traveling too much)
  • Big life event (divorce, move, job change, new baby) and not enough time to adjust.
  • Lack of systems to keep things organized. Not having “homes” for every item.
  • Living with others and not finding a balance.
  • Bringing too many items home and not having the space to store them.

Clutter can cost you:

  • Money (buying duplicates, late fees)
  • Time (looking for items, longer time to clean and maintain)
  • Isolation (feeling ashamed to invite people over)
  • Mental health (stress, frustration, depression, anxiety, family conflict, relationships)
  • Accidents (fire, tripping hazard)

Before bringing items home ask yourself: “Can I afford this? Can I afford the money, time, space, and energy that this item will require?”

It's Okay to Say No

Learn how to say no to items you don’t need. Don’t accept items from family members or friends unless they bring value into your life and you have space, time and energy to deal with them. You are working very hard to conquer the clutter in your life. Ask your loved ones to respect your decision and to support you.

Tool: People have very different ideas about what it means to have a cluttered home. The Image Clutter Rating will help you get an accurate sense of a clutter problem.

If you can relate to this article and are looking for change in your life, congratulations! Having the “right mindset” is the first and most important step. The rest is just a matter of time.

Content Credit:
Emilio and Samantha are POC Cyber Chapter members
excerpted from KW Professional Organizers Blogpost