Why We Clutter and What to Do About It

by Simplify

It’s time to examine why we have clutter and what to do about it. There are so many factors contributing to our clutter. It’s helpful to understand why we accumulate clutter to begin with in order to get to the root of the problem.

The number one reason for clutter is fear. Strange as this sounds, so many of our bad habits are rooted in fear. Mounds of clutter can become like a shell of protection offering false security.

One type of fear that contributes to clutter is fear of the future. We think, ‘better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.’ We end up over-preparing for the future like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter. The issue is, the result of this mentality is unopened products and clothes you never wear taking up valuable space in your home.

Another type of fear causing clutter is fear of the past. This is particularly hard for people who are overly sentimental. We feel like getting rid of our old stuff will cause us to lose parts of ourselves and our past. We’re afraid of forgetting the past. Remember, the past still exists with or without that belonging.

Why we clutter and what to do about it

Fear of judgment of what other people think is another thing that makes it hard to declutter. This fear usually applies to gifts and comes in the form of obligation or guilt. It’s tricky because it’s dressed up as something nice. It feels like the right thing to do to hold on to things not to hurt someone else.

Our fear and excuses position us to be a victim of our clutter. We must understand and confront our fears to make progress. Decluttering can be an emotional process, but the results are well worth the work.

Why we clutter and what to do about it

For more decluttering tips, discover these decluttering mistakes to avoid in 2023 or these 10 ways to streamline your home and get rid of clutter.

To see more videos, check out the Mia Danielle YouTube channel.

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5 of 10 comments
  • Sharon reich Sharon reich on Feb 15, 2023

    Thank you for giving me a new set of eyes.

    I have stopped letting people come to our house because we have accumulated so much stuff. I feel the walls closing in.

    I also have a bad back that limits my ability. Then there’s depression.

    My mom died suddenly, October 24, 2021. Not been sick, mowed 2 acres the day before and active.

    I have things of my mom’s that are still sitting in the same box and same place we set it down a year ago. I don’t go in that room. I don’t touch it. I want to hold onto as many thing’s possible so I don’t lose that part of her. 😢 Now tears.

    ***I think I’m realizing things typing out that I didn’t realize before.

    Our house burned in 2013 and literally my husband had a storage of burnt furniture and things. Couldn’t let go. We lost a lot and it was really really hard to go thru. I didnt complain.

    • See 1 previous
    • Sandra Durham Sandra Durham on Feb 17, 2023

      Thank you ladies for sharing and sincere sympathy for your losses. I have my share of clutter too. At 70, I have learned a lot about decluttering from three young women on YouTube, Minimal Mom, a Slob Comes Clean and Clutterbug. Each has a different approach with same results, getting unused stuff out of your house. Start with easy stuff, save sentimental stuff till later. I love the black trash bag therapy! I now fill up one bag every week. It feels so good getting it to curb on trash day! Even though it's only the first step, it helps keep my momentum going.

  • Kfe20700365 Kfe20700365 on Feb 15, 2023

    I have so much stuff that I can’t bring myself to part with. I clear out my closet 4 times a year and it is neat and color coordinated. My problem is that I have inherited beautiful china, crystal and porcelain from my mother (she passed in 1970) and I cannot part with it. Before Covid, I used it when I entertained. But now it sits unused. I imagine when I die it will end up in a yard sale😞. That thought really makes me sad.

    • Oxl13026487 Oxl13026487 on Feb 15, 2023

      Kfe20700365. If you have daughters or other relatives that you can give some of the china , crystal and porcelain. Or maybe some kind of museum that displays it.