THIS is Why You Have So Much Clutter (The Bad, The Ugly, & The Truth)

minimalism Nov 08, 2023
THIS is Why You Have So Much Clutter (The Bad, The Ugly, & The Truth)

Something that irritates me beyond belief is when a person acts defeated prematurely.

Here’s a small example. I love Matt to death, but if he looks for something for more than 30 seconds and can’t find it, he gets this look on his face... one that says, “Well, I guess that’s it. This thing is just lost forever!”

Tweezers, fingernail clippers, anything.

Of course, that’s a tiny thing that hasn’t made a dent in our relationship, but it’s a general pet peeve of mine. To me, there are solutions and alternatives, but defeat is never acceptable. 

I have a history of depression, so I know what it's like to have your brain telling you everything sucks. But even during bouts of depression, my internal dialogue has always been something like this:

Ok, I’m going to sleep for a long time and not socialize with anyone for about a week. Then, this will blow over, and I’m gonna problem solve.” 

Luckily I haven’t had to deal with that in a long time, but I’ve been there enough to understand it.

Accepting defeat may be why you have so much clutter

So many people accept defeat- in their homes, schedules, and how they live and enjoy life. If you're wondering why you have so much clutter in the first place, this is a good place to start.

Do you ever wish you had someone else’s life? Or a different life? Do you talk about a future time when you’ll be happy, organized, or at peace?

People make excuses like “I’m just so busy,” “I suck at time management,” “being organized isn't in my nature,” or “I have a big family.”

Excuses are not solutions; excuses are sugar-coated defeat.

No matter how cute they sound - clutter bug. And let’s be honest; everybody has this on some level. We all have similar struggles but on different levels.

Are you a victimhood chic clutter collector?

'Victimhood chic' is a phrase I borrowed from Mark Manson because it’s awesome.

Our excuses, at least in our minds, place us as victims- of our upbringing (like natural traits or faults that can't be helped), super-special circumstances, or of everyone else. 

Some use others, like a partner or kids, as scapegoats.

Of course, I don't deny how our upbringing and natural traits affect how we live and tend to our environments- especially our clutter. They certainly do.

Even so, we can ALL create a life we love and change most things we don’t love.

Sure, some people may need to try harder to overcome their emotional ties to stuff or the habit of boredom shopping; we all have our struggles. 

Struggle does not equal defeat.

While this may seem harsh, it’s great news! It means you have the ability to 100% create the space and life that supports you and makes you happy.

Everything is "figureoutable."

It’s like entrepreneur extraordinaire, Marie Forleo, says: “Everything is figureoutable.” figureoutable.

If you want to figure out why you have so much clutter and live a life you love with space, rest, peace, and can. For example, If you spend a little time deciding what you truly want out of your life, you’ll figure out what you can cut from your schedule or your space to make that happen.

This is true regardless of the obstacles, inherited difficulties, or mess of a schedule you’ve become accustomed to living with.

The hangup for most people is their minds.

The number one reason for chaotic spaces is our core beliefs about our belongings, environment, what we deserve, and our capabilities.

If you feel stuck in these clutter blocks, I recommend you check out this other article on Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Around Clutter.

But I’m afraid...

When someone lives with large amounts of clutter, it’s almost always the result of fear. I've spoken to many people who want to change their clutter situation.

Some have even told me they wish it would all burn down so they would be forced to start fresh. Why would anyone feel this way if they could just get rid of the stuff?

Recently, the trend of messages I've received has been something like "I know, but I can't." They know that they need to let go of things and create a more supportive space, but it feels totally unrealistic and impossible to do.

It's not a matter of the clutter being too difficult or resistant; the resistance is all internal.

Clutter offers false security.

You may not see it this way, but the mounds of clutter are like a shell of protection offering false security. I think, on some level, everyone can relate to this. We all have something that strikes an emotional chord, brings on a fond memory, or makes us feel secure and cozy.

There's nothing inherently wrong with having sentimental items; keeping your mother’s favorite quilt or the first valentine your husband gave you is not bad. It's like eating a candy bar- nothing wrong with that...but what about 15 candy bars? 30? 50?

At some point, comfort turns into sabotage. Research has shown many psychological effects of clutter.

Typically these clutter-specific fears responsible for why you have so much clutter are in one of 2 areas - fear of the future or the past. 

If you’re holding onto things you never use because you might need them someday (or worse, you believe your kids might), then you’re buffering your fear of the future with false security.

And if you’re hoarding all of your children’s toys because it pains you to think of throwing away the memories, then you’re likely afraid of letting go of the past.

Memories don’t have to be tangible, especially not in today's digital age.

I have a masterclass that breaks down moving beyond thoughts and emotions to achieve holistic, clutter-free spaces.

Fear makes you an information hoarder.

Because people are afraid to do the hard task of letting go- they instead settle for what feels productive, something I call "information hoarding," collecting every decluttering checklist and organizing hack on the internet but never taking action on any of them.

Hoping the mounds of information will inspire them to take action and magically solve the problem, following multiple teachings but putting none into practice. Trying to inspire themselves beyond fear.

If this is you, don't feel bad, It’s human nature. We all tend to rely on outside motivation and inspiration way more than we should.

But as you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t solve the problem. The clutter is still there even though you’ve read the popular books and subscribed to a million blogs or YouTube channels offering the top 10 tips.

So, at the end of the day, what IS the answer? Just give up and feel bad about yourself? No, it’s pretty simple, and you already know what it is.

Just do it, afraid.

That's not to say that you can't start small, you can find bubbles of time to declutter organically and slowly, but it still requires a certain level of discomfort. Growth never comes from being comfortable.

It's scary knowing that you CAN live the exact life you want if you only commit to taking some small actions afraid.


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