Why do we keep clutter

Why do we keep clutter? (And how to get rid of it)

Either you or someone you know hangs onto things they don’t use and will probably never use. Somehow they can’t seem to let these things go. Why do we keep clutter? How can we make a positive change?

It feels good to always have what you need. For example, you might need something, like a special tool for building furniture. However, furniture that needs the tool, comes with it. So you don’t need to keep it for future projects. Keeping tools you may need someday adds to clutter and takes up storage space that could house something more important.

Keepsakes, old gifts and other sentimental objects can clutter your shelves. If the object isn’t something you use, like a sewing machine that hasn’t been touched since 1987, you no longer need it. 

Thinking about the future is difficult so you want to be as prepared as possible. Put limits on what you can reasonably store and consider what you can let go.

People get stuck, they don’t know how to get rid of everything that needs to go. They can feel overwhelmed or that the clutter is so out of control that they don’t know where to start. That’s when a professional organizer can be a big help.

There’s the old adage of not wasting things you paid good money to get. That’s fine, and you don’t want to waste money. Although, if you bought something years ago and it is doing nothing but taking up space, it’s better to get rid of it.

A study by social scientists at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) found that the women who think their homes are cluttered often: “Are less happy with their marriages. Have unhealthy patterns of the stress hormone cortisol. Have difficulty managing every day tasks. Feel ineffectual. Have a harder time transitioning from work to home. Get increasingly depressed throughout the day. Have greater fatigue in the evenings.”

Holding onto things just because you want to appreciate, enjoy or ruminate in the accompanying memories is fine. Limiting the number of things and just keeping those that are most special will bring you more joy and less anxiety.

Of course, you don’t have to get rid of everything. And you don’t have to do it all at one time. Consider if and when you will use these cluttering items again. If clutter is blocking your happiness, why not let it go? I’m here to help if you need it.

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