Recently, I wrote a post in which I talked about my grandmother, who we found out, was hoarding items and never decluttering. Discovering this was something of a shock; my grandmother didn’t look like a hoarder. Her home was tidy and clean. But what she had tucked into closets and drawers, boxes and bins shocked us when we were cleaning up her home after she had be moved to long term care due to cognitive impairment. The more I read up on hoarding and decluttering and managing our physical stuff, the more fascinated I was and the more I realized that this topic is ever more vast than I had originally thought. So, I turned that post into a mini-series as there was a lot to cover and share. Because the dangers of never decluttering are real.
Let’s dive in!
How Clutter Affects Our Lives
Clutter is when our homes are untidy, or spaces are filled with objects. Think of when your coffee table gets full of empty mugs, kids toys, remote controls, flyers from the mailbox–this is clutter. Clutter however, can really affect our mental health, especially when we allow it to pile up. Clutter has been found to be connected to stress and low energy. Also, clutter can begin to take up a lot of space which can interfere with your sense of your home as a sanctuary, and even interfere with things you’d like to do in your home, such as hobbies. This is why it’s important to declutter. Too much stuff, or clutter can threaten to overtake your home and live in a calm, efficient, enjoyable way.
These are some ways that clutter can interfere with your mental health:
- you are chronically distracted
- you feel stressed out
- you feel overwhelmed
- you feel challenged when cleaning (ie. vaccumming or dusting)
As you can see, there are a few dangers of never decluttering right here, and the one I want to highlight is that you can’t enjoy your own home.
Decluttering is More than Removing Physical Objects
Often when we think of decluttering, we think of digging through the closet and throwing out clothes we don’t like or that don’t fit. And while this is part of the process, this is not de-cluttering in its entirety. De-cluttering is not just throwing out things. It also means tidying and organizing, and removing things that no longer serve a real purpose in our lives, even items we find sentimental. This is where we often run into problems as we tend to hang onto things for what seem like practical reasons, such as:
- this might be useful one day
- I spent a lot of money on this
- this is special to me
- maybe I’ll wear this again/fit into again
Essentially, we feel that removing the item from our home is wasteful, so we hang onto it, even though it’s far more likely that we’ll never miss that thing if we did remove it from our lives. And so one of the dangers of never decluttering is that we have stuff just for the sake of having stuff.
Can Too Much Clutter Lead to Hoarding?
Possibly. If your living spaces are beginning to be full of so many things that its interfering with your daily living, this is a sign that you may be hoarding. However, it may be that you are simply overwhelmed with the things in your home and frozen in place by the clutter, which is another negative impact of clutter on your mental health. So how do we deal with too much clutter? How can we take back control of our lives in a society that places so much value and emphasis on material items? We need to declutter and do so in a way that is sustainable and just tossing things out to rid them from our home. When you begin to de-clutter, start by doing some reflecting. Ask yourself,
- what is working well in my home and what isn’t?
- is this clutter keeping me from moving forward in my life?
- is this stuff that I’m keeping that doesn’t serve a purpose? Do I want to keep managing it?
- what is causing me to feel overwhelmed?
Figuring out some answers to these questions can go a long way towards helping you declutter in a way that really benefits your mental health, happiness and your home.
How to Begin DeCluttering
It’s perfectly all right to ask for help if this is a task that is too daunting or time consuming to tackle on your own. It’s far easier to ask for help than dealing with the dangers of never decluttering! You could tackle the decluttering of your home Marie Kondo style, or you could simple begin with garbage. Toss out anything broken, that is too old (think make up or such) and from there head over to things you can reduce and recycle. You know, clothes you don’t wear, things that take up too much space or you simply don’t use. From there you can begin with the organization portion of this task.
Organization is the part of the task that is a little more open ended I think. Do you want to organize your wardrobe by season? Really embrace minimalism and reduce your closet to ten items you can mix and match? Do you want keep a collection of books, as in a library? Because remember, it’s your home. It’s meant to bring you joy.
You can also begin practices that help you ensure that your home doesn’t become cluttered again. For instance, do you need to buy multiples of things? Won’t one set of dishes do as well as three? Do you need a fancy sets of dishes for company? My husband and I bought china dishes and we use them daily. We use crystal glasses to drink our wine from. We preferred to buy quality, lovely items and use them daily instead of having a daily set and saving the “nice” set for special occasions.
You can even embrace a new lifestyle, such as hygge, or Feng shi. More on that in another post!
And the most important thing I think to embrace, is to do a bit of a clean up every day. Put away children’s toys at the end of the day, wipe down counters, make your bed every morning, do a quick vacuum, toss out junk mail. A light daily clean can make it easier to keep up with daily chores and make your home more enjoyable for both yourself and guests. I certainly feel a lot better when I’ve cleaned the main living area a little and enjoy my cup of tea much more than when I leave things lying around and am looking at mess and clutter.
Maintain the DeClutter
I think it’s a mistake to think that once we declutter, that it’s done and over with. Things have a way of creeping into our homes. Boxes, things we are gifted, things we buy. Keeping the home clutter free is ongoing task. But we can make it easier by being more conscious about what is coming into our homes. Think about the kind of home you want, and make purchases based on that vision. You might find that sometimes, you don’t make a purchase at all and that’s fine. We’ll talk some more about this in my next post as well.
Share your thoughts below about any other dangers of never decluttering that you know, and be subscribe to the blog to never miss a post.
When I do some decluttering, I definitely feel better within myself mentally and emotionally. I know when I’m struggling (things get a bit untidy — nothing serious though) and it’s good to spend a bit of time sorting things out. I think I lean toward minimalism as I often feel when my husband and I accumulate stuff it really bothers me. ALways good to recycle and donate that unwanted/unused stuff!
Molly Transatlantic Notes recently posted…Blog Tips That Can Overcome Writer’s Block
Right you are! It’s good to let go of the things we don’t need or value! Someone else can always use it.
I’m someone who really can’t live without organization, cleanliness, and lack of clutter! It just drives me nuts if there’s too much invading my space. I love getting rid of things. It’s almost annoying to others in my life haha. So needless to say, this post is right up my alley 😉
Stephanie recently posted…February 2022 New Book Releases
My mom is exactly like you! She’s thrown out my stuff when I was younger, or tided it away never to be found again and she’s still getting flack for it.
I needed to read this! I need to start mainta the declutter. I feel like i aLWays end up having to do a massive one and it’s stressful! Thank you for sharing
Yes, “stuff” is stressful!
Once before we weren’t really careful of what we getting into our house. And things piled up and had so much work to declutter. Great tips!
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Glad you enjoyed it!
I clean houses on occasion when I am housesitting and make it a rule to ONLY clean as it is not a good idea to declutter items without the owner’s input. While cleaning, though, I enjoy noting where clutter is piling up and being surprised at where people will shove things out of the way. It helps me identify little things I May be doing myself so I can come back later and declutter other trivial areas in my house that I previously overlooked.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and how clutter can lead to hoarding and sometimes negatively affect our mental health!
Jaya Avendel recently posted…Oceanic Heart
Haha, yeah I’d never declutter for someone else! But I bet it’s interesting to see what kind of clutter pikes up for sure.
my favourite thing ever is to declutter my room! makes me feel so organised
jessica | http://www.overdressedblogger.com
Love this! I’m a huge hoarder and especiallY mainTaining the focus on decluttering resonates with me. I can declutter quite well, but withIn a monTh my home will be back to chaos, which is super frustrating.
Lisa | Mind and Body Intertwined recently posted…How to protect your authenticity
I’m not sure you are hoarder if you are okay with parting with things, but yes, clutter can pile up.
I struggle with not wanting to throw things away as they hold SentImental value or were expensive. Its a hard mind set to get out of
It is! I guess we have to ask ourselves if the money we spent a few years ago is still valuable in the form of an item we don’t use.
Decluttering is important, and constantly maintaining it goes a long way. Sooner or later, the clutter can become a huge problem. Thank you for sharing this!
I had no idea that clutter was actually connected to stress and low energy. With that said, a spacious clear room definitely makes me feel more at ease!
S.S. Mitchell recently posted…Rebecca Hall Passing Film Review
Yes, bring clutter free feels good!
It definitely makes me feel better to declutter. sometimes It it just hard to get started – always seems like a big project. It is so satisfying when finished though.
Starting can be the hard part for sure, so it’s best to start with a small goal, like one closet. And go from there.
Great tips, we usually start with easy things when decluttering. And I agree we can ask someone for help. Thank you for sharing these amazing tips!
Fransic verso recently posted…How it’s important not to give up on your partner yet
I have a tried and tested technique for decluttering. i invite my friends over 🙂 having people come over puts a fire under my bum and i tidy up!
Carla Corelli recently posted…Depression Room Cleaning: The New Trend on TikTok that boosts our Mental Health
Smart! Sometimes a buddy helps with these tasks for sure.
Great post on the dangers of never decluttering! It’s amazing how clutter can affect our mental health and take up so much space that it interferes with our ability to enjoy our homes. It’s important to remember that decluttering isn’t just about throwing things away; it’s also about organizing and removing things that no longer serve a purpose. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, and tackling the task in manageable steps can be very effective. Overall, this post provides some great tips on how to begin decluttering and maintain a clutter-free home.
Seth Parent recently posted…How long does a Toronto roof last?
Thank you! You have great points 😃