Tips On Getting Organized

The Reasons We Clutter…

Submitted By: Juli Shulem

Juli Shulem is the author of Home Based Business Mom: A Practical Guide to Time Management for the Working Woman (Newhoff Publishing)


For many, hoarding clutter is a way of life. While this is not typically the initial desire, things just end up becoming this way. As a Professional Organizer of twenty-one years, I get to see more than my share of clutter in this world and have the opportunity to assist others to get rid of theirs.

I have outlined four main reasons people generally have cluttered environments. You may identify with one or several of these areas, so I have included some ways to help combat the issue.

Why we Clutter:

  • Fear of never being able to get something again: Most people who have this fear have had it since childhood and are afraid that their “things” will be taken away. Sometimes they didn’t have much as a child and are afraid that they will not get these things again. This is also referred to as the “Depression Era Mentality” where people who grew up during that time may have had very little and their material goods were indeed valuable to them in a way unlike today. When an item is useless and the decision to throw it away is made, it is important to understand that almost everything can be found again. Since our world is filled with so many items and such efficient ways of getting almost anything. it is unlikely that we would be truly unable to get something again should the need arise.
  • Inability to make a decision of whether it is still needed: Many times the inability to make a decision about keeping or discarding an item can be overwhelming to some. It can be learned though. It is like a muscle and with regular exercise, the decision-making “muscle” can become stronger and easier to use. I have some questions from my book “Home-Based Business Mom” which help guide one through that decision making process to determine if something can be discarded:
  • Do you like it? While this may seem obvious, many times we need to literally ask ourselves if we even LIKE the item in question.
  • Will you realistically use it again?
  • Have you ever used it? (If not, you can probably safely get rid of it)
  • Have you forgotten what it does or that you even still had it?
  • Do you own another better one?
  • Is it old, ugly, not working, out of style, out of date, or inefficient?
  • If you throw it out and need another, can you get it again? (If yes, you don’t need to hold onto it)
  • Has it been over a year since you have used it? (For most items, if you have made it through all four seasons and haven’t needed it, chances are you just don’t need it.)
  •  Does it make you feel bad, ugly, stupid, or guilty? (Now that’s a great thing to hold onto; really builds self-esteem!) Often we realize that something we have is no longer useful, but we either spent a lot of money on it, it was given as a gift, or it once served a purpose, and we feel guilty getting rid of it. Actually, holding onto it just keeps bringing back the negative feelings associated with it and thus prolongs the agony; just get rid of it.
  • Not asking, “What will I actually DO with this?” at the time you are considering making a purchase. Stop the “cluttering” before it even gets started! Don’t buy things without some real purpose in mind. Getting something because it is on sale, or you were “out shopping” is not a good enough reason to buy it. Ask yourself what you need it for and if you can’t come up with a good enough reason, don’t bother getting it in the first place. Your home will thank you.
  • Not having enough space for everything to have a “home” and keeping it anyway. One general rule of thumb to apply is that everything needs to have a home. If something doesn’t have a place to be “put away” then either create a place, or don’t keep the object. It’s really that simple. If you don’t do this, it is a guarantee that it will be tucked under something, lost behind something and otherwise rendered useless and it will become lost among items it has nothing in common with (therefore you won’t logically think to look there to find it again) or forgotten. Then you will waste time looking for it in places it shouldn’t be, and if you don’t find it, you will most likely end up buying another one!

Clutter can take control with even the best intentions, so spend time regularly to purge through areas of your home/work so it doesn’t get out of hand. It also takes far less time to do this periodically versus waiting until the issue turns into a major problem. Take little bits at a time – do small time increments versus tackling an entire room – you will have much more success and be inclined to go back to it at a later date.

Leave a Comment

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design