Organize & Clean

The Biggest Reason You’re Still Drowning in Clutter (And What to Do About It)

published Jun 16, 2015
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(Image credit: Kathryn Bacalis)

Do you regularly put in real, genuine effort to declutter your home, but still find yourself being overwhelmed by all the stuff? Do you ever wonder where it all comes from? There could be one thing that you’re doing that’s keeping the clutter levels high; see if it’s something you can eliminate from your life to help eliminate your clutter.

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You’re hoping you’ll use something again

In other words, you’re keeping things just in case.

Yes, it’s hope getting in the way of you really digging into that minimalist lifestyle you dream of. Hope in many ways is a good thing — but when it comes attached to objects around your house you can’t seem to shake, it can turn into a clutter crutch.

Maybe you’ll be able to fit into your high school jeans again. Perhaps you’ll finally find time to practice that flute you played in middle school. Maybe you will actually use that table that’s been sitting ignored in a corner for months and months. And on and on and on.

Though it might seem scary to get rid of something you haven’t used in ages because of the very real possibility of needing it (or wanting it) again some day, you getting rid of something you never use now doesn’t mean the world is being annihilated of that type of object. If the need arises in the future, you can borrow or buy in the future if you do end up needing it. Isn’t that a little better than stuff piling up around you? Stuff you hope you’ll use, but that you aren’t actually using now (nor the near future)?

So what can you do if it’s hope that’s keeping you surrounded by objects you don’t currently need but you hope you’ll find a use for? Well you want to apply the same sort of decluttering advice as we usually dispense around here: Declutter systematically and often. But if you’re the kind of person who hinges on hope, listen to your answers when you ask yourself if you really need objects in your home. If “someday” “maybe” “could” “might” and other such future-sounding words tend to accompany the reason why you need to hold on to an object you haven’t used in years, then it might be time to let go.

Does this idea apply to you…and is it perhaps what’s behind clutter’s hold on your home?

(Also, for the record, we actually think the photo used in this post is quite lovely even though we used it to illustrate the idea of clutter)

Re-edited from a post originally published 6.16.15-NT