The Clutter Creep and Why We Allow It to Happen

Creating Peaceful Organized Homes in 2014 - The Clutter Creep and Why We Allow It to Happen

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Clutter suffocates.

If we aren’t on guard, clutter has a way of sneaking up on us to the point that we are overwhelmed and suffocating from the weight of it all making it impossible to relax in our own homes.

If you can’t relax in your own home, I don’t know where you can (well except maybe by the ocean with the sun shining down..ha!).

The clutter creep, as I like to call it, is real.  It starts with a piece of paper on the counter, for instance, that then attracts another piece of paper and then another.  Soon we have a big pile of papers waiting for attention.  Those piles then attract more piles and on and on the cycle goes until eventually we have clutter everywhere we look.  It is suffocating and prevents us from living in the peaceful organized homes that we so desire.  Clutter is anything but peaceful that is for sure.

But here’s the kicker.  Are you ready for some tough love?

We allow it to happen.

Why in the world are we giving so much power to our STUFF?

Why do we allow it to take over our homes to the point we are constantly complaining about how small they are?  Why do we allow it to create a less than peaceful environment in our homes so it interrupts sleep and keeps us awake at night?  Why do allow our children so many toys that it’s impossible for them to keep their own spaces tidy?

The Clutter Creep and why we allow it to happen

Why?  Why?  Why?  Because too much clutter, or stuff in excess of what we have the room to store, requires us to make decisions.  Decisions about stuff can be hard and so we procrastinate making them hoping that a basket here or there to shove it all into will someone miraculously make it all better.  Eventually though if we don’t deal with the magnitude of it, even the baskets and bins will suffocate you as they take over a space.  All this stuff we think we have to have or might need one day becomes the stuff that keeps us from living the kind of peaceful organized life we could be living TODAY.

Let me give you an example.  My sister moved this year to a new house and in order to stage her old home, to put it on the market for sale, had to box up half her stuff in a pod that came and temporarily took it all away including about 80% of her kid’s toys. Well it ended up taking much longer to sell their home than they originally had anticipated but an interesting thing happened during the time they lived with less.

They didn’t miss their stuff the way they thought they would.  In fact the kids played better with the fewer toys they had because, with fewer choices to make, it was less overwhelming for them.  Clean up was also easier to manage daily.  It allowed their tiny home room to breathe.

When your home can breathe, so do the people in it.

I am constantly purging things in my house.  I have my donation station in my linen closet and every day I add to it and weekly I bring the contents of it to the thrift store.  Purging shouldn’t be something left for a spring cleaning activity.  Purging should be a regular occurrence that we utilize for DAILY clutter creep decision making.

Start small by making a decision between two things…one can stay and one can go.  Which one will it be?  I don’t live in a cluttered home however I am so into the habit of purging that I can always find something that can go.  Always.

Training yourself to practice daily decisions, purging until it fits and being careful about what you bring into the home in the first place, will quickly allow you to reap the rewards of a less cluttered home that you can relax and feel at peace in.

Try it and banish clutter creep once and for all.  Let me know how you make out!

Ahhh! Home.

PS:  I realize that laziness may also be a factor in the clutter creep taking over some homes but for the purposes of this post I’m focusing on those that have a desire to make a change and something tells me you wouldn’t be reading this post in the first place if you didn’t. 🙂

Filed under: Clutter Control, Purging, Simplicity


13 Responses to The Clutter Creep and Why We Allow It to Happen

  1. 1
    dannyscotland says

    You are so right on with this post. When I lived alone, though, it was so much easier to deal with clutter. When it got to be too much, I was a madwoman cleaning and decluttering. Now that I have a husband who is a severe pack rat, it feels like a losing battle. I would love to see some tips on dealing with family members who are extremely resistant (often to the point of flat out refusing) to participating in household cleanup attempts. Thanks so much for this great post.

    • 1.1
      Nimil says

      i would also love to see a post on dealing with family who are resistant to organization! my husband clutters everything and does not want to try and organize!

  2. 2
    Susanne says

    It’s so true. It only happens because we allow it. I am constantly fighting the battle of letting busyness or laziness to get in the way of dealing with my paper clutter. But the stuff breeds when I leave it for “later”!

  3. 3
    Homeschoolonadimemom says

    We went through a similar thing this past year. Moved to somewhere WAY smaller. The kid’s toys weren’t missed at all. I not only found nightly clean-up chores to be easier, I feel like they use their imaginations much more. They’ve been quite entertaining with their flow of creativity.

  4. 4
    Dianna says

    I totally agree. A week ago I had it and decided it was time to clean out and unclutter. Since I have started I feel good. I feel refreshed. I am able to start displaying things artfully in my home like I have never been able to do before. I love this feeling and am working my way through each room of my home. 🙂 It’s such a rewarding feeling to know my house and stuff doesn’t have power over me.

  5. 5
    Rebecca says

    I love clean empty spaces! My family seems to think of clean empty spaces as in invitation to pile something there. I find that if I clear a space on top of a piece of furniture I will have to get rid of the furniture in order to keep it clean. So my strategy is that the fewer places we have to set things down the better. That way when we get new things there are no shelves available and we have to make room for the new item by getting rid of something else.

  6. 6
    Teresa says

    Thank you! These posts help me SO much! I just went through boxes of stuff I’ve had packed away for 30 years – since High School…I don’t need it…I didn’t miss it…it has no value…THROW IT! I went through my son’s books and decided to bless some others…one friend got an awesome book for her baby and was thrilled. Others were donated to the church library. Although one lady suggested that I save them for grandkids…my kiddo is NINE!! I am NOT saving ANYTHING for grandkids…I want to enjoy my home and my space NOW. Thank you!!

  7. 8
    SimpLeigh Organized says

    This post came right on time! I love your idea of a daily purge. I usually purge every couple of months, but it’s a super idea to purge something right away when you know you don’t want/need it anymore. I loved reading this post so much I featured it on my Favorite Blogs of the Week. You can visit the post here:
    Have a great day!

  8. 9
    sherrie says

    . I prefer sorting out at my own pace. Sometimes i can go months no outgoing stuff but other times I really get in the mood. Like now I have a Walmart bag and a half plus a cheap plastic craft drawers(its like the flat pack plastic thing that you assemble) that is in the car ready to head to helping hands and I have another bag filling up now. And mom and I will be going through this big box of stuff in my room and I already have a 3 shelf bookcase purchased and that’ll go where the box is. Plus I have a set of sterelite drawers that I got that can go on the bookcase plus I think I have a few other small sets walking around I can use. And yes I needed a three shelf and not a 5 shelf with more storage capacity since I already have a 5 shelf that’s well established in my room

    When that’s through, I can clear off my bed so I can eventually get rid of it so I can put a rug down and a desk. I figured if I prefer sleeping on the couch so I can use the DVR(I’ve slept in my room less then a dozen times in 14 months), I can move out the bed and put in a desk that I can use.

    Sometimes getting excess items can really pay off. Like yesterday I scored a set of drawers for 5 bucks. I had zero ideas what I wanted to do with it but I couldnt pass on that deal! About 24 hours pass and I realized that once it finishes drying, I now know what I can use it for.

    About the only excess I’m doing is for extra plastic containers that I know I can use. There’s 2 styles of plastic cointainers and plastic baskets that I’m almost always running short on in my Lego collection. One day, for example, I got 2 of the 2 pack sure fresh dollar tree containers that I had no clue what I’d use them for. By that night, both packs were used up!

    Ive also been reading this blog, the I heart organizing blog, and simply organized to get some really great ideas.

    • 9.1
      sherrie says

      OK, correction to my statement. The box has been sorted out and the space is ready for bookshelf assembly, its now about 2.5 walmaet bags, the cheap drawers, a now empty duplo tub(i have a small duplo collection along with Lego system), and a tackle box in the to go pile. And the 5 buck drawer unit and the 3 drawer unit I got are now in use.

      Even got a bonus out of this. I emptied out another that also had duplo in it and i already found a use for the container. I have a small zoobles collection and it falls into the category of “I’m not actively collecting them anymore but I don’t want to part with them”. I put in the 5 individuals I got at dollar tree into the container but I haven’t had a chance to get the others out yet.

  9. 10
    Terry Matlen, ACSW says

    One thing to consider- many people who have a difficult time de-cluttering and organizing their homes, etc, have ADHD. That isn’t an excuse for letting things get out of hand, but it does offer an explanation as to why it is SO DIFFICULT to keep things under control.

    Terry Matlen, ACSW
    Author, “The Queen of Distraction”

  10. 11
    Mary says

    oh I can so relate. I love to purge but I don’t have what comes in under control. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will definitely work on that


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