The Burden of Clutter

When you grow up surrounded by ‘stuff’ you develop a complicated and personal relationship to words like ‘clutter’, ‘organized’, and ‘storage’.  

I can’t say my parents did anything wrong by filling the home and keeping all these possessions, but it was a source of stress for me. Into my adult life, it still stresses me. I feel burdened by things.

So I try to purge things.

But it can be really hard.(Code, I have kinda sucked at it)

And I start to see how easy it can be to accumulate.

How the purging thought-process is full of little sticky spots that stop your flow and divert you to another project.

How the eye can just start to glance over what it doesn’t want to see.

How piles can be overwhelming to organize so they are plunked into boxes, shoved into closets, forgotten about but not released from ownership. Not dealt with.

And the physical burden of my things just sits and waits for me.

There is also the companion to this ‘stuff’, the weight of mental burden. Knowing it is there and not dealt with. Like all the little piles of clutter in my heart I don’t attend to.

I don’t think ‘stuff’ is bad, but when it isn’t something you love, or use, or find beautiful, it is a proverbial squatter in your space…..


The Burden of Clutter/Things/Stuff

It takes up usable space for living.

Space that the family could use for a purpose, for living, rather than storage. I can’t count how many times I thought I should go downstairs and play the piano, or finally thread the sewing machine, or let the kids make a mess in a whole other room. I can’t though because the basement has been a holding pen of crap I need to deal with.


It is just more to clean up, clean around.

I know this is true especially as I’ve purged the kitchen, my bathroom, my closet, our bedrooms and over half the kid’s toys. Still, there is mess. though I have found that having that much less means that much less to clean up.


It competes for attention

Distracting from all of the beautiful things I do love in my home. I’ve put energy and money into creating a home that I feel is reflective of our family and welcoming to those who enter. But that hard work can be futile when that beauty is lost to the mess around it.


It gives me false hope in storage solutions

I operate under the assumption that I need all the storage! all the closets! When I could truly just live with less of this stuff.


It muddles who I portray to be.

When I own a sewing machine and all the stuff it needs for use, I am identifying myself as a ‘person who sews’. Just like owning craft supplies, shoes, kitchen appliances. We marry the possession of these items with our identity and letting go of those things means letting go of that ‘part’ of who we are trying to be. Instead, I can just say, ‘I like it, but that’s not what I can be doing, or who I am, at this point in time’.

It is all a distraction to some degree, the way a rock sits in my shoe. Eventually, it makes me wonder if I’m in control of my stuff, or if it is in control of me.


I know ‘minimalism‘ isn’t for everyone. I know this journey to less stuff will take a long time.  But these small little mutterings deep down when I am facing a room of clutter are important to talk about. Because they can hold me back or spur me on.


Read more about simplifying your home, on the Simplify Your Home Page

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