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Psychologyisms: The Many Ways Clutter is Bad for You

Updated on July 9, 2011

Stuff and What it Does to Us

Stuff... Some of us have too much clutter in our homes, at our work, in our car, in our computer files, our emails, in our relationships, and even on our mind. Clutter interferes in our lives in many ways. We waste time looking for things we can’t find. We waste money buying more stuff we don’t need. Clutter makes our environment look sloppy and may hamper our social life, and causes stress in our lives. People who clutter usually have unmet spiritual and emotional needs. It can be exhausting to keep up with the unnecessary items collected, overabundance of reading material, junk mail and other papers. Clutter causes inefficiency and unproductive time management. Cluttering can cause unhealthy relationships. Cluttering perpetuates the cycle of unfulfilled needs by creating obstacles to the very things the person needs and desires. It is a counter productive activity that yields much dissatisfaction for those who engage in it.

Clutter invades our homes
Clutter invades our homes

A Simple Life

In contrast, organizing your time, home, car and workplace will give you more time to do the things you enjoy doing and provide a somewhat less stressful lifestyle. Stuff gets in the way of having a simple life. The real cost of accumulating stuff is in the anxiety and unhappiness thatis attached to the clutter. There is great pleasure in thriving on simple joys. Often we need to slow down and stop in our tracks to change the status quo. Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher said “ When we have only a little we should be satisfied; for this reason, that those best enjoy abundance who are contented with the least.” “ Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”

Do You Clutter?

A simple life, an uncluttered environment helps us have a greater clarity in the things we do. When our minds are clear, new ideas can come about and change our world.

A person who clutters can have more things than they have a place for. If having people over your home causes you embarrassment because your place looks unpresentable, you may have a cluttering problem. If you don’t put things away, or if parts of your house are unusable, you may have a cluttering problem. If you clutter up your desk and workplace, your car, your computer, and even your relationships, cluttering may be a problem for you. If you have trouble throwing things out, cluttering may be an issue for you. If you have to rent storage space to keep your extra stuff, because there is no place in your home, you may be a clutterer. If it seems overwhelming for you to clean and organize your place, cluttering may be a problem for you. If your home is filled with old magazines and newspapers, you may be a clutterer. If you find yourself overly attached to your possessions, cluttering may be a problem for you. If you hold onto to items you no longer need, you may be a person who clutters.

Clutter Interferes in Many Ways

People who clutter may buy things without thinking about where they will put it when they bring it home. People who clutter may suffer from a form of perfectionism. They feel as though they need to accomplish it perfectly. Fear of not doing it perfectly creates procastination. A person’s own thoughts continually perpetuates the situation, which causes more delays in correcting the clutter situation.

The real question is, what does cluttering do for you? How does it make you feel?
An important thing to understand is that cluttering is a common problem. You are not alone.
Cluttering interferes in our lives in many ways. Stuff gets in our way, takes over our lives and our lifestyle, and sucks out our energy and our time. It takes away from our meaning and purpose in life, and detracts from our relationships and our social life. Clutter can be destructive and bring negativity into our life. It causes us to lose ourselves. When we lose ourselves, we may not know what we want or how to fill our own needs. We may then, aimlessly try to fulfill ourselves by collecting more stuff.

Clutter Keeps Us Stuck in the Past

Clutter affects our behavior, our emotional well being, our physical environment and our spiritual well being. People who clutter may feel a sense of emptiness and try to compensate this feeling by filling their environment with stuff. It all leads to dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment. People who clutter need a productive way to heal from their emotional pain. No one will give up cluttering unless they have another way to find fulfillment in their lives.

Clutter keeps us stuck in our past. It puts limits on ourselves, and holds us back.

Set yourself free by realizing what you are doing to yourself. It is not easy to learn new habits, and let go of a false belief that we need the clutter. But with each step, with each item we rid of ourselves of, with each new message we can learn new and better productive patterns.

Explore a Better Way

You can expect something better of yourself. You can believe in something more for you. You can envision a freer you and a greater sense of self awareness. You can move forward. Leave the clutter on the curb. Let yourself heal and grow.

Now take the positive steps to de-clutter your . You may just discover a newer sense of happiness. Let yourself explore new habits and new patterns of thinking. In future articles we will discuss ways to let the clutter go and learn how to grow through positive actions.


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Nice to meet you, toknowinfo. GREAT read. VERY-well written--honest, clean, to the point. I LOVED it. Voted up and away! And you almost had me. Years back, I WAS a clutterholic. Didn't throw a single thing away. Then it hit me. Did I really NEED all of these 'things?' NO! And tha went for my mind as well--no cluttering, dwelling on what negatie words some narrow-minded person has tried to cut me with. NO. You are talking my language, but I am a bit of a neat freak....NOT bad, just like cleanliness. NOT perfection. Just have a big problem with filth. And I am so glad to have met you. May I, with your permission, be a fan and a follower? I would like that very much. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery, from a rural town, Hamilton, in northwest Alabama that is akin to the sweet little town, Mayberry, on the Andy Griffith Show. Peace and Peace of mind to YOU!

    • graceomalley profile image


      6 years ago

      Somebody once said that getting rid of clutter gives the same satisfation as getting something new, and i've found that is very true. Plus it's way cheaper.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Wow! I needed to read that today. Thanks and rated up.

    • grinnin1 profile image


      6 years ago from st louis,mo

      Great hub and so true. Thanks for reinforcing the difficulty that clutter causes in lives. It's about so much more than just being disorganized.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Great article for a clutter person like me and my spouse. Your writing is good and easy to understand, and the message gets across. I always heard that a cluttered area is a cluttered mind, and I believe it. I will make an effort to get out of the stress and clutter world, and make strides in my life. Thanks for sharing.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Oh my I am the world's worst hoarder. Never attempt to open a cupboard door in my house unless you are wearing a suit of armour. Then every now and again I get cross with myself and throw it all away. Why did I save it in the first place? Great hub and a timely reminder.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      This is a really good hub about something that affects more and more people in the world. People are finding it difficult to cope with the mounting stress and clutter is as you say one of the many symptoms of the stressed out modern person. There is a very large price that people are paying for a so called developed world! Thank you.

    • Temirah profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great hub. I'd love to link it to mine on decluttering of that's ok; it would be a useful addition.

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 

      7 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      I absolutely love the psychological description behind clutter. I would say it's dead on and I know some people who may benefit from this insight, so I'm passing it on!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Recently, La Vista, the organic farm I'm involved in, had a garage sale as a fundraiser. It was incredible to see all the JUNK people donated. It only reinforced for me how I continually try to keep my life simple and not buy a lot of stuff (never been much of a consumer anyway).

      It can be overwhelming to have to clean out clutter - I wrote a hub on clutter and hoarding after I went out to finish clearing out my dad's house after he passed away.

      Voted up

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      toknowinfo: Congratulations on winning the Day 4 Prize! I agree with Simone Smith: clutter creeps up on me. Just when I thought that I was a minimalist simplifying life, I blinked and everywhere around me there are things to go through, things that need to move on, things that took advantage of my busyness to settle in seemingly for the long haul. Well presented, well explained, well done! Voted up + useful + awesome

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You put into words what I've often thought. I can't work or relax in a cluttered environment. This trait has driven my family nuts for years. The house can be dusty, need a good scrubbing, but if it is not cluttered I feel like anyone can walk in and be welcome. Thanks for relieving one of my many phobias!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      7 years ago

      When we went from a Larger home to a smaller one, I got rid of a lot of say it never materializes again well...I try not to let it! This was a well written Hub on this subject Toknowinfo. Very, Very Useful Information.

    • schoolmarm profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      I like to keep things down to a bare minimum, but I also relate to psychicdog's comment. I just hate that feeling I get that I am throwing away something I might need tomorrow!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I agree that clutter is a problem and reaches apoint of being overwhelming.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      I really enjoy throwing things out. Sometimes I make a point of getting rid of one thing everyday that I don't need. It feels so good. Up and useful!

    • profile image 

      7 years ago

      This brings back memories. I used to go to Garage sales and some of the items seemed incredibly good stuff to be selling - why would someone be chucking that out, I would be thinking? I think as humans, we have a need to explore and the side-effect of that is to leave a trail of clutter in our wake then one day we go that's enough! And it gets thrown out! But is there an inability we have to throw things out TKI? Especially since one day you think you might need that thing you thought you no longer had a use for?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I made a simpler life for myself a while back and it has done me a world of good. Wonderful hub!

    • chspublish profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Absolutely 100 per cent agree. Am almost there in the de-cluttering...must keep looking looking into the past, as you point out. Great hub.

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 

      7 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

      aaaaahhh...there's no better feeling than streamlining your life and getting rid of all the junk sitting around.

      I figure if I haven't seen it in two years cuz it's sittin' in a box downstairs in storage, then I'll never miss it out it goes!

      Thank you for such a motivating and well written Hub!

      And congrats on your daily drawing for this little gem!

      May peace be in your heart and soul...always,


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Congrats and a very important subject~!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      7 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Thanks for the reminder to not let clutter get out of hand. Also it reminded me to get some of the stuff I've been saving for a garage sale boxed up to put beside the road for the donations truck. I have discovered I enjoy going to garage sales more than having one, HA!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh how I detest clutter, and oh, how it creeps up on me! Thanks for reminding me of its evil effects- I'll have to do some cleaning this weekend!

      BTW, congrats! This Hub won the Daily Drawing prize for Day 4 of the Share and Share a Like contest!

    • mylindaelliott profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana

      I'm trying. I'm trying. Great article to keep me motivated!


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