“WHY do I have all of this clutter?”
I get this question A LOT when I’m talking to new clients who are just starting their decluttering journey.
Which is why I always respond with: “Have you started decluttering yet?”
The thing is, oftentimes you’re not going to understand WHY you have clutter until you actually start decluttering. The process of going through all of the stuff in your house and in your life is really the only way for you to find the answers to this question. Usually, we find these answers in the form of those “Aha!” moments that we discuss frequently in Prioritize Your Sanity.
If you’re waiting to declutter until you “have it all figured out” in your mind, then you’re simply delaying the process. By getting to the bottom of the clutter pile (literally!) you’re getting to the bottom of your “why.” So don’t delay getting started with decluttering and organizing your home because the answers don’t come in the waiting. They come in the doing.
Sometimes, you might already know why you have clutter. For example, there might be a specific event that brings clutter into your home. But maybe you don’t understand exactly why you’re hanging on to these things. That’s OK! You don’t need to know all of the answers at the beginning of the process. Just start decluttering, and it will become crystal clear.
Let me share with you some common “whys” and “Aha!” moments that I’ve seen from helping thousands of people through their decluttering journey. Maybe one or some of these will resonate with you, and it’ll be enough of a motivator for you to actually discover your own answers by getting started with decluttering.
Clutter is a protective barrier.
One of the most common reasons that people have clutter, and that is somewhat unclear to them in the beginning of the process, is that clutter serves as a protective barrier. It’s literally a wall that you’ve built to keep yourself safe.
What am I keeping myself safe from? Well, that’s for you to discover as you go through everything. But using clutter as a barrier from people coming into your life, from people coming into your house, and avoiding uncomfortable situations is a really common Aha! moment that people have when they start decluttering.
It stems from childhood.
Another common reason that people have clutter without understanding why is that clutter is a reaction to their childhood, or to a specific event in their childhood. Maybe they grew up in a house that was kept spotless, and therefore living in a cluttered house is a rebellious streak. Or maybe they grew up with parents who didn’t teach them how to clean, or they grew up with parents who tossed out all of their stuff and it was a traumatic experience in their childhood.
There are a lot of things that could trigger hanging on to clutter that are just repressed in the current moment.
Shame and embarrassment surrounding clutter.
The third common reason people have clutter without understanding why is because in order to start decluttering, you have to acknowledge that you live in clutter.
This acknowledgment can be very scary and stressful, and it makes people feel ashamed and embarrassed. And we don’t want to feel that way, so we don’t look too deeply into ourselves.
If this point resonates with you, I want you to know right now that it’s OK. I encourage you right now to let go of the shame and the embarrassment you feel surrounding your clutter. It’s not necessary. It’s not helpful. So let it go.
Did you know that humans are hoarders by nature? Scientific studies have proven this. So don’t feel guilty or ashamed about the clutter in your life, because there are so many possible reasons why we have clutter that aren’t your fault.
If you want to dive into this more deeply, then please join Clutter Bootcamp where we discuss this more in-depth.
If not understanding your “why” is part of the reason that you’re not starting your decluttering process, then just give it a go. Start decluttering. I guarantee that your why, or many whys, are hiding in the different corners of your house. They’re there, waiting for you to discover them and have your own Aha! moments.
If you’re really struggling with the emotional side of decluttering, and you’re hearing a lot of negative self-talk, then I urge you to please find a support group. Talk to a therapist, or find someone to be with you while you go through this process. Decluttering is deeply emotional. And it’s OK to feel these emotions, especially if you have support around you to help you work through your decluttering journey.
If you’re looking for decluttering support but not sure where to start, please join Clutter Bootcamp. Get into our Prioritize Your Sanity Facebook group. There are SO MANY people who’ve experienced these “aha!” moments and they’re waiting to support YOU!
Want more tips like this? Subscribe to my YouTube channel for my weekly podcast, “It’s All Clutter.”