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Clutter Free Living Isn’t What You Think, Or Is It?

Updated March 13, 2020

When you don’t have a lot of stuff, you’re clutter free… right? To be honest, clutter free living isn’t what you think it is. We have a tendency to automatically think these two go together, but they are not the same.

Less stuff for the sake of less stuff—is useless to us.

Clutter Made Itself At Home

From a very early age, I would spend countless hours trying to make my bedroom clutter free— but my room would always end up the same way after just a few days. Clothes were all over the floor to the point you couldn’t see the floor because it was just a sea of clothes!

My mom didn’t even know what to think. I definitely wasn’t an expert at clutter free living in her eyes. LOL!

She would often say to me, “I don’t know how you can find anything in that mess.” Ironically, I always knew where everything was, but it looked like a natural disaster had hit my room. No matter what I did, clutter made itself at home—in my space.

I really wanted things to be tidy.

In fact, my ultimate favorite book—even though I was a teenager—was The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room! I loved how nice the bears’ room looked once they had things hanging on a peg board. And all of those nice little boxes all labeled and tucked away in their closet.

In fact I still am drawn to that book—it makes my heart so happy. Like this dreamy white kitchen shelf!!!

Everybody loves a clutter free kitchen shelf—but what if clutter free living wasn't about how to do this? Maybe clutter free living isn't quite what you thought it was...

But what if…figuring out how to decorate and keep your home looking like this…really isn’t what you think it is?

Clutter Free Living Isn’t What You Think

Maybe you feel that way, too where you think to yourself, why do I even try my hand at clutter free living—when things just go back to the way that they are?

My piles just keep growing and there is no end to it in sight!

Then maybe you start thinking things like—”I’ll just become a minimalist.” and “Why do I keep picking up these legos when they just end up all over the place anyway.”

It then progresses to, “I’ll just toss them out and then my space won’t be so messy and the kids can just play with the empty boxes that I get when I order online from Amazon!”

Clutter-free living—we all want it! But, how do you keep clutter from making itself at home in your home? Clutter free living isn't what you think—or is it?

Because let’s face it girl, we have loads of amazon boxes lying around. I mean I totally made an entire play grocery store out of boxes for my son to play in!

Clutter free living—can meet frugal, right?

The problem is that we think that if we can just get rid of all of the excess stuff and find that magic solution for clutter free living then our lives would be so much better.

But, don’t get too carried away with becoming a minimalist for clutter free living just yet. Think about it this way, too.

If you are a minimalist, often it means that you’re just efficient at keeping things from piling up in your home—only.

Clutter Free Living—Is What You Think

To really embrace a clutter free life that sticks, one where you feel more at peace and you truly enjoy it—get this—you have to change your mind.

What you think influences how you feel and how you feel determines what you do.

What ARE You Thinking?

It’s not easy or natural for us to think introspection is a key to discovering why clutter continues to make its home in our lives. But, once we start to take a deeper look at what we really are thinking and believing—then we can embrace clutter free living.

Remember, what you think influences how you feel and how you feel determines what you do—or don’t do!

What you think influences how you feel and how you feel determines what you do.

What do we think when it comes to clutter?

You put things off to do them later.

How often have you said, “I’ll just set this here—for now”?

For now, is that moment when you’re getting ready in the morning and you try on several different outfits, shirts, and you take them off and they land in a pile on the chair in your bedroom.

In the moment you’re thinking, I need to find an outfit for today, I’m just going to leave it here—for now. Then, I’ll take care of it later.

But in reality, the later doesn’t usually happen, unless you intentionally make a point to take care of it later. It’s similar to all those piles of paper. Author Kathi Lipp has said in her book Clutter Free, “A pile of paper represents a pile of decisions not made.

What if. 

What if shows up in the, “What if I just had this or did this, then…I would be happier.” Or it’s the “If I get rid of this, I might need it later.”

Stuff makes relationships more meaningful.

I see this more often with men than I do with women, but regardless this still has some application.

The premise is that when a man doesn’t feel like he has spent much time with his children—either because he works long hours or his job takes him away from the home—he ends up buying things for his children to make up for it.

Each of these are examples for how clutter functions on a surface level. But going a little deeper, clutter free living is also connected to our feelings.

Clutter Free Living Is Connected to Your Feelings

Sometimes it’s really hard to pinpoint the connection we have with stuff that is deeply rooted in our emotions and how we feel. Here are some more examples of what we feel related to clutter:

1. We feel guilty.

What it sounds like: “I bought these pair of shoes for $75 because I had to have them, but they make my feet bleed. I can’t get rid of them because I spent so much money on them!”

2. We convince ourselves that stuff makes us accepted.

What it sounds like: “I need this new cute outfit for….otherwise I won’t fit it.

3. Stuff is connected to memories and people.

What it sounds like: “My mom gave me something that I really don’t like, but I can’t get rid of what my mom gave me because—well, it was from my mom! I might hurt her feelings.”

4. Is Your Home Peaceful and Inviting? 

The tone of your home is directly related to clutter free living. It has an impact on you and how you feel. It also sets a tone in your home that can bring about chaos and cause limitations.

Here’s how it showed up one day in my home.

My son was about 2 years old and I had gotten to the point where I was tired of picking up his little toy John Deere Tractors. For some moms it’s legos that break the last straw. Me—tractors. I was so tired of constantly picking up his toys that I just stopped.

And..the funny thing is…my son stopped playing with them too.

One day I hunkered down and cleaned up his play area. I organized all of his tractors in a row and you know what? When my son woke up from his nap, the first thing he went to, was his toys.

Clutter—it’s overwhelming even to our children!

Clutter Is A Symptom of What You Think On a Deeper Level.

As I wrap things up, clutter will costs you space, time, energy, money, and ultimately what matters most to us.

You may have thought that clutter free living is just figuring out how to find creative ways to declutter. But as I’ve shared today, it’s not about how to declutter the best way.

The key to clutter free living starts with changing your mind—understanding what you really think about clutter.

So that you can determine how to tame it in your life.

If you struggle with clutter, remember that it is a symptom. What you are thinking and feeling is the deeper root and cause. If you take the time to determine what you are thinking—you’re one step closer to clutter free living.

Does clutter overwhelm you? Here’s 8 Ways the Feeling of Overwhelm Can Help You.

What is an area of clutter that you have a tendency to struggle with?

Clutter-free living—we all want it! But, how do you keep clutter from making itself at home in your home? Clutter free living isn't what you think—or is it?

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Hannah! Thank you for the comment. Paperwork! Agh! I think paper is the hardest thing to stay on top of—at least that has been the case for both my husband and I. It really hit home a few years when I read that Kathi Lipp quote, saying “Paper is a pile of unmade decisions.” It was at that point that I realized how true it really was for me. Way to go on your organizing too! It’s so hard to get into a rhythm especially after you move.

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