The First Step To Clearing Clutter

The First Step To Clearing Clutter

The First Step To Clearing Clutter


by Crystal Nerpel
Cloud Nine Organizing

When your belongings are in your way, either physically or mentally, those belongings have officially become clutter. I have a simple rule of thumb for identifying clutter: Pick up an item and honestly answer these two questions: 1) “Do I love it?” 2) “Do I use it?” If you answer “no” to both questions, it’s clutter. Time to let it go. Easier said than done. We tend to hold on to clutter that no longer positively serves us. Why? There are multiple reasons, but let’s look at a few:

We hold on to clutter because it’s easier than dealing with it.
Closing the door on a cluttered room, shoving clutter under the bed, and stuffing old junk inside boxes is an easy, quick fix when dealing with clutter, right? No! The clutter is still there. Even if we can’t see it, we always know something feels a little “off” or “heavy” when we are near it. That hidden clutter carries a lot of mental weight. Avoiding the clutter isn’t fixing the problem.

We hold on to clutter because we have guilt.
We may hold onto something we don’t love or use simply because someone gave it to us. Getting rid of something that was gifted to us can sometimes carry huge guilt. Keep in mind that clutter is a burden, so it’s OK to release the burden no matter how it came into your life: a new store-bought gift, a used hand-me-down, or a family heirloom you inherited. These items may have been given to you with good intentions, but they have now become clutter. You have absolutely no use for clutter. Let it go.

We hold on to clutter because of memories.
Objects hold memories for us: good and bad. These memories create an emotional attachment, and human beings struggle with releasing emotional attachment. This starts at a very early age in life. Small children get emotionally attached to a favorite stuffed animal or a “lovey.” For most of us, emotional attachment to objects carries over into adulthood which makes decluttering some items very difficult. The best way to deal with clutter that holds memories is to honor yourself, not the object. Ask yourself if this object represents who you are right now. Then, ask yourself if you love or use the object. No? Let it go.

We hold on to clutter because we get overwhelmed.
Not dealing with the clutter, having guilt associated with getting rid of the clutter, or being emotionally attached to clutter is all very overwhelming. It’s hard even to know where to start. Take a breath. Tackle a little bit at a time. Sorting and decluttering is very time-consuming so show yourself patience, forgiveness, and kindness.

Sometimes, understanding why you have the habit of hanging on to things that no longer serve you allows you to move forward. Letting go of physical clutter can help clear some mental clutter. Remember, if you get stuck Crystal with Cloud Nine Organizing can be reached at

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