Why do I have so much stuff? {and other truths about clutter}

Have you ever wondered where all your things come from?  Clutter is stuff, things, objects.  Where does it come from?  How did all this get here in the first place?  Let’s take a look at what creates clutter and the ways to keep track of what is coming into your environment.

We live in a materialistic society.  Things can give a person status, comfort, recognition, a smile.  None of those things are negative, however if we rely on things for our positive attitude than we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  We are also making ourselves vulnerable to relying on the accumulation of things to feel satisfied.  This is like trying to gain weight and only drinking water.  It’s not going to work!

There are a few different ways we accumulate things- but any way that we get something, the decision to keep it is ours alone.  Whether you purchase something on a whim, are given a gift that you know you won’t use or just can’t pass up a bargain, you have to remember that you are choosing to keep that item in your environment.  I am vulnerable to this when it comes to purses.  Especially if they are cute and/or on sale.

So, how do you deal with the urge to collect things, accumulate stuff, add that notch to your shopping belt?  Here are a few things I recommend when trying to decrease the things you own that are just creating clutter and chaos in your environment:

  • Keep a journal of purchasing.  A pair of shoes here, a clearance item there may not seem like a lot.  But, when added up all of these unnecessary purchases could be causing your cluttered environment.  You won’t know until you are honest with yourself about what you are bringing into your home.  Write it down for a few weeks and then examine how many of those items were necessary and you have a place for.
  • Resist the urge to buy in bulk.  Now, let me clarify something here.  I am a frugal shopper and a strong advocate of doing everything possible to be good stewards of our financial  resources.  However, if you do not have the room to store items in bulk- don’t buy them in bulk.  Many people will buy in bulk without doing the math to see if it is truly a better deal to do so (it is not always the cheaper route).  Think it  through and ask yourself if you have room to store all these items BEFORE purchasing them.
  • Be a bargain snob.  If you are easily sucked in by the clearance rack (as am I) then make a deal with yourself that if you are buying something new, something old has to leave.  If I buy a new blouse then I am already deciding in my mind which blouse I am willing to part with from my closet.  That type of mindset will stop impulse buying in it’s tracks quite often.
  • Understand why you are accumulating.  Many times, accumulating things can be  meeting more of an emotional need than an actual physical need.  Ever heard of retail therapy?  Many people say this jokingly but it is an actual phenomenon and can become addictive. Evaluate your motivation for purchasing an item- are you getting a temporary rush (fix) and then going to be stuck with the item for the long haul?

These are just a few of the things you can do to evaluate where your “stuff” problem is coming from.  Allow yourself the time and attention to discover the reason your environment is cluttered and you will have a much easier time rectifying the problem.

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