• Erica Lucas

21 Reasons We Have Clutter in Our Homes

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

What is Clutter?


Clutter can be one thing out of place or many things gathered together in a disorderly manner. Clutter can cause anxiety and stress for some people, and go unnoticed by others. In this blog post, I share 21 reasons we have clutter in our homes.


21 Reasons We Have Clutter
21 Reasons We Have Clutter



Decluttering vs. Organizing Clutter


Before minimalism, I organized clutter. I hid stuff in baskets and forgot about them. I sorted by category and kept it all. Stuff upon stuff.

After learning how to declutter and not backfill with more shopping, I used each opportunity to declutter as a way of living with even less. Now, I organize what I choose to keep rather than organizing clutter.


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Household clutter makes it hard to find things we know we own. The solution is to have a home for each and every item, but that takes practice, habits, and time. Time to decide what to keep, what to declutter and where to organize the rest.


Research shows that we lose up to nine items every day - or 198,743 in a lifetime. The daily loss calculated over a year means an incredible 3,285 items are misplaced every 12 months - or just under 200,000 bits and bobs over the course of 60.5 adult years. And a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days is spent searching for stuff, over our lifetimes (source).


Why do we have clutter?


  1. our habits allow for clutter to gather (I'm guilty still today sometimes!)

  2. items do not have a designated "home" in our home

  3. we have too much stuff

  4. items need organization

  5. we don't recognize it as clutter

  6. "what if" and "just in case" hold us back

  7. we are unsure of how to let things go

  8. we carry financial guilt

  9. we hold onto gifts we don't want due to "gift guilt"

  10. emotional guilt weighs on our hearts and minds

  11. we are clutter blind and don't know where to start

  12. we save items to use as our fantasy future self

  13. we keep items that connect us to our past selves

  14. we do not have enough space for the stuff

  15. it's not our clutter (spouse, partner, roommate, children, empty nest)

  16. we do not have time to declutter or organize your stuff

  17. we overbuy

  18. we downsize homes but don't downsize belongings

  19. we have anxiety and it manifests as clutter

  20. we suffer from depression

  21. we hoard or have hoarding tendencies

Depression and hoarding are serious illnesses and I urge you to seek medical care if you have symptoms.


Please note that I deliberately used "we" and "us" in these 21 reasons. I've experienced most of these and came close to #21. I was not diagnosed with a hoarding disorder, but we had rooms we could not use, exits we could not access in a fire, triplicates of stuff I didn't even know we had. I felt constant anxiety from the clutter and from my inability to deal with the items. These 21 reasons beg the question... how can we reduce clutter?


Check out this infographic detailing 5 ways you can reduce clutter.


How to have less clutter
How to have less clutter

Which of these reasons did you connect with when thinking of your home?


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In this video, I tackle understanding two reasons I have a "clutter closet" in our home.





FTC Disclaimer: Please note that some links may be affiliate links, and I earn a commission from your purchase. These links share products at no extra cost to you. I may receive some products in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by brand, person, or company.


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