3 Reasons for Having Too Much Clutter

3 Reasons for Having Too Much Clutter

If your house is piled with too much stuff everywhere you look, you are not alone. It’s an issue many people struggle with. In fact, surveys show that over half of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have. 

Why is clutter such a common problem? 

Below are three reasons that occur again and again: 

Lack of Skills

Managing a household takes knowledge and skill. If your parents did everything around the house (or didn’t have household management skills themselves), you may not know the basics of how to clean and care for a home. In this situation, it’s easy for clutter to overtake you.  

Fortunately, if you’re swamped by all your things because you don’t know how to deal with it, there is an easy fix: learn! There are hundreds of books, magazines, and blogs dedicated to how to clean and organize a home. Simply pick one you like and start following the recommendations. It will take some time and effort, but once you acquire the skills to manage your space, you’ll feel less stress and be more productive. 


As professional coach and organizer Kerry Thomas explains in her TedX talk, “clutter is postponed decisions”. Whether the clutter is piled on your table, sitting digitally in your email inbox, (hello!) or takes the form of thoughts, worries, and regrets swirling in your mind, every item of clutter represents a decision you haven’t made. 

Dealing with clutter requires dozens (or hundreds, depending on your house), of decisions: Keep or toss? File or act? Yes, or no? If you struggle to make decisions, you’ll struggle to deal effectively with clutter. (Hello again!)

To help you become more decisive, start practicing! Fortunately, clutter offers hundreds of opportunities. Start by dealing with ten items a day. If ten is too many or too few, pick your number and get started. Try to make decisions – keep, toss, sell, donate – as fast as possible, and commit to following through on your decisions. The more you do it, the easier decluttering will become.

Inability to Say No 

Sometimes, clutter (both physical and mental) piles up because you have difficulty saying no. Whether your house is full of family “heirlooms” that nobody else wants but no one is willing to throw out, or your brain is filled with to-do lists and obligations that you’d rather not do, an inability to say no can quickly fill your space and your mind with clutter. To get on top of this problem, it’s important to do two things:

  1. Get in touch with what you value, whether it’s in the physical, social, or spiritual realms. 
  2. Accept that you have the right to say no. 

Only say yes to items and obligations that you value. As you practice standing up for yourself, you’ll gain confidence in your own voice. 


Which one of these three reasons resonates with you? Is your space cluttered due to a lack of knowledge, indecisiveness, or an inability to say no? Hit reply and let me know which reason speaks to you.


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Patricia “Pat” Bumpass is a ghostwriter, self-care advocate, author, and parent coach. She encourages and empowers women and parents with special needs kids to love themselves. Pat is North Carolina “born and bred” and loves coffee — hot or iced. You will often hear her say, “Twertles make me happy.” 🙂 

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