Do you ever wonder why you home is constantly cluttered? Shoes strewn here, a pile of clothes there, video games everywhere? You’ve spent plenty of money on organizing gadgets and storage bins, and still, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to stay ahead of it. It’s physically exhausting, and you’re tired of trying without results.
You may be fully schooled on each organizing step and how it plays off the previous one in the process. But, did you know that the battle over clutter begins in your mind? Recognizing the psychological motivators that cause clutter is the first step in controlling it.
One of the most powerful factors driving us to collect clutter is our consumer-driven culture. We live in a country where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements for things we must have, need, or can’t live without. Great ads send us rushing out the door to pick up the latest gadget, grab multiple products at great sale prices, and buy things that guarantee to make us better than we were without them.
Frequently though, instead of delivering on the promise to improve our lives, we trade our hard-earned dollars on stuff that collects in our closets and countertops. Recognize that you are mentally bombarded with this “Buy Now, Buy More” consumerism every moment of your waking hours. Combat its powerful force with conscious consumerism -- knowing exactly what you want and need, and purchasing only those items that suit your lifestyle.
In addition to motiving us, our consumer-driven culture has made it convenient for us to buy. Shopping is now one of our most popular recreational activity
in our country. And, chances are that if you are out looking, you’re putting yourself in a position to buy. If you notice items in your home that you don’t use, or have never worn, evaluate the amount of time you spend at the mall, or surfing on-line, and cut down on your browsing/shopping time.
Most of us, or people we know, have experienced shortages at one time or another. Clutter can be caused by saving resources for such times. Only thing is, you never know what form, and when this shortage may occur. Saving miscellaneous items that you once did without is no guarantee that they will satisfy the needs you will have in the future. Buy what you need now, and save your money (and your storage space) for what you need later.
Conversely, we tend to save items that remind of us times of great prosperity and/or happiness. Trinkets from favorite vacation spots, school, work and social event memorabilia
can clutter shelves and cabinets faster than rabbits can multiply -- and can be just as overwhelming. Ask yourself if these items are worth the space that they are consuming and take action. Take a photo of yourself with the item and save it instead of the object itself.
Recovering from the loss
of a dear friend or relative can be a cause of clutter in our home. The desire to remember and remain close to these special people may cause us to hold on to their possessions as a way to keep their presence in our lives. Frame a special photograph of the person and place it where you will see it regularly. This will outweigh any need to keep their things, things that may not fit your style or space.
Of all the psychological factors that contribute to clutter, the greatest motivator is emptiness
. It’s difficult to address feelings of lack that we carry inside of us. The easiest and quickest way to fill these up is by filling the spaces around us. Products that promise that they will make us more attractive to a mate, bring us greater prosperity, or even help us be more organized can all end up piled high around our living spaces, while the emptiness that they failed to fill remains. It takes time to identify the source of emptiness, and to address it appropriately. Do this and you will eliminate the lack, and the clutter.
It’s important to recognize which of these psychological motivators are at work in you. It could be that your decisions to keep or let go of things are influenced by one or all of these factors. Clutter in your home occurred over time, not over-night. You will be better equipped to proactively address it by identifying its root causes. Clutter control truly is mind over matter. Start practicing it today!