What Clutter Steals from Us

Clutter builds up in our homes because we want more. We bring more in, but we still hold onto what we already have. While clutter means more stuff, it also means we are losing in other areas. I’ve been on a mission to have a clutter-free home for about two years now. We have noticeably less stuff, but I do hope that we reach clutter-free status this year. When the New Year rolled around, I spent some time reevaluating my approach. I mean, with weekly trips to the Goodwill, shouldn’t we be well on our way towards minimalism by now? (Minimalism isn’t my goal, but still!) We don’t do a lot of shopping or throw big birthday parties. I needed to search again for my motivation to go clutter free. I found some areas where my mind needs to shift a little. Clutter steals from us, even when we think it’s adding to our lives. I hope this will give you some New Year’s decluttering motivation, too.

1. Maintaining all this stuff steals our Time

We love the idea of things that save us time. So we buy cleaning gadgets and planners and little kitchen tools that could potentially save us time. But what we forget is that maintaining these things actually steals our time. We take the time to learn how to use them, then we have to clean them and care for them properly, and then we have to put them away. This applies to anything that ends up as clutter, not just the time-saving things. Every item that we bring into our homes is something that we’ll have to care for and clean up.

Related: 5 Things to Consider When You’re Super Busy

2.  We buy things to feel proud, but it ends up stealing our pride

I am not a proud person, but there is one thing that I get super embarrassed about: a messy home.  We buy a lot of stuff so that we can feel good about ourselves, or impress a friend. But that stuff adds up and becomes clutter. Maybe it’s fancy home decor from a trendy store, or the newest high-tech gadget. What we think will make us look good in others’ eyes often gets pushed aside and tossed into clutter piles. When people come over, we don’t feel proud of our newest purchases: we feel embarrassed about the mess.

3. We think stuff brings happiness, but it steals our peace

Marketers tell us that although money can’t buy you love, it can buy things that make you happy or more comfortable. Money can also buy clutter, and clutter causes anxiety and stress, which don’t work well with happiness. I’ve noticed that when our house gets cluttered, my stress-levels skyrocket!

Related: 7 Ways to Win the Battle Against Toy Clutter

Behind the scenes: I tried to take “pretty” pictures of clutter, but since I’m not InstaPerfect, I thought I’d show you what our craft area looks like IRL.

4. Trying to keep up with the Jones’s steals our independent thought

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent in the US each year on advertising. The top 200 advertisers in the nation spent nearly $138 billion in advertising in 2015, and it rises 2% a year (source.) And there are many more than 200 advertisers!! When we buy into the messages that we need to get the latest and greatest so we aren’t left in the dust, we’re actually doing exactly what marketers have hoped for and researched. Their job is to know what makes you tick. Being an independent thinker means seeing through those messages and evaluating what we really need.

Children are massively targeted by advertisers. I’m teaching Miss H (4.5) to see through this. Recently, she saw a commercial and said, “That looks neat, but it’s not something we need.” I am trying to teach her to be grateful for what she has, and not to focus on what she wants. This is a lesson that I don’t listen to all the time!

5. Clutter steals our money long before it becomes clutter

Sometimes, I find myself keeping things because I remember how much it cost me. But the money is gone already. Holding on to it won’t save me any money. Trying to find potential ways to use it in the future doesn’t save any money either. My husband Nate grew up on a farm. Farmers often save things because they can reuse it, fix it, or save it just in case there’s a need in the future. I can see why this would be helpful to farmers. But now we’re suburban dwellers and this kind of approach to stuff doesn’t make as much sense.

Related: Prepare Your Family for the “Great Depression” of 2030. 

We buy stuff because we want more, but #clutter actually steals from us. #simpleliving. #housekeeping



  • Shell January 16, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    I absolutely don’t like clutter…. not only that Ive been downsizing my stuff and strive to live more simply and I really like how that feels…

    • leahbmartin January 17, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      I agree- it’s a great feeling!!

  • Evelyn, Path of Presence January 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Beautiful post and I can’t agree with you more. I am in the process of releasing and decluttering so your post is VERY timely for me. Thanks!!
    Evelyn, Path of Presence recently posted…Come Home to WorthMy Profile

    • leahbmartin January 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you, Evelyn! This is a good time of year for releasing and decluttering!

  • Angie January 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    All these points are so valid and clutter definitely takes all these things from us. I have been working on this for the last couple of years and I’m getting closer and closer to having a clutter free home.

    • leahbmartin January 17, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      This has been a multiple-year process for us, too. It is such a good feeling, though!

  • Jasmine Hewitt January 18, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I already tend to only buy what I need – my problem is organization. So the necessities end up as clutter because i havent figured a roper place yet. first world problems, lol
    Jasmine Hewitt recently posted…Educational Board Game Race To Space Makes Learning Fun!My Profile

    • leahbmartin January 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Yes organization is a downfall for me, too!

  • Angela January 19, 2018 at 7:44 am

    This is so true. Clutter does steal my peace. I love a peaceful home but being unwell I struggle to stay on top so I work on keeping the lounge peaceful and decluttered and at least we have one room which is a joy to sit in.

    • leahbmartin January 19, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      That’s a smart way to handle it when life is overwhelming! I should do that during this newborn season of life!

  • Niki at Toot's Mom is Tired January 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

    I feel this. My whole house is cluttered. Mostly with toys. I’ve really slowed down on buying toys because we have so many. I need to do a purge.

    • leahbmartin January 19, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Toys are the hardest to get rid of! Especially now that my daughter is old enough to have an opinion about them 🙂


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