Home » Declutter Your Life » The roots of clutter — external, behavioral, and internal

The roots of clutter — external, behavioral, and internal

I loved this post from Erin at Unclutterer.com

It is so important to work out WHY you have clutter before you can begin to tackle it.

Goodness…where did I leave the baby?

There are innumerable reasons people are plagued by clutter. Most reasons, however, fall into one of three categories:

  1. External: This clutter might be from living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse, physical disability, or inherited clutter
  2. Behavioral: This clutter might be from mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, or poor categorization and classification skills
  3. Internal: This clutter might be from grief, depression, anxiety, distrust, or being overly sentimental

Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome. Since you can’t transform someone else into an unclutterer, you may be continually plagued with clutter as long as you live in the same space as your parent/roommate/spouse. If you’re struggling with inherited clutter, the situation may be stressful as you take the time to sort through the property you’ve acquired, but the clutter will likely be temporary. It can be difficult to predict or solve external causes of clutter, but there are often ways to manage it, and sometimes even solve it.

Clutter resulting from behavioral causes can be more manageable than the other categories of clutter. You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits, and find ways to increase energy levels. It can take awhile to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible for people of sound mind and body to do so within a reasonable amount of time.

Read more on internal clutter here: http://unclutterer.com/2010/11/18/the-roots-of-clutter-external-behavioral-and-internal/

5 thoughts on “The roots of clutter — external, behavioral, and internal

  1. Pretty interesting post!

    I just recently (beginning or 2010) began to realize that my house was cluttered and I needed to do something about it…. FAST! I had a new baby coming soon (which I delivered into this world on December 22, 2010) and did not want to deal with the headache of a cluttered house when I had a newborn to care for, so I made some monthly goals and asked family and friends for help! By October, I was fully satisfied with all the decluttering that I had completed for the year. I can’t even count the number of truckloads that I had delivered to be donated and then the number of garbage bags that I was able to “throw stuff out finally.” It is such a relief to wake up in the morning and walk through a clean, decluttered home with my beautiful baby in my arms!

    By the way, my cluttering was External (my mom was a pack rat my whole life, so I kind of inherited that mentality). Glad I was able to overcome that on my own! I also helped my Honey Schneukems learn to let go of stuff as well, so together we have little “decluttering parties” where we just take one hour every once in a while and see who can declutter the most! (I always win!!) It really does help to make it a partner/team event.. builds motivation!

    -Barbara Ling

    • Wow that is fantastic Barbara – well done! And congratulations on your new baby, just in time for Christmas. I think you have hit on 2 secrets to decluttering – just a little bit a day to get into the habit, but also asking for help. We try to do it all on our own until it all becomes too overwhelming and then we give up – never to start again. A little bit at a time with a little help goes a long way to being long-term organised. Keep up the good work!

  2. That’s what I do Krishna – I leave things at the bottom of the stairs, at the front door to go to the car, at the back door to go to the laundry and then take them when I go. Works a treat!

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