Where there is clutter, there is chaos. I believe this because frustration and stress are often not far behind. Why do we have so much stuff? Friggin’ stuff everywhere.  The Why’s of Clutter kick off this three part series.

Why is there a fake severed Halloween hand in my gift wrap closet? And, finding the right wrapping accessories will take longer than it should with this disarray!

1. We live hectic and busy lifestyles so it’s easier to throw stuff in a pile or in a drawer until you can get to it, which is often never.

2. We don’t know what to do with the stuff or we can’t decide if we still want or need it. We’re indecisive or perfectionists so we don’t do anything except make more piles until we have time to figure out how to do it right.

3. We have emotional and psychological attachments to our stuff and it feels “icky” or callous getting rid of it. For some, even the thought is anxiety-ridden. Gifts and the it-served-its-purpose-but-I-dont-need-it-anymore fall into this category, especially if the item was expensive or hard to obtain.

4. We grew up in scarcity and like having lots of stuff as a reminder that all is better. If you busted your butt to get where you are now, your stuff represents that journey.

5. We live in bigger homes with more space to fill and we feel obligated to fill it, even with a bad poster or ugly silk plant, or semi-okay birthday gifts. (Girlfriends, no more candles for gifts unless they have anti-aging, wrinkle-releasing, cellulite-eradicating magic flames. Then buy me one.)

6. We can’t stand to throw or give anything away because it feels like a waste or because we are certain we will need it someday. This is also the prudent planner style of living  in which you gather up anything and everything you could possibly, potentially, in another-life, ever need.

7. It was free or part of a special buy or a bulk purchase. Stuff that we wouldn’t have purchased (or not 12 of them) but now have and feel obligated to keep and use (or put in a pile) due to impulsiveness or emotions. Stuff that may tap into a need of entitlement, getting away with something or easing the frustration from a limited budget. Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Dollar Stores, swap meets…hello.

8. We’re overwhelmed with all the stuff and don’t know where or how to start so we don’t. Upon mention, you cover your ears and sing Mary Had A Little Lamb.

9. We have become immune to all of our stuff. We don’t notice the clutter. It’s normal and comfortable. We may feel a little disorganized, crowded or anxious in regards to always needing to clean and sort but we still come home with more stuff. In addition, certain areas of our homes are prone to clutter but they’re hidden away and sorting through them isn’t a priority (and justifiably so in certain situations).

10. We enjoy reveling in the past with all of our stuff and it sort of keeps us insulated from other not-so-pleasant issues. It’s like having your own time machine. Back to the Future fantasies all day long. (The DeLorean was killer.)

The good news, we can work around the Why’s of clutter and not only rid ourselves of the excess but learn how to prevent future bloat (sort of like the too many carbs in your diet feeling).  Awareness and acceptance are the beginning. Put on your big-girl and big-boy pants for parts two and three, surprising and not so surprising hideaways, purging and how to do it without a cry fest.