It is fairly common for people to have a junk drawer in their home – a place where the miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam of life can accumulate just in case it’s needed, or until they have time to deal with it. Some people even dedicate an entire room to junk. Neither approach is wrong, but how can you tell when the clutter has reached the point where it’s having a negative impact on your life? It can be difficult to know where to draw that line, but it’s important to identify it so you can deal with the clutter before it gets out of control. Here are some tips that can help you determine if your house is too cluttered.
- You feel like your house is always messy. When guests are coming over, do you find that it’s relatively easy to neaten up and get things to the point where you feel comfortable inviting people into your home? Or does the thought of company incite panic as you rush around shoving things into drawers and closets? If it’s the latter, that may be a sign that it’s time to rid yourself of the clutter.
- You’re constantly buying new things without getting rid of old things. We live in a wealthy society, and most of us have easy access to consumer goods. However, if you are in the habit of shopping for new things – clothes, accessories, books, and household items, to name a few – and you never get rid of anything, there’s a good chance that your home is crowded and cluttered.
- You try to find places to put the things you own, but every closet and drawer you have is already filled to overflowing. Even if your house is relatively neat, it may be time to reevaluate if you simply don’t have space to store your belongings.
- You hold onto things you don’t use for sentimental reasons or out of some other need that is unrelated to their utility or place in your life. It is normal to want to hold onto a few key mementos from your past, but do you really need your ratty old high school gym shorts or that broken blender from your post-college days? If you have a lot of things that you don’t wear or don’t use, or things that are broken, then it is very likely time to undertake a major decluttering of your home.
- You routinely have a hard time finding things you need. If you have a crisis every time you need to look for your latest bank statement, or your insurance policy, or even the replacement batteries for your smoke detector, that might be a sign that your clutter is out of control. When a home is too cluttered, it can hinder your ability to function.
- The state of your home leaves you feeling helpless or depressed. This last one is difficult to quantify, but it is extremely important. The way we live can have a huge impact on the way we feel, and often our living spaces are a reflection of our emotions. If you feel that your home is cluttered or your belongings have become unmanageable, it doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks. It’s time to attack the problem head on and pare down your belongings.
The thing to remember about clutter is that it can be subjective. Some people are very comfortable living in a home that is crowded with belongings, while others prefer a state of extreme cleanliness and organization. In the end, you need to determine what level of clutter you can accept and then take steps to bring your home in line with your needs.