The Shocking Truth About Clutter: It’s Not Always Bad

I don’t know about you but I actually get sick of hearing the word clutter.  I think it’s becoming over used to the point that people think every pile they see is clutter.  That’s not true.  I have a pile of active paperwork on my desk that I use to write blogs with.  I don’t feel like that’s a pile of clutter.  I leave my sons markers, crayons, and colored pencils out on the table to encourage him to color when he feels like it and I don’t feel like that is clutter.  The truth about clutter is: not all piles are clutter, and not all clutter are piles.

“Clutter is the poetry of our homes. It is an intimate view that is not always perfect-a few dishes in the sink, books piled next to the bed. A lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth.” Author, Mary Randolph Carther

Is clutter always bad?  Not necessarily.

The Truth About Clutter

The Shocking Truth About Clutter: It's Not Always Bad | |clutter, clutter not always bad, solutions for clutter

Psychologist Kathleen Vohs, lead author of a study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science says a messy or cluttered work environment can bring forth new ideas and creativity.  A cluttered environment may help people think outside the box and come up with fresh new ideas.

Say what? Yep, it’s true!

Two reasons clutter is okay:

1.) As long as it’s not hampering your productivity.

2.) If some of your displays (that could be considered clutter) bring you positive emotions.

If you do have true clutter which are piles that have been there awhile that you aren’t using, don’t need, or make you feel overwhelmed or anxious.  You can take some time every day to work on this.

Five reasons your clutter doesn’t have to remain clutter:

1.) Some of your clutter is stuff with out a home.  Solution: Find a home for it.

2.) Some of your clutter are things you no longer need or use.  Solution: Get rid of it.

3.) Some of your clutter has to do with things you want to do “eventually” or the “unfinished projects for person you want to be someday (those manuals for that real estate test you were going to take, etc.).  Solution: Give yourself a deadline to get it done if it’s really important..

4.) Some of your clutter is there because you bought it on sale or it was free.  Solution: Resist the temptation and only buy it if you have a home waiting for it.

5.) Some of your clutter is there because you hold onto too many sentimental items. Solution: This is a tough one, so I recommend having a friend help with decision making.  Only hold onto what really tugs at your heart.  Pass on or donate the items you aren’t attached to.

* If you truly feel overwhelmed and don’t feel you can take care of your clutter situation on your own, please go to to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) website and use their directory to find your local NAPO Organizer or Productivity Professional.

The Shocking Truth About Clutter: It's Not Always Bad | |clutter, clutter not always bad, solutions for clutter

3 Replies to “The Shocking Truth About Clutter: It’s Not Always Bad”

  1. Autumn,
    This is so true. I often tell my clients that if they saw my office, they would never believe I am a professional organizer! But my office is where I create not only my business but many of my personal projects. I often have several projects going at one time and if I took the time to put them all away every time I took a break all I would ever get done is put them away and get them back out. I contain my “clutter” to my office so no one else in my house has to look at it, but that doesn’t mean I have a magazine perfect house either. One of the first things I tell my clients is that our goal is to function efficiently and calmly in our homes and often this means there may be piles or areas that are not “magazine perfect”.

    1. Great comment Rhonda! We all should have a space where we don’t have to put things away! My son has an area in his room and I let the stuff stay there and we pick it up weekly. My hubby has his area for paperwork on the kitchen desk by the Keurig. He cleans it every week or so. It’s our home so no it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time! 🙂
      Autumn Leopold recently posted…5 Easy Steps to Storing and Sharing PhotosMy Profile

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