Reasons to Keep Clutter

I want a peaceful and welcoming home, a comfortable place with uncluttered surfaces and my favorite things where I can use and appreciate them. To have this, I need to sort through the extra stuff that sneaks in and threatens to take over. Even though I’ve done huge clean-outs of my stuff, it never fails that I can find something more to declutter.

Sometimes cleaning out clutter is easier said than done, and there’s no shortage of reasons to leave clutter the way it is. Last night I looked at the growing pile on my dining table and stacks of stuff with no home. I contemplated not doing anything about it, and came up with reasons #4, 11, 15, 18, 22, and 32:

1. I paid good money for it.

2. Someone might want it.

3. It would be a waste to throw it away.

4. I just need to buy more storage totes.

5. That used to be special to me.

6. That was a souvenir from…

7. I might need it later.

8. I just need a bigger home.

9. It’s a book! (or a cookbook!)

10. It was on sale.

11. I could make something with it.

12. It belonged to my grandmother.

13. When I have more time, I’ll use it /read it / finish it.

14. I don’t have time to go through this stuff.

15. I’m too tired.

16. I’ll do it later.

17. It’s a sweet baby item.

18. Someone who loves me gave it to me.

19. I worked hard to write/study/make this.

20. I want it to stay in the family.

21. It’s not my clutter, it’s my spouse’s/child’s/roommate’s.

22. I need to wait until I have a full weekend to do it right.

23. I’ll keep it until I have a garage sale.

24. It might be valuable one day.

25. It might come back in fashion.

26. It’s vintage!

27. It’s a collection.

28. My child made it.

29. It makes me feel secure.

30. It shows how smart or talented I am.

31. It proves I was here.

32. Why bother? It will just get cluttered again anyway.

What clutter reasons do you relate to the most?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I love reading the things on Small Note Book. I have recently sold my house and I am living in rented accomodation, decluttering and trying to live a more simple life. Logging onto Small Note Book really brightens my day at work. It is very encouraging to find there are many more people trying to live simply and frugally, I am sure these lifestyle choices can bring happiness.

    Warm Wishes
    Sarah (UK)

  2. Wonderful again, Rachel! I love these thoughts. Good to think about. #18, 21, and 28 are most appropriate for me, though they’re usually not enough to persuade me. My hatred of clutter knows no bounds. ;)

  3. I have a part time clutter clearing business and even I get amazed at the ‘stuff’ that arrives in my house every week. I’m sure its the children!
    I never buy anything so it can’t be me ;)

  4. smallnotebook says:

    Thanks Sarah! Your kind note brightened my day.

    Laura, I don’t know how it creeps in. I feel like I haul it out by the bagful. Even though I hate clutter almost as much as Toblerone, this time, I think it’s my stuff at fault. I’ve been cleaning out stuff all weekend.

  5. For me it’s “18. Someone who loves me gave it to me.”

    But lately it’s more like “Someone who loves our kid gave us this.”

    My SIL shops at the dollar store and buys cheaply made baby items that I just don’t feel are safe for my daughter to use. I feel bad — but that stuff goes directly into the give-away box.

    And then there’s the stuffed animals. Please, loving family, no more stuffies!

  6. We’re pretty minimalist here. Seriously. The only thing that keeps me from tossing something is if I paid a lot for it. Which is rare because I’m sort of frugal, too. My husband sometimes gets hung up on “We’ll need it someday” or “You’re just going to buy it again”.

    The best cure for being a clutter bug is habitually cleaning up after one. Much of my childhood was spent picking up after my mother and sister (two very huge pack rats). Neither clean at all. After dusting a full set of porcelain dancing dogs bi-weekly, vacuuming around tons of furniture, folding countless adopted afghans for 18 years… I couldn’t stand owning a single thing I didn’t absolutely need. LOL Try it, really, it works.

  7. In my house it’s my dh who is not only a chaotically disorganized clutterbug, but a hoarder of minutia. He hates letting go of things, even stuff that is broken or rusted through. I really think he would let me go before he would allow the majority of junk in our home to be tossed in the trash or donated to charity. Not everything in our house is broken or rusted, but a lot of so called “good things” are just stagnant occupiers of precious space. It is stuff that could be easily and inexpensively replaced if in 10-20 years he decides it is something he needs or wants, yet he probably never will need or want… Starting the last week or so, I decided to challenge myself to clean out as much as I can with or without his consent. I know this will take a while and I will probably need breaks from decluttering, but it is now or never. I need refreshment in my life. I am tired of the same old save, keep, stack and pile routines of my husband and kids (16, 19 & 21), though my dh is the worst of the four. Now is the time and I either suceed or I may have to think about leaving. I am emotionally drained. I am tired of living with the anxiety his need to be surrounded by clutter causes me. I have emotionally shut down to deal with those things that seem not to be in my control rather then raging at them like I did many years ago. I have come to the conclusion that I want to live rather then just exist. Please pray for my success in clearing out the baggage both actual and emotional. I put my trust in God and will do what I can and pray about the rest. Thanks for this site. It is giving me some inspiration.

  8. Just one more comment because I am curious what others might think. First I can’t talk to my dh about any of this. He either shuts down the conversation or turns it into a discussion of all my faults. And of course everything is my fault, not. I have tried acknowledging my part in the problem, I know he’s a busy man and he works hard. Yet I need help and I’ve tried asking for help and all I get is ignored or suddenly I have a problem or I am the problem. I should spend all my “free time” organizing and taking care of all this stuff (his stuff). So what I am thinking of doing is finding a therapist who specializes in hoarding and I will go to this person for therapy and ask my dh to join me because I obviously need help with my problem. Anyone think this could work?

  9. Kip Kozlowski says:

    Oh dear–every single one applies. I’m doomed!

  10. I must be pretty bad if I use 31 out of 32 excuses.