• Anita Chastain, MBA

The 6 Signs That It's Time to Declutter

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

We own a staggering amount of stuff. Is clutter is taking over your life? Learn the 6 signs that it's time to declutter.

Messy kitchen

A recent study found that the average American spends nearly $1,500 per month on non-essential purchases. What do you get in return? A staggering amount of goods and services you don’t need and almost $18,000 a year investment in purchases you can live without.

If you’ve started having vague thoughts about having too much stuff, now is a good time to think about the impact all that stuff is having in your life.

Is Your Stuff is Taking Over Your Life?

Below are six common signs that too much stuff is creating problems in your life.

1. It’s hard to view flat surfaces because they are hidden beneath clutter. Flat surfaces include tables, counters, shelves, floors, and furniture. If you have to move stuff around to see the majority of the flat surface area, your stuff is taking over those surfaces.

Clutter makes surfaces less appealing to look at and harder to keep clean

2. Incoming stuff gets crammed into spaces that are already full. When more stuff enters your home than leaves, you will eventually find yourself with a storage problem. There’s only so much you can do to create more space by being more organized.

At some point, you can no longer put more into a space, no matter how many boxes, bins, or baskets you buy.

3. It’s a hassle to choose which item you want to wear or use. Having more stuff makes decision making more difficult. When we have too many choices, we waste time and effort on what would otherwise be an easy decision.

4. Figuring out how to reduce the amount of stuff in your home is so overwhelming that you do nothing. You become so paralyzed just thinking about what to do with all the stuff in your home, you simply shut down. Doing nothing seems easier than doing something.

5. It’s too embarrassing to entertain because of all the stuff in your home. Avoiding sharing your home with other people because you don’t want them to see how much stuff you have accumulated is a red flag.

Don’t allow stuff to become more important than inviting people you care about into your home.

6. Buying more stuff relieves boredom but doesn’t improve the quality of your life. Shopping engages us mentally and physically. But it’s expensive and, in the long-term, a mostly unsatisfying way to spend idle time.

Over time, accumulating more stuff because it keeps you busy does little more than fill your home with stuff you don’t need.


If you’ve had any of these experiences, think about how you’re spending your money and whether those purchases are improving the quality of your life. I did and it made a huge difference in my life.

I think it could make a huge difference in your life too.

Owning too much stuff has a cost that’s greater than the dollars spent to acquire it. There is an emotional price to be paid as well.

You have the power to control what comes into your home and what goes out. Use that power. When buying non-essential items, ask if that purchase will improve your life easier, happier, more joyful, or more satisfying.

Now is also a good time to start reducing the amount of stuff you currently own.

If you don’t need it, don’t use it, can’t use it, or it doesn’t add value to your life, let it go. If it’s usable, donate it, recycle it, or sell it. If it’s not usable or recyclable, throw it away.

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the stuff you own? Please feel free to email me at anita (@) simplelife365.com and tell me about it.


NEXT: You might enjoy reading 17 Clutter Busters: Tidy Up Your House in Less Than 30 Minutes.