If you find comfort in obtaining items, you could be holding yourself back. Collecting items might seem like a sign of doing well, or it could be a sentimental habit. Either way, you’ll be surprised to learn that too much clutter interferes with your life.

As you fill your home with items you enjoy, it can quickly lead to the habit of saving other things, too. You might place things on a shelf, forgetting about them soon after. It eventually becomes owning many things you don’t even need or want.

Look around your home and see how many items you don’t need. You likely don’t have to go far to find at least a handful of things you don’t need. Psychologists explain that too much clutter holds you back, so you must get it under control immediately.

If you ever feel burdened by too much stuff, you might need to get rid of some. You might notice that your desk has piles of papers, and drawers are full of junk. If this is the case for you, you’ll benefit from getting rid of some of it.

Clutter Holds You Back in These Ten Ways

You might be surprised to hear that clutter holds you back, but psychologists reveal it’s true. Once you know how it happens, you’ll be ready to make a beneficial change in your life.


1 – Clutter Gives You More Commitment and Obligation

The more items you know, the more commitment and obligation you have. When you have too much stuff, it adds more responsibility to your already busy life. With less clutter, you can focus on what you want to spend your time doing.

2 – You’ll Feel Stuck

When you own lots of things, it’ll make you feel stuck. Eventually, you might feel trapped because so many things keep you where you are now.

3 – It Takes Time to Manage the Clutter

By obtaining fewer things, you free up your time. You’ll have less housework and upkeep, and you’ll experience less oversight. The more stuff you have, the more time you’ll spend cleaning, dusting, putting things away, and sorting.

Having too much stuff can also slow down your daily routine. It’ll take you longer to find things and prepare for the day.

4 – It Decreases Productivity

If you start your day frantically searching for things, it doesn’t set you up for productivity. Instead, it causes you to feel unfocused, even after getting to work. The decreased productivity worsens if your desk is cluttered, too.

You’ll get less done around the house, too. It’s hard to know where to start when you have so many things to handle and deal with. It’ll quickly become overwhelming, causing you to miss out on productivity.

5 – Clutter Might Prevent You from Socializing in Your Home

If you have too much stuff, it might prevent you from entertaining in your home. Whether you’re embarrassed or don’t have the space, it could hold you back from hosting get-togethers.

Once you declutter, you’ll be excited to host for the first time. You won’t have to hide your mess because it’s already gone, giving you a sense of lightness. Another bonus is that you won’t panic about unexpected visitors because your home is always ready for guests.

6 – It Makes It Harder to Relax

Clutter makes it hard for you to feel at ease in your home. You’ll see stacks of papers, overflowing baskets, and items strewn around. When you see these things, it is hard to enjoy your time.

7 – You Could Develop Health Problems

Too much clutter can interfere with your sleep, and research shows it leads to health complications. An untidy home can cause anxious thoughts that keep you awake at night. If your bedroom is cluttered, it can intensify those anxious thoughts as you lay in bed.

Additionally, clutter tends to collect dust, triggering allergies and asthma. Dust mites are a common reason for year-round symptoms. Minimizing how much stuff you have can drastically improve your health.

8 – It Wastes Money

When you have so much stuff lying around, you waste money. Things will go bad before you use them, resulting in buying new and waste products.

Plus, you must buy storage for everything you own. If you have too much stuff, you’ll constantly have to pay for more storage.

9 – It Can Interfere with Your Relationship

Living with a partner has its challenges, and too much clutter can be one. If your house is always untidy, it could cause tension in your relationship. It can also cause disagreements over the value and usefulness of the items.

10 – It Causes Stress and Disappointment

The unused items around your house constantly remind you of what you haven’t accomplished. These items remind you of failed goals, making you feel stressed and disappointed. There’s no reason to keep the items if you aren’t using them, so go ahead and remove them.

Nine Minimalist Tips for Eliminating Clutter


Knowing how clutter holds you back is only the first step. Next, you must learn to eliminate some of the stuff you own.

1 – Ask yourself if It’s Functional

If an item isn’t functional for your lifestyle, get rid of it. You don’t need to hold onto useless things in your life. Additionally, if an item isn’t functional because it doesn’t work, you can do without it.

2 – Eliminate Things That Don’t Reflect Who You Are

What you own should reflect who you are today, not who you used to be. If your items keep you rooted in the past, it’s time to eliminate them. Keep things that help you focus on where you’re heading next.

3 – Don’t Keep Clutter Out of Guilt or Obligation

You might hesitate to get rid of things if you feel obligated to keep them. The guilt you feel at the thought of parting with it might threaten to hold you back each time.

However, urge yourself to get it over with, and you’ll soon feel better about it. You’ll quickly forget about the item and the guilt after getting rid of it.

You might convince yourself that getting rid of your late relative’s things means you didn’t love them. That thought isn’t true, though, and you know it. Separate the person from their possession, and remember that the love is still within you.

4 – Separate Items That Clutter Your Space

As you tackle the clutter in your home, you’ll need a place to start. Focus on one room at a time, and separate everything into different categories.

Have a place for items you want to keep, sell, donate, recycle, or throw away. These categories give you a place to put everything, helping you start fresh in each room.

5 – Give Everything a Home

Minimalists believe every home item should have a purpose and a place. When everything has a home, you’ll know where to put it as you tidy up. Plus, you’ll be more likely to put it where it belongs right away rather than having it float around the home.

6 – Personally Define “Enough.”

No one else can tell you how much stuff is enough. This decision is yours to make, and it’ll help you determine how much you need to eliminate. When you define what enough means, you’ll start to think about the things that truly matter.

7 – Donate Clothes

You don’t wear every item in your closet, and now is a good time to part with some clothing. If something doesn’t fit you, don’t hang onto it hoping it will soon. Instead, donate it and only keep clothing that fits you right now.

If you have multiple similar items, donate those, too. You don’t need three black t-shirts; it’ll free up some closet space.

8 – Pretend You’re a First-Time Visitor as You Look Around Your Home

You get used to how your home looks and eventually stop paying attention. The next time you come home, pretend you’re a visitor walking through the door. Focus on your first impression of the home, including the cleanliness and how you feel about the organization.

Your first impression should be your starting point for decluttering. Tackle the things you noticed first, and then start the process again.

9 – Ask a Friend to Help

Having someone help, you will make the process easier. Ask the friend to suggest some items to get rid of, and keep an open mind about their choices. If you can’t give a good reason for keeping it, follow their advice and get rid of it.

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Final Thoughts on How Too Much Clutter Holds You Back

Understanding how clutter holds you back can help you make the first step to reducing it. Once you make a change, you’ll notice an improvement in your life. There are many ways clutter holds you back, but you can make a change today.

Don’t waste any time starting your decluttering project. Use the advice here to help you get started, and then follow your intuition on the rest. It might be hard to get rid of things at first, but it’ll become easier as you see how free it makes you feel.