Three Ways Clutter tries to creep into your Home

Clutter is very sneaky. Everybody knows that. It tries everything to creep into your home without you even noticing. It is like dust that settles on surfaces right after you cleaned them. But no more! Know thy enemy to be able to beat them. Here are three strategies that it uses frequently to trick you and actions you can take against them.

1. It tells you that you could still use it someday and it is too good to get rid of

And that strategy works best with people whose grandparents went through very rough economic times. I am speaking of World War II and the great depression. People depended on stretching every tiny resource they had. And in general that is very sustainable. It helps your retirement plan and the environment. But when our houses are full of stuff we don‘t even need, it is not very helpful to think about the lessons our lovely grandparents taught us about holding on to everything because you might need it someday. Yes, we can wear our socks until they have holes in them and be proud. (A very European thing!) But we don‘t need to hold on to every dusty plastic banana box that nobody‘s been using for years.

So here is what you can tell your clutter if it uses that sneaky strategy:

„Dear [insert your clutter’s name], thank you for your time here and for serving me. Now it is time for you to retire and for us to part ways. I wish you all the best.“

Marie Kondo would certainly be proud of you for that level of appreciation.

2. It makes you feel guilty because it came to you as a Gift

Can you see that evil grin in your clutter‘s little face? Yeah, that‘s it‘s true nature. It can be wrapped up in the most beautiful gift wrap. And look so innocent with it‘s pink bows. The truth is: That kind of clutter is the most dangerous! Why? Because it uses your love for and connection to the people in your life as a hostage. It keeps telling you that you can‘t get rid of it because you would betray the person who gave it to you. Be strong! Those are nothing but lies! The clutter is very desperate to stay and knows how to get people. But you don‘t have to keep every wax flower your neighbor gives you for Easter. The gift was meant for you. To bring you joy. And now it is one of your belongings and you are free to do whatever you want with it.

You don‘t have to be rude to that clutter, just because it chooses to be mean to you. You can say your goodbye in a respectful manner.

„Dear [insert your clutter’s name], thank you for having been the messenger of warm wishes. Unfortunately we two are not compatible so it is time for me to find you a new home.“

As prevention is the best medicine, let the people in your life know what they can give you instead of clutter. ‚Nothing‘ is not a good option as most people want to show you their affection with some material good and you can’t change that. So consumables can be great. Everyone has to eat and if you tell people about something fancy you like, they are likely to get it for you. That organic lemon infused olive oil, for example. Or those luxurious dried dates. And what about the tea roses you wanted to try for a while but you didn‘t dare to spend that much money on tea? Yummy and a gift you would actually enjoy.

3. It is shiny and new and makes you feel a certain Way

That‘s a classic one. And the one you have the most control of. How often do you buy something that you didn‘t intent to buy? But then it smiled at you in the store/through your screen and you felt some kind of special. I am not speaking of that ice cream you bought because you were so frustrated with the world around you. (Of course that‘s a completely fictional example and never happened to me personally.) More that top that looks kind of cute but that doesn‘t match any of your bottoms. Or that new set of throw pillows in the trending color of the season. And how often have you been disappointed with the quality? Or completely forgot that you bought that thing after two weeks? Save your time and frustration because I can tell you: You have been manipulated to buy that stuff.

Sounds a little bit like Conspiracy Theory but is actually Science

The marketing and advertisement industry is huge and they conduct scientific studies to get us to buy truly life changing things like papaya ball scoops. They know exactly that they don‘t have to sell the product to us but a certain feeling. (Be that great cocktail party hostess that everyones admires!) Did you know that Sigmund Freud‘s morally questionable nephew Edward Bernays visited his famous uncle to learn as much as he could about the human unconscious to then be able to manipulate the masses? He was not only the father of modern public relations, political propaganda and psychological warfare. But he also introduced consumerism to the US and promoted a campaign that claimed cigarettes to be feminist. Oh Edward, you naughty naughty boy.

So even if your hard earned money doesn‘t end up in his pockets anymore, somewhere out there is some kind of Edward Junior who designed a campaign to give you a certain feeling and get you to spend that money on that ‚kind of cute‘ fast fashion top. And after that shiny newness wears off – most times very quickly – and you feel emotionally sober again, you ask yourself what you were thinking.

My solution for you would be the following: Don‘t talk to that Clutter at all!

You can smile politely or ignore it completely… like you would with a random stranger on the street. If you feel tempted to grab something you don‘t need, leave the shop or that section immediately! And ask yourself what kind of feeling it would provide you with in that moment. Do you feel sad and need comfort? Or worry and want to distract yourself? Or maybe you are just bored and want some excitement. After you identified that feeling you wanna have, try to get it in a more sustainable way. Meet a friend, go for a walk or start a new hobby. Just don‘t spend your money on some crap that you don‘t need. (And if you absolutely can‘t help it, make sure that you can return it later.)