Is Your Brain Making You Collect Junk? Here's How to Control Clutter

  • man relaxing after dealing with common sources of clutter

Ahh clutter, it has a nasty habit of sneaking up on us and turning our homes into sources of stress and anxiety. Don't believe us? A recent survey showed around 84 percent of people in the United States feel their homes aren’t clean or organized enough. Even worse? Nearly 90% of women in the US experience anxiety over keeping their homes clutter-free. In fact, some people even admit to avoiding their homes altogether just so they don’t have to deal with clutter-induced stress.

In this post, we’ll explore how some of the most common sources of clutter are actually caused by your brain chemistry and a few simple tips for what to do about it. Let’s get started!

Psychological Causes of Clutter Around the Home

1. Fear of Missing Out

Have you ever come home from the store with a bag full of items you don’t really need but purchased anyway because they were on sale? Have you ever attended a trade show or a conference only to return with a random assortment of freebies and tchotchkes that you know will end up stuffed in a drawer somewhere? You get the idea.

It’s human nature to want to take advantage of good deals and free stuff, but if you don’t actually need what’s being offered, is it really a good deal? In most cases, the answer is a resounding no. So, why do we feel compelled to fill our homes with this stuff? In many cases, it all comes down to FOMO, or fear of missing out.

What to do about it:

Then next time you have a chance to grab a freebie or take advantage of a BOGO offer, ask yourself this question: Does this “thing” make my life better, easier, or happier? If the answer is no, walk away.

2. Fear of Forgetting

We all tend to attach sentimental feelings and memories to inanimate objects. That cheesy souvenir you picked up during your road trip with old friends. The tattered concert t-shirt that doesn’t fit, and reminds you of the first time you saw Neil Diamond. But guess what, these items are not your memories. They’re just clutter.

What to do about it:

Take some digital pictures of your cluttering keepsakes and save them, tweet them, share them however you like so you won't forget about the experience. You can even write a quick sentence or two about why you feel the items are important  and keep them in a scrapbook. This way you can ditch the item without saying goodbye to the memory.

Another great way to reduce clutter? Upcycle those old items! For example, turn those old t-shirts that don't fit anymore into a new memory quilt. Way more useful item, way less space taken.

3. Fear of Change

Humans are creatures of habit. Once we settle into our routines, it can be extremely difficult to break out. Routines are comfortable. They feel safe. They don’t challenge us. Unfortunately, routines can also hold us back from realizing our full potential. How many items in your home do you keep around simply because you’ve always kept them around? How many items take up space in your closets, your basement, your living room, without actually contributing anything to your daily life. These are prime sources of clutter and they’re great candidates for removal.

What to do about it:

Go through each room of your house and look for objects that you haven’t used, thought about or even looked at within the last six months to a year. Make a list and organize it into categories or bring big buckets to sort:

  • Sell – Stuff you don’t need or want with a monetary value.
  • Donate – Stuff you won’t miss, but that someone else could use.
  • Trash – Useless pieces of junk… what else a can we say?
  • Gift – Stuff your friends, family or loved ones will put to good use.

Still Have Clutter? It Might be Time for a Self Storage Unit

If you honestly use the tips above and you still find yourself overrun with more stuff than you know what to do with, a self storage unit could be the answer. Maybe your house or apartment is simply too small. Maybe you’re a collector who needs more room for new additions. Whatever the case may be, there’s a clean, affordable self storage unit near you. Not sure what kind of storage unit you need? Not sure how to fit everything in your storage unit? Contact us today and speak with one of our friendly self storage experts. Call 855-529-8460.

About Derek Hartley

Derek is the Creative Content Manager at StorageMart and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of Missouri. An avid animal lover and Netflix binge professional, you can usually find him enjoying time with friends and family when he isn’t catching up on a show with his dog, Mowgli.

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