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Monday, September 8, 2014

The De-Cluttering Survey: Advantages

Photo by: photostock

I asked our twenty participants, “What would you say is the number-one benefit or advantage of de-cluttering?” Here are their answers:

“It is so much easier to keep a de-cluttered house clean. There's also just something so . . . beautiful . . . about walking into an organized, de-cluttered room.”

“FREEDOM! I've seen how clutter can hurt people's relationships. There’s so much responsibility with each little item that you spend your precious time taking care of things rather than people. Also, if there's too much clutter it's a testimony problem, too. I'm not talking about a perfectly neat home; I'm just talking about a home devoid of so many material things. Where is the focus?”

“To me, it makes me feel cleaner and organized. I don't struggle with tripping over things. When I feel organized, I feel better.”

“Not being a slave to your STUFF. Being a good steward. Some of it has to be personality-geared. Some people are more pack rat-ish than others (family members' names withheld—wink). Getting older helps, also. You don't feel the need to collect stuff like you might have when you were younger and starting out. Cleaning is also important. If I can't throw it in a washer or dishwasher, I am less interested—as a general rule.”  

“I hate clutter, so for me the main benefit is that there is no longer clutter, and the side benefit is that I know where stuff is.”

“It’s easier to find places for the things you need to keep.”

“There is less stress on the family and the marriage when the house is neat.”

“Getting rid of stuff that isn’t used in my home usually means it can be used by someone else whether it's clothes, toys, kitchenware etc. Also, it makes room for more stuff! Ha ha! (But seriously around Christmas, I usually do a big de-clutter to make room for new presents.)” 

“Less stuff to keep up with, clean, store, and a freer and less cluttered state of mind. But I don't think de-cluttering is necessarily a virtue in itself. It seems to be a thing now. I don't see a need to regularly look through everything I have to see if I need to weed out a few things, just to do it.”

“It is a wonderful feeling of being on top of things and not UNDER it all!”

"I had way too much stuff. I just didn't know it. I wasn't truly free of clutter until we moved to (the mission field), and I had to sell all of my worldly belongings in yard sales. I kept only books and very, very useful items, photos, and memories. (Most of those are in storage). We brought with us only what would fit on the plane. Only then was I truly free. And, it feels amazing! I felt like I took off a huge burden. It is so easy to keep my house clean now. I know where everything is. It made such a difference. My husband and kids are much happier, too, and I don't spend so much time just keeping up with stuff. Clutter is very time consuming. If I don't love it or use it, it goes! I also pay more for one item and get quality rather than have lots of inexpensive, less quality things. So what I have is nice, I just don't have a lot. (That goes for clothes, too.)"

“I appreciate the sensation of order and lightness.”

 “I don’t feel so pressed in by material things. It allows for open spaces and reduces a feeling of claustrophobia.”

“It is very freeing to not have a bunch of stuff that needs cleaned, sorted, maintained all the time. What we have in our home is what we use, so everything has a purpose. It keeps my attention on what is important and makes me less likely to be ‘looking’ to buy more things or get the latest/most stylish trend. I know that if I buy something, then something else has to go, or the new item has to have a definite purpose to make it worth the purchase.”

“There are so many, but peace of mind must be first. You can find things, you have more room to move about, you have the beauty of more spaciousness—and you don’t need to worry about your children pitching all your stuff in a dumpster when you die (and maybe throwing out really great stuff in the process because they are overwhelmed).”

Three definitions of clutter. “Any possession, habit, thought pattern, attitude, or activity that
            1) you don’t need or use any more,
            2) doesn’t fit or work for you like it used to, or
            3) doesn’t add value and meaning to your life as it once did,” and “Anything that complicates your life and prevents you from living in peace as you live out your purpose.”

The author’s conclusion? “Clutter is an issue of the heart. It keeps us from following Jesus fully. We simply cannot make room for Him when so many other things are in the way.”

From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out, a book by Nancy Twigg, recommended by one of the participants.

What do you think? What are the advantages of de-cluttering? Do you think it's an "issue of the heart"? Stay tuned for some very interesting comments on the disadvantages in the next post of our series. (If you missed the first part of the series, scroll down. It's about people's practical systems for de-cluttering.)


  1. I think it can be a heart issue but isn't always necessarily. So many people have different standards or styles or tolerances that we have to be careful about judging - someone who likes a minimalist style of decorating may look at Grandma's knickknacks as nothing but clutter, but each of item might mean much to Grandma because of the people who gave them to her through the years. But I've seen a few minutes here and there of those programs about hoarders, and, my, yes, something is definitely wrong there.

    I personally love the idea of going into a grandparent's attic and finding the treasures of the years - but then I've never actually had that, so it's probably more like piles of old tax returns and such with treasures buried underneath if there at all. :-D

    1. Tax returns! Hilarious! Thank you for your other comments, too. I agree you can't paint everyone with the same brush. :o) God bless!

  2. As I was writing I remembered something I had used in our ladies' newsletter several years ago. I had been thinking it was a poem, but it's not - it's a bit long, but pretty accurately describes how it feels some times to battle clutter:

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I look forward to reading some de-cluttering humor! God bless you.


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