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The Real Reason Why You Can't Stop Decluttering

Have you ever been on an “organizing” kick? You know you’re on a kick when you find incredible energy to declutter everything in sight. You quickly work your way through the kids’ toys, the clothes and the kitchen. Nothing’s going to stop you from getting the house in order.

Being in this state can be an awesome experience. It is almost euphoric and can definitely become momentarily addicting. Finding the motivation to declutter is a ride that you don’t want to get off of any time soon. And you might even be a bit sad when it ends.

But why do feel the need to declutter? What prompts this new-found inspiration? You might be wondering why you’re feeling compelled to organize. After lots of reflection and observing others, I have uncovered one MAJOR reason why we get on these organization kicks. It’s pretty simple…. we like to organize when we need to feel control over our lives. Yes, it’s all about control!

There are so many reasons why our lives can feel out of control. We may feel like things are spinning because of our workplace atmosphere, our family dynamic, or even our checking account (or lack thereof). And there is very little we can do about it. In reality, we have very little control over many of the things that occur around us. But no matter what happens, we always have control over our surroundings. That’s what making decluttering an easy coping tool.


One of the main reasons why we choose to declutter during stressful times is because it’s an easy way to control what’s right in front of us. We can’t change the weather. We can’t change how others do or don’t do. It can seem daunting to reinvent “ourselves” if we stuck in an unfulfilling career. The steps to meaningful change in other areas of our lives can be a huge undertaking. Why not work on something easy?

Now I am not saying it is right or wrong to distract ourselves with decluttering projects. To me, it appears to be a healthy alternative to buffering with drugs or alcohol. It is what it is, right? But what we do need to do is recognize and be more aware of our feelings when we find the need to purge the stuff.

There are few things more important than being tuned into your emotions. When you start to feel overwhelmed with the “stuff,” you should also be asking yourself what else is going on. This is a cue that it’s time to dig deeper into the heart of the matter.

You start to get to the core of your thoughts and feelings by inquiring within. Start with these questions:

1. Is there an area of my life that is feeling overwhelming?

2. Do I feel a lack of control over any facet of my current situation?

3. What feelings am I trying to buffer or distract from?

4. What is stressing me out these days?

5. Are there any relationships that are causing strain to my emotions?

Starting with the right questions isn’t meant to stop you from decluttering. By all means, go tackle whatever organization project you want. What it is meant to do is make you aware of the reason why you feel the desire. It can help you discover others ways to improve your life besides just the obvious.

I always say that clutter is never about the stuff. It always goes much deeper. On the flip side, feeling the need to organize the clutter is usually not just about the stuff either. It goes so much deeper but only if we are willing to peek inside. What are you trying to control today?

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