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Let’s play a game called the “Clutter Game”. Let’s pretend that over the course of the next month, you have to actually use all the stuff that is currently in your house. You have to wear every piece of clothing, eat off of every dish, use every towel and sheet, and read or watch every single book or movie!
The clutter game is a way to learn how much hassle all your STUFF is costing you.

That’s pretty ridiculous, isn’t it? But even if you stretched it out to a year, what percentage of your “stuff” do you think you would actually use?  Probably between twenty and fifty percent – that’s what the clutter experts say.  This means that there is a BUNCH of stuff in your house that is just taking up your space.

When you think about it, that is how possessions earn their keep, by providing us with comfort and convenience and by serving some useful purpose. But if you’ve got a whole house full of “freeloaders” who aren’t pulling their weight, they are costing you money.

You have to own a larger house to store them. Some people even rent additional storage spaces because they’ve outgrown their houses.  Shoot, if we only kept the stuff we “really” needed, we could probably live in a camper.  Instead, our houses just get larger and larger, along with the corresponding mortgage payments.

To me, it’s hard to maintain your pace of mind with too much clutter around.  You and your family deserve a comfortable, uncluttered space where you can relax.  Too much stuff is just overwhelming and makes you feel guilty.  Focus on the stuff that brings you joy instead.

How much time do you waste messing around with it?  Sometimes you end up spending a whole Saturday cleaning the house or doing the “stash and dash” for company? That’s a lot of time and effort this excess stuff is costing you.

For me, it can be a big shame issue too. You feel so embarrassed when someone drops by and your house is all messy from your “freeloaders” taking up every spare inch.  I hate that one.  You just want to sink into the carpet and die. Not to mention the conflicts with your children, spouse, or mother! More than one marriage has ended because of conflicts over messy homes.

Wow, I’ll bet you’re really looking at your freeloaders with new eyes, aren’t you?

Let’s do one more game. Mentally estimate what percentage of your house is filled with your freeloaders – everything from old broken toys, clothes that don’t fit, stuff hiding out in the garage, books you aren’t ever going to read, etc. Be honest about it.  Now mentally pack it in boxes and stack it up in one (or two) rooms of your home. Estimate what percentage of your square footage that would represent.

Let’s say it’s 10%. If your house payment is $1500, you are paying $150 a month to keep all that clutter! If you’re not getting $150 worth of joy out of it, I suggest you start sending that stuff out into the world to go freeload off of someone else!

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12 Comments on Let’s Play The Clutter Game

  1. That would be quite a challenge, indeed! I’m realizing all over again how much stuff I have as I try to get my daughter to take her stuff to her new apartment… which is tiny. My husband actually moved everything he owned in a 4 door sedan when we got married. Wow, how times have changed!

  2. Love this! When I downsized by half, I let a lot of stuff go! And I don’t really miss any of it, except my books. But they had been in moving boxes for 6 years, so I guess I really don’t miss them that much.

    • I was just thinking the same thing about my CD’s today. I spent so much time getting them all organized and catalogued, but I don’t think I’ve listened to any of them in years. I should probably dump most of them. I can always get them at the library if I really want them.

  3. I LOVE purging. I go through my closet at least 4 times a year and reassess what I really need and USE. I’ve gotten pretty cut throat. Less is more!

  4. It should be mentioned that the time it took you to accumulate will be relational to the time it takes to declutter unless you have help.When starting Avoid emotionally charged items. Focus on the clear cut decisions and take advantage of the successful forward momentum they provide. Save those things you waste time on in perseveration for a day when you can ask a friend with clear unemotional attachments to help you decide what to get rid of.
    And most of all stay positive, speak positively to yourself in your mind. You’ll find your more willing to tackle it again if its not a negative place to be.
    Let go of guilt ,self criticism, negative self talk that’s keeping you procrastinating.
    You aren’t alone!.You can do this! If you need help …..ask a positive friend to accompany you 🙂

  5. Hi Adrian,
    everything said in this post rings very true to my house! I have a lot of work that needs to be done.
    Thank you for stopping over and commenting 😀
    I am officially a new follower and hopefully you can help push me to get my house decluttered and looking good!
    Keia @ Improving Me With Keia Lee

  6. It’s a great way to think about your clutter when you factor the time thing in. How much time it would take you to listen to every CD you own, for instance. And I think it highlights a very human tendency. We all like to think we have much more time in a lifetime than we actually do, and we keep things for that time when we finally are going to get down to oil painting or surfing or whatever, which never actually materialises. When I find myself doing this, I ask myself which lifetime I’m saving it for, because I’m not going to have enough time in this one!

  7. I totally agree. But I can’t talk my husband into letting me get rid of the books he used 30 years ago in college. Plus lots of other stuff he doesn’t use. I could come up with more storage space in my house if I could just get my hands on my husband’s stuff

  8. Oh my god I don’t even wanna no how much rent I am paying for all the freeloaders in my house! But seriously, thinking about it like that makes you realize how bad it’s gotten and makes you want to take action!

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