If you’ve ever looked around at your spaces and thought, “I’ll never get out of this mess… I don’t even know where to start! I might as well toss a match on it and claim the insurance…”
You might be stuck in the Clutter Loop. It looks like this:
Clear space → start to pile up random stuff until you can’t take it anymore → clean up all the stuff (& wonder why you kept half that stuff) → achieve a clear space → repeat
If you’ve got piles that linger and loom, you already know clutter is a problem. It junks up our homes and offices, steals our space, and leaves us feeling cramped and overwhelmed.
We know it feels better to be in spaces that are comfortable and functional instead of overly full, so we clear away the clutter. Often this looks like a massive purge or overhaul that happens in a short period of time. Just like that, the problem appears to be solved!
Until the clutter returns… often just a few days (ahem, hours) later.
This is the Clutter Loop, and it’s a vicious, cyclical process. It’s exhausting, and it feels inescapable. Many of us have been living in the Clutter Loop for years.
The good news is you can break the cycle. And it starts with understanding what clutter really is.
No matter how useful or sentimental the stuff… no matter how large the piles become or how many of them you have…
Clutter is the buildup of postponed decisions.
Every time something comes into your space that requires some form of action – any form of action – and you don’t do it, that thing stays in your space.
No matter how long it takes, that thing will stay in your space until you finally make the decision and take action.
Think about your home. Where does clutter pile up for you? What kinds of stuff do you have in your piles? Now that you know the definition of clutter, can you see the postponed decisions lingering in your spaces?
How to Escape the Clutter Loop
If you’re sick of doing the clutter dance and want out of the Clutter Loop once and for all, there is only one solution: Stop postponing decisions.
Of course, that is much easier said than done.
Though you may not remember it now, I guarantee at the time any given thing came into your space, you thought something along the lines of, “That could be useful,” or “I might need that again someday,” or “That’s good information – I’ll come back to it later,” or “I paid good money for that,” or “I’m not sure what to do with that, so I’d better keep it.”
But… Was that stuff truly “useful?” Did you actually “need” it? Will you really come back to it “later?”
Or is it just an old refrain that’s constantly replaying in your head? If you’re operating on autopilot, but you don’t like the results your habits are creating, the way you deal with your stuff needs a revamp.
You need a new way of deciding what makes the cut. You need a way of making decisions and taking intentional action, a way to keep you from ending up with waaaaaay more stuff in your spaces than you’ll ever be able to use.
Rather than filling up your spaces with postponed decisions, wouldn’t it be nice to have a home beautifully arranged with things you actually love?
Creating a sanctuary for yourself is absolutely possible – if you break free from the Clutter Loop and keep those postponed decisions out of your spaces.
So the next time something comes into your space, listen. Do you hear yourself saying “maybe,” “later,” or “someday?”
Instead of following the same old pattern, break the cycle, and the ask yourself this question instead:
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I just let it go?
The vast majority of the time, nothing bad will happen if you let something go. Most things are replaceable, often at little to no cost. And “lost” information can almost always be found instantaneously on the internet or simply by asking a friend.
So if you’re ready to break the Clutter Loop, it’s time to start making decisions. Remember:
Every decision you make right now means one less thing cluttering up your home.
Make a decision, take action, and watch your spaces transform.
Your sanctuary awaits.