When it comes to what we own, there’s no right or wrong amount of items for us to have in our homes. So, how do you know if you DO have too much stuff? Let’s look at the signs, and what to do about it if it’s become an issue for you.
Knowing if you have too much stuff is not an easy YES or NO. In fact, what’s too much for one person could be too little for another.
It’s like trying to follow someone elses cleaning schedule that they love. Unless you have exactly the same home, cleaning skills, and time available – you’re bound to get a different result to them.
The trick is to work out where your own sweet spot for level of stuff in your home lies, and to stay within those limits.
To work this out, you’ll need to be honest with yourself about a few things – and that’s where the list below comes in handy.
Signs You May Have Too Much Stuff
If you agree with the majority of the signs listed here, then you probably have too many things in your home right now – and it may well be time to declutter.
- You feel deflated when you walk into your home after being out. There’s mess everywhere to deal with, and you can’t relax anywhere without having to sort something first.
- You’re always losing things. It can be just a little thing here and there – but the wasted time is getting you down now.
- You have to search through piles of items to find what you need – even if you know where something is (for example, piles of paperwork on the kitchen counter, or clothes on the bed)
- Looking around your home, there isn’t a clear surface in sight. Our eyes rest on open space – so this constant amount of stuff everywhere doesn’t allow our brains to switch off. It’s exhausting!
- You’re always having to buy things again as you can’t find them (even though you know you have them somewhere)
- You are thinking about moving house to get more space, as you think that will solve the issue.
- Cleaning the house takes forever – because of all the moving / tidying of all the stuff you have to do in every space
- Every time you open a drawer, it gets jammed – and every time you open a cupboard door, things fall out.
- You never have a coat hanger available when you need to hang something back up in your wardrobe.
- Your clothes are so stuffed into the wardrobe / drawers that they come out creased every time you need them. You then have to either wear less than ideal looking clothes, or spend extra time ironing them again.
- You have spaces / storage that you couldn’t say what’s inside… In fact, you haven’t opened some boxes in your house for years.
- You’ve stopped feeling house proud. You used to love your home, but now you can only see the stuff you have – and it’s overwhelming.
- You dread guests coming over. What will they think? Your stuff is now affecting your social life as well as your space…
- Your garage / loft and shed are full to the brim (and you may be paying for an external storage unit as well).
- You tend to stockpile things ‘just in case’ – even though you don’t tend to use that ever growing pile of stuff.
- You have doubles, triples, and more, of a lot of belongings in your home.
- Everything you have has some sort of sentimental value for you – and you can’t work out what the sentimental items actually are – so you just keep it all.
- Your spare room has started to resemble a storage container, and your junk drawer has now become a junk chest of drawers…
Too Much Stuff – Now What?
If you resonated with most of the signs in the above list – what can you do about it?
Here are a couple of questions to think about. They should get you on the right track for fixing things so that your raised stress levels due to having too much stuff can be a thing of the past.
#1 – Do You Really Need Everything You Have?
It’s a fact that we fill the space we have – and so it may be that you’ve just got used to this level of stuff in your home and it’s become your ‘norm’.
As such – you want to start to re-define this ‘norm’ and create a lesser level going forward.
This new level will come with being realistic about what you have, forming a plan of what you want to have – and then actioning the plan to get there.
A lot of this plan will of course involve decluttering each space. Going through each room and curating your possessions one by one so that you end up with only that which you truly want and/or need.
Here are some decluttering tips to help with this stage specifically – that you want to keep in mind:
- Be ruthless and honest with yourself when going through everything as to whether you need to have it any longer. If you don’t really question each thing – you’re likely to end up not letting go of enough to make a difference.
- Keep your end goal in mind. You want to have less stuff – that’s why you’re doing this! Picture the image of each room in your home when it’s clutter-free. This will help drive you on.
- If you get overwhelmed, start with a small area that you’ll use each day. That way you’ll see the benefits immediately, and that should motivate you to do more and more.
- Make sure you group like items with like items – so that you can truly see how much of each type of item you own. That way you can make easier decisions about the amount to keep. If they are spread out around the house the chances are high that you’ll keep more than necessary.
Decluttering really can do wonders, and after it’s done you will hopefully see a huge reduction in the level of stuff you still have, and the issue will have gone.
But what if there are still issues?
Maybe there are items that you STILL want (and need) to keep, but don’t have space for – what can you do about these?…
#2 – Is It A Space Issue, Rather Than A Stuff Issue?
If you’ve decided that you DO need the stuff you have – then the fact that you feel like you have too much stuff may actually not be the stuffs fault at all.
It may be a space issue.
Not having the space to store things properly is a real issue for many of us – and when storage space doesn’t work, it can feel like clutter is everywhere.
There are a couple of ways to look at solving this – and those are to maximise the storage space that you DO have, and then to minimise how much space your stuff takes up within that storage.
Let’s look at each of these in turn…
Maximise Storage Space Available
A lot of homes just don’t have enough storage in them (especially if, like me, you’re in the UK).
This leads to stuff HAVING to be left out and visible, and can make your home feel more cluttered than it may actually be.
At this stage it’s worth taking time in each room to see if you have the right amount (and type) of storage in your home to house the stuff you have.
TIP – Please be realistic with this though – because the last thing you want to do is start to pay to house clutter in your home, and make it easier to house even more stuff over time. You want to get to the right level of stuff for you to feel comfortable – and to make living in your home as easy as possible. Clutter has no place in your home from now on…
Even the smallest of homes can increase their storage – it’s a case of being clever with what you’ve got.
Here are some ways to add additional storage (for inspiration):
- Add a second clothes rail in your wardrobe. You can usually fit two into a fitted wardrobe (one above another) so that you can immediately hang twice as many clothes (longer clothes though won’t fit as the hanging space for each will be smaller)
- Add extra shelving into cupboards where there’s wasted space and the items stored don’t use the height of the shelf well
- Use storage furniture – an ottoman bed, storage coffee table, storage footstool etc… are all brilliant ways to minimise the amount of stuff that’s on display while maximising the space you already have
Minimise The Amount Of Space Your Stuff Takes Up
It sounds a little magical – I get it – but when you think it through, there are LOADS of items that we have that we can still have, but in a different – less cluttered – way.
Let’s explore…. You may well be surprised!
- DVDs / CDs / Books – Swap to the digital versions rather than the physical copies.
- Clothes – Create a capsule wardrobe. Less clothes, but you’ll be able to mix and match more outfits than ever!
- Gadgets – Get ones that have multiple uses as this will save space. For example – a blender can whisk and chop, you can get a brush with a dryer instead of separate ones.
- Go Small. If you can, why not decrease the size of some of the stuff you own. This will automatically reduce the space it takes up, without you losing a thing. (For example – a fold up ironing board, a compact vacuum, smaller sofa…)
- Borrow / Hire when needed instead of keeping. There are probably a lot of things that, yes, you know you may need one day (or very irregularly) so you want to keep it. But is that one time in a year or so worth the hassle and space it takes up every day between now and then? Probably not… so, why not let it go now, knowing that you can borrow or maybe hire it as and when you need it in the future?
Hopefully Now You Can Tell If You Have Too Much Stuff – And How To Deal With It If You Do.
Whether you’re lacking space or need less stuff is a personal opinion – but it’s ALWAYS a great idea to declutter and minimise what you have.
That way you can make the most of the space you have.
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