Decluttering (Part 1) … What is Clutter?

Decluttering (Part 1) What is Clutter? 001

Recently I received a few questions from some lovely readers asking for ideas, tips and suggestions on how to declutter different areas of their home. So, today I’m launching a 10-Part Series I’ve written specifically about decluttering.

Learning how to deal with and get rid of clutter is the first important step for anyone whose goal is to get organised in their home and to ultimately live a simpler, less stressful life.

Over the next few weeks, my aim is to share with you the top tips, ideas and strategies that I am using to gain a less cluttered home and life.

Starting today and in the coming weeks, we’ll talk about the following:

  • What is clutter?
  • How to stay on top of clutter and maintain your newly formed habits

So, to get started, let’s answer this question: What is clutter?

If you look up the Oxford Dictionary, clutter is defined as “a crowded and untidy collection of things” and, although that definition sounds pretty harmless when summed up in just a couple of words, we all know that clutter (and the untidiness it causes) can be so much worse than that.

Clutter can result in piles of paper; unopened and unprocessed mail; old documents and records; boxes of stuff you’ve had stored for months or years; items that you never seem to use; clothes that no longer fit; things that have been broken for ages and are still waiting to be repaired; boxes of unused toys and the list goes on and on.

In other words, clutter can be defined as anything you have accumulated that is excess to your needs. Or to put it simply, it’s “stuff” … stuff that not only fills drawers, shelves, cupboards, boxes and garages but also fills your head and weighs heavily on your heart. Clutter makes your house look messy, takes up valuable space and ultimately will affect the way you feel.

So how does it do that? Because clutter can be overwhelming and when we are overwhelmed we feel miserable, anxious, unhappy and struggle to be positive.

But the good news is clutter can be controlled and you can win the battle. I have decided to rid my house of clutter once and for all and invite you to come along for the ride and join me if you wish. I have already organised and decluttered my main bathroom, you can read about that here, here and here and now I’ve moved in to tackle the office. It’s a much bigger job that will probably take several weeks or maybe longer but I have to start somewhere!

So what do you think, are you up for the challenge?


  1. Looking forward to your series Sandie…love anything to do with de-cluttering. There is something so mentally satisfying when you clear the house of junk, it’s almost as if you can breathe a little easier and you are able to enjoy the things you do have. I’ve seen first hand the hold possessions can have on a person and how the inability to throw things out can lead to a house that almost becomes inhabitable, difficult to clean and extremely difficult to feel restful in (even as a visitor).

    • Sandie says:

      I agree Lynda … I feel so much “lighter” and relaxed when all the “stuff” is gone, so it definitely lowers the stress levels. However, knowing how to go about decluttering and where to start can be terribly overwhelming for some people. Next week I’m going to share my thoughts on the benefits of decluttering and there are loads of great reasons that make it worth the effort. I’ve also had a very close friend struggle with hoarding and that’s always tough.

  2. I definitely have lots of clutter. I wish I had a big spare room to shove everything in! ?

    • Sandie says:

      Try to create some space like I did beside my fridge, then get stuck into sorting and tossing or donating … start with just 30 minutes once a week!

  3. I have lots of clutter, and I kind of like it! I like my stuff, I don’t want to get rid of it but I would like to store it better. I think ‘clutter’ also extends to digital storage, ie photos and documents, that should be culled and organised, as well as things like out of date phone numbers in your phone.

    • Hi Lisa, I think you’ve “hit the nail on the head”. Clutter is the stuff we don’t want, like or need but if you have things you would like to hang on to the trick is to organise it so that it’s stored neatly, is easy to find and is accessible. You’re so right too about digital storage. Things like photos, documents, emails and info on our phones needs to be regularly sorted and organised for the same reasons.

  4. I am slowly going through our house reorganising and decluttering. It is amazing the amount of stuff we have removed from our house, and yet how cluttered I still feel it is. Decluttering is a process. I look forward to reading and learning more on this from you.

    • Sandie says:

      Hi Sarah, decluttering is definitely a process! Although it never seems to end when you first start to consciously exam all areas of the house, I find it definitely gets easier. The best advice I could give anyone is to simply start … set aside some time, choose a room, choose a drawer, shelf or cupboard and start! Part 2 will be published very soon, so stay tuned …

  5. Moving was really good for us in this regard, because we got rid of heaps of clutter. There are still a few areas of the house that need work though. Isn’t there always? ?

    • Sandie says:

      Yes I agree, Jess, it’s an ongoing process but moving house usually does present a great opportunity for us to sort through our stuff. It also reminds us just how much stuff we hang on to that we could probably let go.