Why do we keep stuff? Reason #1: Fear

Why do we keep all that CLUTTER? Reason #1: FEAR


Sometimes we keep Stuff because we are afraid nothing better will come along. Sometimes we think we are being “prepared.” Sometimes we just fear the unknown and feel more comfortable with our unhappy, but familiar, lives. Being prepared is a special trap we fall in to — it sounds so valiant. We have a responsibility to our families to be ready for anything, right? We carry 8 different snacks and 5 different toys in the baby bag just to be ready for Junior’s whim. We save boxes for things so we can pack them up to move later, or to mail a gift to a friend at the holidays. We stockpile food from Costco so we are ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.

The intent behind being prepared is well-intentioned, but be careful. As Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan writes in Apartment Therapy: “‘being prepared’ can sometimes be a euphemism for being scared to let go. How much we carry — whether it is on our bicycle, in or bag, or in our home — is often directly related to how little we trust in life to guide us well, and in others to help us out in a pinch.”

Stacy Erickson, owner of Home Key Organization, hears the excuses regularly. As she and her clients sort though piles she regularly hears things like “I might need that later” or “it could be good for a craft project for the kids.” She says “saving stuff doesn’t save you either time or money. The cost of organizing it, storing it, looking for it… it all adds up to more than the cost of rebuying it if you have had to (which, let’s admit, is probably unlikely). It’s just fear making you hold on.”

If you take a leap and start letting things go from your home, you’ll open the door to trust and opportunity. That in turn can help you learn to see life with abundant eyes and worry less about money. What fear are you holding on to in the Stuff in your home?

Hi! I’m Rebecca West.

I’m not your classic interior designer because, frankly, I don’t care if you buy a new sofa. I do care if your home supports your goals and feels like “you.” Remember, happy starts at home!