causes of clutter – seeing no need to change

some systems work for some people and some don’t.  i get it.  i live in that world.  but too many people blame their clutter issues on personality.  it usually comes out sounding something like this: “it’s a mess, but i know where everything is,” “i’m naturally disorganized,” “the mess works for me,” or “if somebody were to clean up this room, i wouldn’t be able to find anything.”

while there may be an element of truth in those statements, some people use their personality traits as an excuse to keep them from living clutter-free.  or even worse, they think disorganization is best for them because they have never tasted order. 

for most of my life, i worked behind a desk with piles of papers stacked on top of it.  my idea of a filing system was just to start a new pile.  one year ago, when we chose to become minimalist, i reworked my office removing all piles of paper from my desktop finding a home for everything.  my workday is so much more productive now.  my desk is freeing and energizing.  i choose what needs to be accomplished each day… not just the paper on top of the stack next to me.  i thought disorganization was the natural order of my life, but i was wrong.  i just didn’t know it until i experienced the other side.

if you see no reason to remove the clutter from your desk, home, or life because that’s “just the way you are,” i challenge you to consider if you have truly tasted the other side.  if not, start small.  minimalize and organize your vehicle… see if you feel better when you drive it.  minimalize and organize your bathroom cabinet… see if you enjoy the freedom that comes from organization.  you just may realize that you’ve been missing out all along…

for further reading, may i recommend “everyone can learn to be organized.

see our full list of “reasons for cluter.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the blog. I’ve read most of your posts already. Very helpful.

    I’m one of those people who used to think “I’m comfortable with the level of clutter I have, I know where everything is” and I did. That was until I got married to a real hoarder. I used to hoard, but nothing like the wife. She also cleans up every now and then, “putting things away”. But then I couldn’t find stuff. So I’m moving in a more minimalist direction. It’s working.

    To those who say “if somebody were to clean up this room, i wouldn’t be able to find anything” – if you clean it up yourself, you’ll still be able to find everything just as easily. It will just be more appealing and feel cleaner. I learnt that lesson the hard way.

  2. Davon says

    Another wonderful article! Glad I found this website. I started a minimalistic way of life about 18 months ago. Took it slowly, 15 minutes a day MAX, then increased 30 min – 45 min – 1 hour a day, 3 days a week, one room at a time.

    The greatest challenge was my home office, with receipts, expired rebate forms, shredding documents, etc. The schedule helped me overcome my laziness, and this exercise took about 6 months to complete, had over 10 years of disorganization, books, clothes, junk.

    Now life is easier, started a budget and paid / paying off debt, my reasoning and cognitive skills improved this approach is highly recommended. Another great website I frequently visit is

  3. says

    Oh my… I am reading through your blog from the beginning and I have to thank you so much for this entry… I curled up with embarrassment after reading the first paragraph, but then realized that it is okay. I am here reading your blog because I am looking to make a change in my life, and the first step to making a change is to see the problem. The fact that I felt embarrassed when I was reading those words was because I was able to see myself in them. I have bookmarked this page to come back and read often as a reminder of that thought process.

    We are going to start our family journey to minimalism in June. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. says

    Hey just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few
    of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

  5. di says

    Most paperwork can be discarded. I only have 2 small shelves for household papers, but most of it is just old taxes.

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