DECLUTTER…Is that really a word?

Categories: Organization Tips


                                                  DECLUTTER…Is that really a word?

Have you ever heard someone use the word declutter, or seen it used in some ad or something like that, and wondered: Is that really a word?

Well, it certainly is. Just Google it:

de·clut·ter /ˈdēklətər/ verb  remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place).

“there’s no better time to declutter your home”

[verb: declutter; 3rd person present: declutters; gerund or present participle: decluttering; past tense: decluttered; past participle: decluttered; verb: de-clutter; 3rd person present: de-clutters; gerund or present participle: de-cluttering; past tense: de-cluttered; past participle: de-cluttered]

There may be some debate about what items are “unnecessary”, but the definition seems pretty clear and concise, doesn’t it?

Remove unnecessary items.  If only it were that simple.

Life has become very busy and complicated, and the less-is-more mantra that we’ve heard for years is probably more applicable now than ever.

Go to many modern retailers or restaurants, for example, and cluttered is NOT the image you’re going to see.  Instead, you’ll see simplified displays, hidden away merchandise, and marketing messages that click (no pun intended) right away in your brain.

Kind of funny, isn’t it?  Retailers maintaining a decluttered space in order to sell us more stuff to clutter our own space.  Maybe it’s brilliant instead of funny, depending upon your perspective.

Decluttered is the environment most people desire and strive for, but have difficulty maintaining because all the “stuff” keeps piling up.  You clean up the house this weekend and it’s filled with new stuff by next weekend.  It’s really unavoidable, especially when marriage and kids become a part of your life.  And, if you live in an apartment or condo, the inherent lack of space, especially closet space and storage space, makes clutter even more difficult to manage.  Nonetheless, you clean out the closet, basement, attic, or garage every spring, or maybe more often than that, and you feel REALLY good when you’re done.  For a little while, anyway.

The problem, however, is that you can’t just get rid of all your stuff to solve the problem.  There’s a reason all those papers are laid out on the dining room table.  They’re important.  However, they belong in a file cabinet, which can hold many more papers than you might think in a very small, tucked away space.

The point is that there are ways to manage clutter and make room for what matters (as we like to say at Beyond Self Storage).  In fact, if you read past the Google search definition, you’ll find pages of resources to help you “declutter” not only your home, but your life.

In the meantime, here are a number of reasons to declutter:

  1. So you can enjoy your living space – Eat dinner on your dining room table, invite guests to stay in the guest room, and park YOUR car in YOUR garage.
  2. So you can find things when you’re looking for them – Is there anything more frustrating?
  3. To save your marriage – For better or worse has its limits…Dirty clothes go in the hamper! [alternate reason – So you don’t have to listen to your mother-in-law comment about all the clutter when she comes over to visit.]
  4. To sell your house – The first thing any professional home stager will tell you is to get rid of all the clutter, not only to make your space look as big as possible, but also to make the right impression.
  5. To maximize your business – How can your business operate efficiently if your work space is filled with clutter?
  6. To impress your boss – Does your boss look at your office, cubical, desk, or briefcase and see a company leader or the company pack rat?
  7. Because you have enough stress in your life already – With all the things you have to worry about, does clutter need to be one them?

All kidding aside, every one of these is a legitimate reason to declutter your personal and/or work space, so don’t procrastinate!

Lastly, when you search Google for the word declutter and expand the definition information box to show the use-over-time graph that automatically displays, it’s interesting to see there were zero mentions of the word declutter until about 1970, then a slow increase until the 1990’s and 2000’s, when the number of mentions skyrocketed, which happens to coincide not only with significant changes in U.S. consumerism, but also the advent and growth of the self-storage industry.

Self-storage not only serves the needs of people who are in transition or experiencing some sort of life-changing event, but also the needs of people who live in, or work with, limited space on a long-term basis, so it only makes sense that the industry has grown over time as the U.S. population has grown and our appetite for more “stuff” has grown.

Regardless the amount of space that you have – at home or at work, there’s a balance to having the right amount of stuff, while not feeling cluttered, and there are many ways to manage the clutter in your life or at work.


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