The Reason We Have Urges To Declutter

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The reason we have urges to declutter our life was something that escaped me for many years. My decluttering started innocently enough. It was weird to find myself one morning before coffee, before anything, in my clothing closet emptying it.

What the heck was this about? What prompted me, was it a dream? I remember having a feeling of urgency as I emptied the space. What was the urgency about?


The world often feels chaotic with all the information thrown at us 24/7. Unless I am grounded in mindfulness exercises I can easily get caught up in the madness. When the chaos has a hold on me I feel powerless and stressed out. The stress can cause me fear and anger. This is one of the reasons we have urges to declutter

Feeling this way is something I loathe so I have to make a conscious effort not to. One of the tricks I used, and still do, was finding a task to do, something I could control. I cannot take credit for making this decision because I did not do this consciously. 

The connection to this escaped me for a very long time. I remained clueless about the reason I had the sense of urgency to get that physical space in the closet emptied at that moment. I never stopped thinking about that because it seemed odd to me. 

an image of a big snow bank and all you can see is the bottom of a pair of pants and snow shoes sticking out of the snow


Sometimes the reason we have urges to declutter, rearrange stuff, or organize things happens when we are feeling stuck.

That period of my life was extremely stressful and filled with lots of unpalatable responsibilities. After one of those days, I remember coming home and going straight to the closet to have a calming look. At the time I did not realize the calm I felt stemmed from at least having control of my closet.

This instinct, often dismissed as a passing whim, is, in fact, a powerful force that can profoundly impact our well-being.

Benefits of Decluttering

The act of decluttering is not just about creating orderly environments; it’s about freeing up mental and emotional space which are benefits of decluttering.

The benefits extend beyond a tidier home. Decluttering can alleviate stress, enhance mental clarity, and promote a healthier overall lifestyle.

The Stress of Clutter 

Research suggests a direct link between physical clutter and our emotional health. The chaotic environment created by excessive possessions can contribute to heightened stress levels, affecting both our mental and physical well-being.

Many of us have too much clutter. If you went through your whole house, opened all the closet doors, and pulled out all your unwanted items you would likely build a big pile. Yes, you have a lot of good stuff. Are you using it though?

The stress hormone cortisol is a chemical that helps regulate the way our bodies react to stress. Think of cortisol as your body’s alarm system. 

Chronic stress is not good. I believe living in a pressure cooker environment for as long as I did is a contributor to my poor immune system today.

Is That All There Is?

Material possessions, while initially satisfying, can become burdensome. The more extra stuff we accumulate, the more we may unconsciously feel a void within ourselves.

This void is not merely physical but extends to our mental and emotional spaces. It’s this emptiness that triggers our hidden sense of self-renewal.

a bunch of bright color boxes mushed together that remind me of what a bunch of pop-up ads on a computer screen makes me feel

The Material Possession Paradox

I click off websites with too many ads. Ads ads everywhere! This drives me nuts! Others feel differently and buy lots of the advertised stuff, or the businesses would not continue spending the big bucks buying ads.

Too much stuff makes me crazy. I realize I am not the norm and big business is very glad for that. I prefer less stuff in my living space.

Our culture often equates possessions with success and happiness. However, the paradox lies in the fact that excessive materialism can lead to precisely the opposite.

The hidden sense of self-renewal emerges as a counterforce, urging us to break free from the material possession trap.

More Intentional Life

Having fewer possessions is a choice I make because I prefer living lite. I certainly have everything I need and live a comfortable life. I just don’t see the sense of having a bunch of unused items around.

By living with intention I consciously get to choose how much stuff I want. I make these decisions based on a few things. One of course is financial and of equal importance to me is the level of responsibility that may come tied to this stuff.

Regular Evaluation

Embracing self-renewal through decluttering requires a thoughtful approach. It’s not just about discarding things; it’s a transformative process that involves reevaluating our relationship with ‘stuff.’

Understanding the emotional attachments, and the positive impact that comes from letting go of the unnecessary, and curating our surroundings contribute to less stress.

2 hands are shown, one hand holding a yellow pencil next to a spiral bound note book. On the surface is written time to evaluate

When you are ready to start the decluttering process figure out what your goal is. Take some time with this step.

A to-do list is one thing, a clear and concise goal followed by a plan is a better approach to decluttering.
Whether you have huge piles of stuff or just a little bit, if you feel stressed and/or your physical environment is a chaotic space try decluttering. Try taking a few small steps and see if this helps you.

Help yourself to my free Shift Into Action course which works you through the best way to get through the entire decluttering process. This is a multi module course complete with a workbook and videos.

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A Holistic Approach

As we delve deeper into the realm of self-renewal through decluttering, it becomes evident that this process transcends the mere act of tidying up physical spaces.

The reason we have urges to declutter is about liberating ourselves from the weight of possessions, creating room for personal growth, and nurturing a healthier mindset.

The Unseen Burden of Clutter on Mental Spaces

Beyond the tangible chaos, clutter infiltrates our mental spaces, affecting our ability to focus and think clearly. The hidden sense of self-renewal recognizes this unseen burden, motivating us to strip away the unnecessary mental baggage.

The result? Mental health benefits for a liberated mind ready to embrace new ideas and opportunities.

The Emotional Release of Decluttering

Material possessions often carry emotional weight. Gifts from loved ones, souvenirs from past experiences – these items can evoke a myriad of emotions. Sentimental items no longer, if ever wanted, can conjure feelings of guilt.

One of the great benefits of letting go of items tied to the past can be an emotional release, paving the way for personal growth and renewal.

2 light gray arrows shown on a darker grey color pavement. 1 arrow has the words habits and the other arrow has the word changes.

Cultivating Healthy Habits through Decluttering

The act of decluttering isn’t just a one-time event; it’s a catalyst for cultivating healthy habits. As we become more attuned to our hidden sense of self-renewal, we develop a heightened awareness of our consumption patterns.

This newfound consciousness guides us towards mindful living, making intentional choices about the things we allow into our lives. A feeling of lightness is how I describe this.

Sustainable Self-Renewal: A Continuous Journey

The concept of self-renewal through decluttering isn’t a destination but an ongoing journey. It involves regularly reassessing our spaces, both physical and mental, to ensure they align with our evolving selves.

The hidden sense of self-renewal prompts us to view decluttering as a dynamic, sustainable process rather than a sporadic task.

a chain of stick figures in a circle. The figures are forged in different precious metals - copper, brass, oxidized metal and bronze

Connecting with Others through Shared Renewal

The beauty of embracing self-renewal through decluttering lies in its communal aspect. As we embark on this journey, we often find ourselves sharing experiences and insights with others.

These shared conversations become a unifying force, fostering connections and a sense of shared purpose in our communities.

a male spalshing up from under the water in the aqua blue sea with arms extended overhead in a signal of joy and refreshment


In a world inundated with the constant pursuit of more, the hidden sense of self-renewal guides us back to the present moment. Decluttering becomes an act of embracing what truly matters and to better focus allowing us to savor the richness of our lives. 

It’s not just about creating physical and mental space; it’s about creating space for joy, gratitude, and a profound connection with our authentic selves.

That closet that I urgently emptied started my journey to self awareness. When I look back at that day it was the fact that I had such a fervent desire to move forward in my own life that steered me to that closet. 

I did not know the wise expression then ‘When one door closes another door or window opens.’ By emptying that closet I made room for other stuff and boy oh boy did that other stuff start entering. Cleaning out the physical stuff seems to be a catalyst for making changes.

Our hidden sense of self-renewal remains a constant. Acknowledging and embracing this force allows us to live more intentionally, fostering a harmonious relationship between our inner selves and the external world.


Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed and always a few laughs!

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