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15 Things Your Clutter Says About You

You can learn a lot from that tornado of clothes on your floor.

Clutter might just look like exactly that: a whole bunch of stuff lying around. But, it can have a much deeper meaning. A sky-high pile of paper on your desk or tornado of clothes tossed all over the floor in your bedroom can actually say a lot about you—and there's a good chance it's something you don't want to hear. Luckily, addressing the issue behind your mess can actually help you dig out of it—both physically and emotionally. Here are 15 things your clutter says about you. And if you find your life is totally disorganized, there's at least one great reason to: de-cluttering is one of the 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence. 

You're Too Sentimental

being too sentimental can lead to cluttered spaces

It's far too easy to hold onto everything that has sentimental value to you—whether it's movie tickets or a sweater your grandma gave you years ago—but there comes a point when you have to decide what's important to keep and what's not. While turning your home into a time capsule doesn't sound like a huge issue, too much stuff can get overwhelming.

So keep what's truly meaningful, and get rid of the rest: Just because you don't keep every little souvenir or note doesn't mean you're getting rid of the memory that goes along with them. Also, do you need something to get you in the mood for some deep cleaning? Try listening to Bill Murray's Secret Spotify Playlist.

You're a Procrastinator

procrastination can lead to cluttered spaces

Sometimes it feels so good putting certain tasks off—until you wind up with clutter all over your apartment. If you tend to have piles of stuff lying around on a regular basis (looking at you, bills!), the reason behind the mess might be because you're not so good at staying on top of keeping things tidy. Sure, procrastinating is fine once and a while—but when it comes to keeping your home clutter-free, it's best to avoid putting things off. And for ways to kick that habit, try 15 Ways to Double Your Productivity in Half the Time. 

You're Depressed

depression can lead to clutter

Not many people realize it, but clutter and depression can go hand in hand—especially if the clutter is out of control. A 2010 study published in the journal Psychiatry Research found there's a strong link between the two—particularly when it comes to hoarding. While the clutter in your home can seem like an organization issue, the study authors found it seems to be more of a personal problem—and it's going to be hard to get rid of the mess until you address your mental health first.

Your Life is Too Chaotic

a chaotic life can lead to a cluttered house

Once you get home after a long week of work, you might open up your front door only to see a tornado of clutter starring back at you. Sometimes life gets busy, and when you have little time between running off to work and dinners and meetings, your life might get neglected—and everything just starts building up. Having too much clutter might simply mean taking a step back and slowing down so you have time to get organized again. Need a pick me up? Check out our guide to the 25 Ways to Be Happier Now.

You're Working Too Hard

being overwhelmed makes you cluttered

When you're overwhelmed, the last thing you feel like doing is taking the time to go through your clutter and get rid of what's not important—and sometimes the easier option is just leaving everything as-is. No matter if it's something going on in your personal life or something work-related, having clutter could be a sign you're feeling like you're in over your head and just need some time to calm your nerves and get your life back on track.

You Have Too Much Stuff

having too much stuff says a lot about a cluttered personality

When your home is overflowing with stuff, clutter is automatically going to happen—there's really no way around it. You can go buy as many of those plastic storage boxes as you want, but it's not going to change the fact that you have too many things—and storing them away isn't going to help. If clutter is taking over your life, stop finding ways to tidy everything up and instead start getting rid of what you don't need. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to keep things tidy.

You're Not Setting Boundaries

not setting boundaries can contribute to clutter

When you're not setting boundaries in your personal life, things tend to pile up at home. And before you know it, your entire house is cluttered beyond belief. Sure, it's nice making everyone in your life happy—whether it's meeting up with a friend for dinner or continually staying late at work—but when your life is becoming cluttered due to not having any time to yourself, it's time to make a change. And remember: the lack of boundaries is just another one of the Daily Habits That Are Ruining Your Brain.

You Have Too Many Multiples

you might just be messy which makes you cluttered

Three pairs of scissors, five boxes of Kleenex, two blenders—seeing a pattern here? When you have too much of one thing, it's easy for clutter to build up. Sure, it might be handy having one blender and one backup blender in case the first fails, but is it really necessary? Instead of having a bunch of extra stuff lying around, figure out what you actually need in your home—and what you can get rid of.

You Have Trouble Letting Things Go


having trouble with letting things go can lead to cluttered spaces

Sometimes clutter comes from holding onto too many things that have sentimental value—and other times you just have trouble letting things go, no matter what it is. Getting rid of stuff can be hard—you never know when you're going to need that panini press you've rarely used, after all. But once you make it your mission to let go of items that don't benefit you, your home will be a lot more livable. And, you'll be happier because of it… even if you don't have the option of making grilled sandwiches on the daily.

You Don't Want to Move On


having trouble moving on the past can lead to cluttered living spaces

If your home is full of clutter, there might be an emotional reason for that. Sometimes clearing out clutter means moving on—it's a step forward. But if there's a reason you're afraid to move on or would rather stay stuck in the past, it's easy to let things build up around your home. Unfortunately, all that clutter isn't going to do you any good and freeing your home of things you don't need could be just the breath of fresh air you've been waiting for.

You Feel Guilty

being sentimental about things can lead to clutter

It's hard enough getting rid of things you feel have sentimental value—but then there's also guilt from tossing things out from your family too. Maybe it's an heirloom or something your sister gave you that you have no use for. Either way, it can make you feel pretty guilty even thinking about taking it to Goodwill. But as long as you keep the things that mean something to you and dispose of the rest, you'll be happy—and when your sister asks why you never use the purse she got you for Christmas, just keep pretending it's lost in your closet.

You're Lazy

being lazy can lead to cluttered work spaces

Hey, we're all lazy at times—especially when it comes to keeping everything tidy around the house. But when your apartment is jam-packed with stuff lying around (and particularly stuff you don't need!) it might be time to rethink your bad habits. Take some time to keep your home in order, and save the laziness for watching Netflix after work in your nice, clean, clutter-free home.

You're Too Nostalgic


Sorry to break it to you, but keeping all your clothes from high school isn't going to rewind the clocks and bring you back to your glory days. And there's no reason to keep all your Beanie Babies—even all these years later, they're still not worth anything. (Still mad about that, by the way.) It's OK to be nostalgic about certain things, but don't let your love of the past keep you from living your best life in the future. Get rid of the things that are cluttering up your home, and keep the items you really love.

You're a Collector

being a collector as a hobby can lead to clutter

While collections should be displayed and enjoyed, sometimes they can get straight-up out of hand—and that's when you know your collections have crossed over into clutter territory. If you're a collector, only keep the things that look good in your home without overpowering anything. When you can't even remember what you have in your collection in the first place, it's definitely time to rethink what you're holding onto. You might feel a slight sense of relief once you start cleaning, keep that up by using the 32 Secrets of Stress-Proof Life.

Yes, You're Just a Straight-Up Messy Person

being naturally messy says a lot about a cluttered personality

Sometimes there's not really a reason for having a bunch of clutter aside from the fact that you're a messy person—and you don't feel the need to tidy up. If living amongst piles of bills, a sink full of dishes, and clothes thrown everywhere doesn't bother you, keep doing you—but you'll feel a whole lot better when things aren't so hectic in your home.

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Tehrene Firman
Tehrene Firman is a freelance health and wellness writer. Read more
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