From The Confessional: The Clutter Is Taking Over And Impacting Our Mental Health

by Karen Johnson

I can still remember—clear as day—moving into my first “grownup apartment.” It was a tiny little space with a small bedroom, living room, and eat-in kitchen. I had a futon couch, itty bitty kitchen table, a bed and a dresser, and like 3 plates and 2 towels. But it was wonderfully mine and I cleaned it spotless every day. Because I could. Because it was like 600 square feet and there were no tiny children with their tiny Shopkins and tiny Legos. And there were no older kids with their school papers and iPads and iPad chargers and 92 pairs of shoes.

There was no clutter in that first adorable little apartment. And naive me foolishly thought, “I’ll always live like this! Living in a neat, clean space is how I’m going to run my life.” Hahahaha.

Fast-forward 20 years. I now have multiplied my square footage of living space by a substantial amount, yet all this extra space has just filled up with crap. Now there are five people with shoes, with papers, with bags full of randomness that get left all over the house. Five people who drink out of cups and only one (me) who seems to know where dirty cups go. Or where shoes go. Or how to put away folded towels.

So yeah, that dream of a neat, decluttered home flew away with the wind long ago. Maybe I’ll get another chance at a tidy, clean little 600-square foot living space again when I’m 100.

I wouldn't mind cleaning, if it weren't for all the damn clutter. How do cleaning pros deal with clutter? I would love to know.

Confessional #25841167

Living with other people’s clutter is going to be my unhinging.

Confessional #25773269

I need to stop complaining over every minor frustration. It's damn hard though. The clutter makes me crazy. I am hopeless at being neat and organized. Hopeless. Having two small kids doesn't help. So sick and tired of living in a shoe box.

Confessional #25778471

Living with clutter is frustrating AF. Sometimes we think, “If I have to pick up one more random toy off the counter, I’m gonna seriously yeet myself off this planet.”

Fantasizing about leaving H and the cute, clean, uncluttered house I would like to live in. Not sure if this is good for giving me hope or bad because it's giving false hope.

Confessional #25792404

Tired of the house looking trashed and old. Want some nice furniture and also get rid of all this damn clutter!

Confessional #25804678

i dream of throwing everything out and going minimal. tired of the clutter and dust. dh thinks i should just move it all every week to dust then replace. i like a clean house, but this is damn ridiculous.

Confessional #25841187

We fantasize about living in a clean, clutter-free house—even if we have to cancel out certain people from those dreams. (Sorry, fam.)

I'm frustrated with my teen DD who expends more energy hiding her clutter and piles of clothes than it would take to pick them up off the floor.

Confessional #25820265

sometimes dream of a clean uncluttered little home within walking distance to shopping, etc. instead i live in a hoard created by dh.

Confessional #25840607

H is driving me nuts. Constantly complains about all the junk and clutter, but 90% of it is his!!!

Confessional #25835462

Decluttering, and I'm getting more and more pissed as I find one item after another that my husband spent lots of money on years ago, and then never even took it out of the box.

Confessional #25786195

It’s super annoying when we try our best to minimize the clutter, but our SOs and kids just add to it. And then of course they’re like “Why is Mom in a bad mood?” OMG PICK UP YOUR SHIT.

Have a video visit with my doctor today. I’m more nervous than a normal visit. Afraid kids will scream, dog will bark, he’ll see how cluttered my house is, freaking out! And I won’t be able have lunch and me time

Confessional #25820424

My motivation for finally tackling my clutter problem after all these years is that I have 2 kids in college and, if they get engaged in college like I did, I don’t want to be ashamed to have their fiancé’s parents into our home.

Confessional #25822909

I am 41 wks pregnant and the floor is just SO FAR AWAY. I don't want things to be this cluttered, but picking up seems so difficult that I am discouraged and embarrassed.

Confessional #25836968

Mom was a hoarder but didn't know it; lots of decorations & clutter. I grew up ashamed to have people visit my house unannounced. Now I hold onto things just in case & feel anxious letting them go. I've inherited this & refuse to pass it on!

Confessional #25835226

Living in a cluttered house can lead to embarrassment and shame, and that’s not good for anyone.

Successfully decluttering my daughter's playroom without just throwing everything away in defeat is the greatest accomplishment I've had in a year. I really mean it!! It's SO clean I feel Marie Kondo would be proud!

Confessional #25828060

That awkward moment when you de-clutter your house and try to donate the stuff you’re getting rid of to Goodwill or other charity thrift stores – only to find out even THEY don’t want your shit.

Confessional #25825782

Been annoyed with my family not cleaning up after themselves, so lately when I 'clean up' their stuff. I just throw it away without telling them. Clutter be gone! The sad part is, they don't even care about the stuff to notice it's more stuff

Confessional #25784972

SO clutters up every available surface, esp in the kitchen. Half of the contents of the kitchen seem to have a permanent home on the counter. It makes me ragey. After 15 years of this BS, I no longer even feel bad about throwing away SO’s shit.

Confessional #25777448

If you can eventually do some purging, it feels really good. There are, of course, pros and cons to a big “clutter clean-out” though. (We’ll leave it up to you to decide if tossing random shit that your family deems “very very special” is a pro or a con.)

Raising a family means dealing with a lot of junk—that’s just the reality of it. But sometimes that junk just gets left all over the place, and no one else seems to see it. And that’s when Mom gets stabby and the trash bag comes out. Learn your lesson, fam. Pick up your shit or expect the wrath of Mom on a de-clutter mission. And if it gets to that point, you best step out of her way or she’ll put you in the trash bag too.