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Quotations about Clutter, Organizing,
Having Too Much Stuff, & Decluttering


Related Quotes      Simplicity      Housework      Consumerism      Prosperity


Welcome to my page of quotes about clutter! Clutter makes me anxious, so I try to keep my spaces usable. But I think it's because I have so much mind clutter that I can't handle the physical stuff. I've heard the word "declutter" used for years, but supposedly it's not an actual word. Merriam-Webster insists it's "unclutter" with a first usage of 1930. The earliest I've found for "declutter" in the domestic sense was 1970. Word quibbles aside, we should all try to keep our physical and mental and emotional clutter to a minimum, for our own well‑being. Except for books, of course! You can never have enough books. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g


Do other people, I wonder, find the same keen pleasure that I do in periodically undertaking a pilgrimage all over the house to wage a war of extermination upon its accumulations of rubbish? ~Chiffon, "The Woman of To‑Day," To‑Day, 1898 January 15th  #declutter


Garbage clutters the house that has no dream. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife


Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. ~Terri Guillemets, "Simple–minded," 1993


Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. ~Wendell Berry ("Prayers and Sayings of The Mad Farmer")


Ahmed told me they were expanding the museum so it could fit more tourists inside, but I think this will just encourage the museum people to put even more old boxes on display. It's interesting to see that people had so much clutter even thousands of years ago. The only way to get rid of it all was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up. Humans have always been hoarders of tat. I think that's why lofts were invented; it's somewhere to stick all the crap we collect in our lives rather than bury it. ~Karl Pilkington, An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington, 2010


Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris, lecture, 1880


Having too many things about us is a certain confusion to the intellect. ~Oscar C. McCullouch, "The Piety of the Intellect," sermon, Plymouth Congregational Church, Indianapolis, Indiana, c.1890


The more you have, the more you dust! ~Robin Bastian, neatnestorganizing.com  [Second part is "Have Less. Dust Less. Live More." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Winter can stand a little cluttering—then what a relief when we unclutter for Summer! ~"Special rooms and their personalities," House & Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, edited by Richardson Wright, 1942


Most of us are inclined to keep too many old and useless things in our houses and in our minds as well. Good housekeepers have an excellent custom of going from attic to cellar, at least once a year, and clearing out every closet and drawer. Some shake out and dust each article packed away in box or trunk, only to replace it and repeat the process year after year. How much better to give away the discarded clothing, the bric-a-brac or picture for which we no longer care. The Salvation Army always stands ready to relieve us of superfluous effects. ~Emily Tolman, "Seasonable Suggestions," 1907


Clutter is found in so many shapes and sizes. We can find it on our kitchen tables, under our beds, in our cars, and in our heads. ~Katrina Mayer, KatrinaMayer.com


 
 
Of course we all have a great many things in our homes that are a sort of accidental accumulation that we cannot throw away, nor do not wish to, but we may at least be very careful to make a wise selection when we place anything new in the house.... We all have things about our houses that we have become so accustomed to that we do not know whether they are good or bad.... Of course I am telling you no new thing when I say that we are inclined to have too many things. If we turn again to our classic standards it would be hard to imagine the accumulation of inharmonious objects from one of our rooms in the place of a few simple ones that adorned a classic interior. ~Alice Helm French, "Art in the Home and the School," in Primary Education, April 1898  [This is actually about decor rather than clutter, per se, but it just describes so well our modern American clutteritis I had to use it here. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Clear clutter. Make space for you. ~Magdalena Vandenberg, Minnie Moo: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat, 2012


"The fact is, wife, I've too much clothing!... the accumulation of years," said Warmheart. And he is not the only warm heart that has felt dissatisfied with having too much when others have been in want and not had enough. ~"The Visitor: A Picture for the Season," The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, 1860 January 14th  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Collect moments, not things. ~Author unknown


Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more. ~Joshua Becker, becomingminimalist.com


If you always add and never subtract, you will eventually bury yourself. ~Peter Walsh


Please give me the discipline to get rid of the stuff that's not important, the freedom to savor the stuff that gives me joy, and the patience not to worry about the stuff that's messy but not hurting anybody. ~Vinita Hampton Wright, Simple Acts of Moving Forward, 2003


The real cost of keeping things is the amount of thought you put in their keeping. If you will keep an old bedstead or bureau, or anything else you never have any use for, and pick it about with you at every house-moving, and put study and calculation as to the place it shall occupy, and worry then because it takes room which you need for everyday purposes, you are putting from time to time force enough on a (to you) useless article which, if properly directed, would buy a hundred new bureaus. In this way does this, the blind desire of mere keeping and hoarding, keep many people poor, and even makes paupers. ~"Sunday Readings, Selected by Bishop Vincent," The Chautauquan, January 1895


Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? ~William Shakespeare, As You Like It [IV, 1, Rosalind]


Too much of a good thing is still too much. ~L.D.C., The Urologic and Cutaneous Review, 1938


I have found that the temple of the undistracted mind must be housed in an uncluttered environment. A basement or garret is invaluable, but they, too, must be uncluttered, even though they hold many essential things used only occasionally... ~American Home, 1945


Get rid of clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you've been looking for. ~Katrina Mayer, KatrinaMayer.com


It is easier to be happy when you are not surrounded by the confusion and the clutter of life. ~David Baird


Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes. ~Terri Guillemets, "More room, more thought," 2005


As with the advent of spring cleaning we clear out of our houses the things no longer useful to us, why not at the same time relieve our minds of worthless rubbish? ~Emily Tolman, "Seasonable Suggestions," 1907


Don't let house or garden climb on your back and stick there. And unclutter your mind from any idea that you have to do a thousand things before other people do them. ~American Home, 1945


Creative clutter is better than idle neatness. ~Author unknown  [Another version I've seen is "better than tidy idleness." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


There is hardly a place where, in the course of a year, some things are not purchased and never used, and where spring cleaning does not unearth them. Spring is the time when the good housewife puts all doubtful things into the trash barrel. ~E.F. White, "Spring Soda Fountain Thoughts," 1908  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Freedom is hiding under the clutter. ~Terri Guillemets, "At home," 2005


Don't just declutter, de-own. ~Joshua Becker, becomingminimalist.com


I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into the clutter that is my life. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


If you are fortunate enough to have room for it, a SOMEDAY pile is a good idea too. You need a place where the boys in your family can pile their old lawn-mower motors, bicycle wheels, scraps of lumber—the various parts that will, perhaps, "someday" make a go-cart, a chariot or a space ship. Such a junk collection can be as important as the decluttered part of the house, but it must be confined or it will grow when you are not looking at it. ~Alice Skelsey, The Working Mother's Guide to Her Home, Her Family, and Herself, 1970


Later is the best friend of clutter... ~MaryAnne Bennie, From Stuffed to Sorted: Your Essential Guide to Organising, Room by Room, 2012


Worry is wasting today's time cluttering up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles. ~Author unknown


The time when most people's clutter surfaces is when they move, and one reason why moving feels like such hard work is that in the process of packing you sort through all your things and decide what you want to take with you and what you don't. You have to deal with all the mental and emotional connections to each object, which can be exhausting. ~Karen Kingston, "Clearing Clutter," Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, 1996


In any household, junk accumulates to fill the space available for its storage. ~Boston's Irreversible Law of Clutter


I will not make a scrapbasket of my mind. ~Author unknown, c. early 1900s


We must get rid of some of the old, with introduction of the new — as so we must exhale as well as inhale. ~Emily Tolman, "Seasonable Suggestions," 1907  [I've actually rephrased and shortened this quite a bit. The original: "Our homes would soon become uncomfortable places to live in, if with the introduction of new furniture we failed to get rid of some of the old. The body cannot be in a healthy state unless it throws off waste matter. We must exhale as well as inhale. And for our best mental growth we need not only to assimilate new thought but to let go the unprofitable and effete." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Having too many things is a burden to the soul, an insult to the earth, and an obstacle course to our spiritual well-being. ~Terri Guillemets, "At home," 2005


Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up. ~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


A place for everything and everything in its place. ~Old saying, circa early 1600s


Eliminating clutter is much more than taking out the garbage every night. Clutter is sneaky and appears both physically and mentally. The physical clutter is usually easier to clean up, while the mental clutter can be more of a challenge, but often they go hand in hand. Either way, you need to clean up your environment and your mind in order to have the peace that keeps you feeling young.... There is also environmental clutter outside our homes that is disconcerting. We are cluttering the planet with so many "things." ~Katrina Mayer, KatrinaMayer.com


Happiness is a place between too little and too much. ~Finnish proverb


We lack the fine-line tuning that enables us to find the wise place between too little and too much. ~Ken Keyes, How to Enjoy Your Life in Spite of it All, 1980


Material possessions: the more you own, the more they own you. ~H.I. Phillips (1889–1965)


You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996


Life is short and Death is continually advancing apace; what need is there then, of providing so much for so short a Journey? Why will you load your self with so many Riches, when the less you have the more free you will be, and the better able to Walk? and when you shall come to your Journies end, you will find no worse Entertainment for being Poor, than those that shall come hither Richer fraught. But you will be less troubled for what you leave, and will have the less to answer for. ~Reverend Father Lewis of Granada, Provincial of the Order of S. Dominick, in the Province of Portugal, "Remedies against Covetousness," The Sinners Guide, translated from Spanish, 1702


The emotional weight of clutter crushes our souls and our lives. ~Terri Guillemets


At its heart, organizing is simply rearranging. And though we may find storage solutions today, we are quickly forced to find new ones as early as tomorrow. ~Joshua Becker, becomingminimalist.com


It is a law working in all nature, through plant, insect, animal, and man, that in order to have and enjoy the new, we must first rid ourselves of the old. If the tree held stingily on to last year's fruit and leaves, and refused to drop them, would not the vents for next year's fruit and leaves be choked up? ~"Sunday Readings, Selected by Bishop Vincent," The Chautauquan, January 1895


There is something immensely therapeutic about clearing your clutter. The reason is that while you are clearing things on an external level, there is a corresponding change going on internally too.... Being clear of clutter is one of the greatest aids I know to manifesting the life you want, and it is absolutely essential if you truly want to know joy and happiness in your life. ~Karen Kingston, "Clearing Clutter," Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, 1996


I love Pinterest. It's electronic hoarding without the clutter. ~Internet meme


The fullest use of time does not mean that we should live our lives under forced draft, make sweatshops of our minds, or keep our nerves taut. The real purpose of learning to employ every minute properly is to unclutter our hours, deliver us of feverish activity, and earn us true leisure. Often it is not the things we do but the things we don't get done that weary us. ~Robert R. Updegraff, "Time for Everything," in The Rotarian, February 1942


The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling. ~Orison Marden  [Multitasking is time clutter! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


You can't reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday's junk. ~Louise Smith


Self-reflection is the first step to decluttering because it's not about the stuff. ~Author unknown


You're the boss of clutter, not the other way around. ~Monika Kristofferson, efficientorganizationnw.com


Clutter is a weight that has built on top of you so gradually, you don't even realize anymore that it is holding you down. ~Mary Johanson, maryorganizes.com


Control your clutter or it will control you. ~Author unknown


Clutter smothers joy, while simplicity liberates it. Clutter makes life complicated, heavy, and wearisome. Simplicity makes life relaxed, carefree, and invigorating. ~Tommy Newberry, "Cut the Clutter," 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life: Living the 4:8 Principle, 2012


Sometimes clean feels empty. A bit of clutter and dirt gladdens the heart and affirms a life in progress. ~Terri Guillemets, "Moving out, moving in, moving on," 2011


People that are organized are just too lazy to get up and look for it. ~Author unknown


I gave my life to learning how to live.
Now that I have organized it all...
It is just about over.
~Sandra Hochman


Replace clutter with freedom. ~Terri Guillemets, "At home," 2005


Our past is like a footprint. It only confirms we were there. No burden on our future does it bear. Bring the rain, clear the pane of clutter. ~Jeb Dickerson, jebdickerson.com


A way up in the mountain region of the West is a little animal called a Pack-rat. This rat obtains its name on account of its mania for carrying off to its hole any odd or striking object that may fall in its way. Each pack-rat's home is in the middle of a vast accumulation of useless odds and ends. None of the objects, of course, are of the slightest use to the animal. Simply it likes them. The collector enjoys his possessions but worries his little life out night and day lest some other rat will steal from his pile. The larger the pile the more pleasure and the more worry he finds in it. Finally he becomes so bewildered by terror for himself and anxiety for his museum that he, perhaps, perishes with them. While the common, sordid rats of the neighborhood, with no property but the fur on their backs, and with no ideas beyond the getting of a living, escape without difficulty. ~Ernest E. S. Thompson, "The Pack-Rat," The Quartier Latin, 1896  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


More quotes for this category coming soon! As soon as I declutter my files ;)  For related quotes, see Housework, Simplicity, and Consumerism. I'm still working on the "letting go" page.  «tεᖇᖇ¡·g»



Page Information:
www.quotegarden.com/clutter-declutter.html
Original post date 2005 October 8th
Last modified 2016 Oct 28 Fri 21:06 PDT


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