3 Ways to Know if You Have Too Much Stuff

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3 Ways to Know if You Have Too Much Stuff

Have you ever wondered if you own too much stuff?

Does it seem as if you’re constantly fighting your belongings at home or at the office?

If you’re tired of sorting through piles of clutter, searching through miscellaneous items in drawers, or feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you own, it may be time to evaluate your situation.

In this post, I offer three simple ways to know if you own too much stuff.


You spend way too much time searching for things.

There’s no doubt that it takes time to find and retrieve items from storage, be it a bedroom closet or filing cabinet.

You have to physically travel to a storage location and locate what you need.

But when you end up spending a good chunk of an afternoon searching for your favorite sweater in your closet, well, you’ve got a problem.

You should be able to locate items in your home or office in a reasonable amount of time.

Note the key word here is reasonable: you don’t want to turn your five-minute search for a book, pair of scissors, or passport into a full-blown, five-hour expedition.

If you’re spending several minutes, hours, or days searching for something, it might be time to do some downsizing.

You find it difficult to store anything new that comes into your home.

Buying items for the home, such as furniture, appliances, and linens, is a fact of life. It just has to be done. However, if you’re finding it more and more difficult to properly store new items in your home, you should seriously consider an evaluation of your possessions.

It’s worth taking the time to identify and evaluate the condition of items in your home. Begin by identifying any items that are obviously old, broken, damaged, or otherwise unusable. If so, you can make a plan to dispose and/or recycle items.

The next step is to deal with any duplicate items. You might have inadvertently overlooked duplicates over the past few months or years. Duplicates can be anything from two kitchen blenders, to two copies of the same book, and so on. Keep one item and give away, donate, or recycle the other.

You’ll be amazed at what you can remove from your household when you take a good, thorough look!

Your belongings are not helping you live your life.

Your belongings shouldn’t make your life difficult. You should be able purchase, store, and use items with ease. You should be able to get on with your day or routine without having to worry about where you’ll store something or feeling completely bogged down by your stuff.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things you own in your home or office, it may be time for some decluttering…and for some tough questions. Which items feel as if they are weighing you down or causing you great discomfort? How would you feel if you were to remove or completely eliminate those items from your life? Conversely, which items do you think will help you live your life, right now, to the fullest? Which items would you love to use each and every day?

You might even need to take things a step further and ask yourself what type of life you want to live. Do you want to use your dining room for dining or use it as a storage place for magazines that no longer interest you? Do you want to freely move about your living room, den, or recreation room or have to search for papers in a stack of clutter? Wouldn’t you say it’s about time for a change?

Remember, when you let go of items that are weighing you down, you gain space, and most importantly, peace of mind.

How about you? Do you ever feel as if you own too many things? What steps have you taken to cut down on the amount of items in your home? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2015.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.