A Simple Approach to Living With Less

The Secret to Clearing Hidden Clutter: From Baskets to Basements

Thanks to a world of storage units, bigger houses, and Rubbermaid we are no longer forced to deal with our clutter. We have countless options for storing it and holding onto it for years and years to come. You can organize it into color coded bins, baskets, and well packed boxes but it’s still clutter.

The main problem with storing clutter instead of eliminating it is hidden clutter is one of the hardest types of clutter to deal with.

Once it’s out of sight, it’s far to easy to ignore it. “Out of sight, out of mind” as the saying goes.

Yet it’s not completely out of our minds, is it? When you have a hidden clutter issue, you’ll have these random thoughts or pangs of guilt that rise to the surface.

Something like, “Ugh, I really need to clean out the garage this weekend.” or “Wow, I didn’t remember the basement looking this bad.”

If you’re dumping money down the drain on a storage unit like we did for years, you kick yourself every month you send in that payment.

The Secret to Clearing Hidden Clutter

So what’s the secret to eliminating your hidden clutter problem?

Bring your hidden clutter into the light and deal with it NOW.

Don’t let it continue to hide. Hidden clutter gets its power by staying hidden.

When you don’t see your clutter for long periods of time, it will convince you it is:

1) Important Stuff You Need to Hold Onto


2) An Overwhelmingly Huge Job You Don’t Have Time For

The good news is that is often not the case at all. Just dive in and tackle one box at a time. You’ll feel great at the progress you make and realize you’re holding onto a lot of things you don’t need.

When we FINALLY got rid of our three storage units, most of what was in it was pointless junk. We donated and trashed about three-fourths of it all. We brought a huge pile of boxes into the garage and just opened one at a time until I was done. It didn’t feel great at the time, but it sure felt good when we were done!

You can do it too! Did you feel that guilt rising up inside you the last time you saw your attic? Do you avoid your basement at all costs? Are there just way too many cute baskets and bins around your house full of things you hardly ever touch?

Where is your hidden clutter?

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Article originally published on 01/23/2012

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  1. Great post! I know several people who throw everything in baskets before someone comes to their house and they hide it. Only problem is that the baskets just stack up and get ignored. I had never heard of that before, but people do it. The best thing is to get rid of the stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place and then you won’t have to dump things in baskets to hide. Old letters, cards, etc. are really hard to go through. So are pictures. It is better to face them and then enjoy them or get rid of them.

  2. Perfect timing and it reminds me of what is going on in my bedroom closet. I have had 3 bags of paper clutter, just hanging around. I have been wanting to go thru them but am also one of those people where I need to do it perfectly, and I have to have the right amount of TIME, or I just won’t do it.

    2 days ago, was the RIGHT time. I dug it all out and ended up throwing 3/4 of it away. So why have I been saving garbage? That kills me!! Now I have 3 little folders of SAVE stuff. And a totally clear closet floor. ………..should have done it sooner.

  3. Once I get started on something, I usually find that it just isn’t as big a job as I imagined it was going to be. Except for the garage. Oh dear, it is horrid! I’ve set the goal to take care of at least 2 boxes in there a week. Slowly, but surely, it will happen.

  4. This post perfectly backs up the blog post I put on my own website the other day!
    I am dealing with my front storage cupboard and it is a perfect example of hidden clutter. For me it is hard stuff to deal with because the reason it is in that space is because I didn’t know what to do with it to begin with. Now I am taking the time to go through every box, bucket and bag and I don’t move on until I am done with what is in my hand. It is not a quick job, but it feels so good to be getting it done.

  5. joanna @ I Won't Be a Hoarder Too says

    That’s why I’m getting rid of the organizing products I own. I don’t need the giant tupperwares and drawers on wheels anymore!

  6. My house is small on living space, but boy is there a lot of storage. I’ve pretty well decluttered the living space, but struggle with getting rid of this things I’m holding on to just in case when I have more than enough room to store them in. It’s not so bad that I can’t walk through it or it’s piled up to the ceiling or anything, but if I truly got rid of everything I don’t love or use, well there would be a lot less stuff around.

  7. I am so happy to read this… reminds me of the desk drawer and the box in my closet full of papers. Ugh. And the tool box full of bent nails and duplicate tools. Yikes.

  8. When I ask my husband with help cleaning, this is what he does… : (

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