“I dig old books.” ™
Quotations about Clutter, Organizing,
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.
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
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."
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
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."
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!
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.
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
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.