Household Chaos: Why Can’t I Keep It Together?

In a world filled with gadgets, programs, containers, organizers, and cleaning products designed to help us keep our space all perfect and shiny, many of us continue to be covered up in chaos. Years ago, when I worked as a professional organizer, I saw over and over again how absolutely ineffective it is to search for an organizing solution when what you have is too much stuff.

Yes, I said it. We have too much stuff. Not all of us but most of us, and I’ve never met a person who needed a better way to organize their six worldly goods. Everybody is trying to organize their 30 books on a shelf that holds 18 or even 24, and it’s not going to work. But, we keep searching for the special trick, or the right amount of time, or the perfect physics-defying organizing product to make it work. There just isn’t one. It’s either going to take more space or less stuff, and most people aren’t prepared to relocate.

In the Sick of Being Stuck program, the organizing process is second. First, we release, release, release. And in the spirit of full disclosure, this isn’t super-secret, crafty-Christy, organizing magic I discovered. The laws of physics have been in motion since the beginning of time, and having more stuff that you have room to effectively store it is a problem.

For most of the people I work with, there sincerely isn’t room enough in their space for both the stuff and the life they wish to be living.

They want to be able to really live in their space, not just sleep there or sit there. What about having a dinner party? Is there room for family game night? Do you have the space to create your art or prepare food that nourishes your body? And most importantly, for me at least, is there room to dance? Just being able to fit in a space doesn’t mean you can actually live there.

The problem with this, of course, is that there is no industry in the less is more mentality. I mean, sure, I can make a few dollars teaching a class or writing a book about how to let go of that which no longer serves you but… there’s nothing to manufacture there. What about color coordinated baskets, walls of hooks, and the almighty Rubbermaid storage empire?

What will they make if we stop trying to fit our too much stuff into our homes in a way that looks pretty, makes sense, and is maintainable? Or, for that matter, what will they make if we stop buying all of that stuff in the first place? Oh, whatever, that’s a battle for another time. Or is it?

People who come to my classes are here because they are stuck, and often their physical space is all cluttered up and stuck, too. We get in this position because of two things. They have a tendency to over-consume (often in an attempt to make themselves feel better) and they under-release (often because they are longing for a sense of security that the stuff doesn’t actually bring).

To live more in alignment with our integrity, we have to tend to both ends of that equation. First, it’s about feeling what needs to be felt — and perhaps changing what needs to be changed — instead of distracting ourselves with a trip to the mall or the thrift store. And second, it’s about actually maintaining our space by periodically releasing that which no longer serves us. Once that stuff to space ratio is balanced, organizing and cleaning are never the crisis they once appeared to be.

When we live in balance, life becomes manageable.

That’s the bottom line we keep coming back to, isn’t it? That’s because it works, and we all just need something that works.
If you’d like more support on this path, a new SOBS class is beginning soon. Visit for more information.



Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Justine G.
Justine G5 years ago

This definitely is a problem for me. In addition to all the sentimental stuff, I have a hard time not acquiring stuff that I think is cool (not useful, just interesting for display or future project, etc). I need to make a stronger effort with clutter in addition to getting my work-life balance under control.
Deep breath.

june t.
june t5 years ago

I always feel stuck in a too small apartment with too much clutter. I am slowly in the process of clearing things out, a little at a time. My sister in law's mother was a hoarder, she passed away last year and the job of cleaning out her home was truly daunting.

I'm not sure at what point your home goes from being merely cluttered to being the home of a hoarder. In any case, I don't want to become a hoarder. Thank God for computers. I can store all kinds of notes and web pages of info that would otherwise be piles of papers and things. Still struggling with getting rid of clothes that have "sentimental value" but haven't been worn for how many years. Thanks for the article.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago


Laura M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks, this is good advice!

Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you Christy.

To all of those readers just stumbling across this post and this author for the first time: sit up, read and take to heart.
This woman can really help. Even if you only read her many well written and presented blogs and articles. I'm sure you would get even more through one of her coaching options. I took half-hearted part in her free coaching month last September, and I'm telling you, I've never looked back.
So much room and energy for new things (and hardly any of them physically space filling ones) has been made - I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it myself.
And if you are so inclined, combine Christy's work with Erica Sofrina's. The combination is, I guarantee you, mind blowing.

Christy - thank you, and I'm looking forward to your next offering for us.

Faith Billingham
Faith Billingham5 years ago

thank you for this article!

Zaida T.
Zaida T5 years ago

I recently sold or donated my possessions over the course of a year. I went through everything, allowed myself a trip down memory lane and then shredded everything. Anything I could not bear to let go of, I scanned and saved on a hard drive, and then shredded. Letting go of the old stuff filling up my space and mind was cathartic and left me feeling free to finally realize my dream of moving abroad. It's one of the best things I've done, and I will do my best to minimize my possessions from here on out. Try it :)

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

My life of possessions along with my home is totally uncluttered as I can not stand nick knacks and papers cluttering up things. I have to have clean lines and space to move. Therefore, the only full place (Still neat and organized) is my clothes closet. To which I don't mind, as my walk in closet, fortunately has a door!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

thank you