The Clutter Crisis: How We Accumulate SO MUCH Stuff in a Year

Clutter Crisis- How we Accumulate So Much Stuff in a Year

How many times this year have you said any of these phrases, or a similar version?

  • “It’s JUST a little shopping spree. It was too good of a deal to pass up!”
  • “It’s JUST my child’s birthday party. She’ll only be this age once, so I want to get her some really special gifts.”
  • “It’s JUST a few bags of free stuff I got from the neighbor. Can’t pass up a good freebie!”
    “It’s JUST a souvenir. I want to always remember this special vacation!”
  • “It’s JUST Christmas. It only happens once a year, and I want to spoil my family.”

True, when we’re in the moment, it feels like a one-time event that makes us want to splurge. But the hard truth is, it’s never JUST a one day or one-time occurrence. 

These sort of events happen ALL YEAR ROUND. 

We are CONSTANTLY provided with “opportunities” for more clutter to enter our homes.

As soon as one clutter-producing event ends, the next one begins.

Tired of battling with clutter? Decluttering is just one part of the equation. The other part is STOPPING the flow of clutter from coming into your home in the first place.

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In order to do this, it’s incredibly important for you to understand just how easily clutter can enter your home.

Because once your eyes are open to all the ways clutter enters your home, you can make changes to prevent it from happening.

So today I’d like to introduce you to a concept I refer to as Clutter Mountain.

RELATED: The BEST Way to Start Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed

A Year of Clutter: AKA Clutter Mountain

It feels innocent enough, bringing one or two new things into your home here and there. 

But when you consider ALL the clutter producing events in a year, we’re not just talking about one or two new things. We’re talking about HUNDREDS of new things EVERY YEAR! 

And the more family members you have, the more this number increases.

By the time the year is through, you’ve accumulated a mountain of stuff, aka Clutter Mountain!

A Year of Clutter: aka Clutter Mountain

Here are some of the major ways clutter enters our homes each year:

Holidays & Seasons:

These days, it seems every holiday is accompanied by some sort of gift or swag to go along with it. And here’s the thing with holidays, it’s not JUST the gifts that are given/received, it’s also the decorations, outfits, accessories, and other stuff that goes along with each one.

  • New Year’s
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Spring
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Summer
  • Fourth of July
  • Fall
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
  • Winter


Celebrations can be quite the clutter-filled affair. Whether you’re hosting (and likely receiving gifts), or you attend someone else’s event (and likely leave with party favors/swag), there’s a good chance you’ll be bringing home something that’s going to add to the clutter load in your home.

  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Parties
  • School events
  • Weddings
  • Bridal/baby showers
  • Sporting events
  • Vacations

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This is a big source of clutter for so many people. We buy a lot of stuff because we’re afraid of missing out, whether it’s an unbeatable price or limited quantity. FOMO makes us buy a lot of stuff we don’t truly need!

  • Store sales
  • Limited quantity
  • Yard sales
  • Online shopping
  • Fundraisers
  • BOGO

Free Stuff:

Perhaps the biggest downfall of all, free stuff. Free stuff is SO hard to pass up, because it’s FREE! And who doesn’t love free stuff? But if that free stuff isn’t something you truly need and use, it’s only adding to the clutter in your home.

  • Free samples
  • Giveaways
  • Hand-me-downs
  • Free stuff from friends & family
  • Donations
  • Swag bags
  • Prizes


It seems so fun and exciting when you sign up for something like a subscription box. It’s like treating yourself to a little present every month. But the reality is most subscription boxes fill your home with more stuff you don’t need and drain your bank account in the process.

  • Magazines, newspapers, & catalogues
  • Subscription letters in the mail
  • Subscription boxes (books, clothes, beauty, food, etc.)
  • Subscribe & save/automatic subscriptions

Each event feels small when you think of it by itself. But NONE of these events actually happens by itself.

They are ALL connected. And they ALL. ADD. UP.

By the time we’ve made it to the end of the year, we’ve accumulated a mountain of clutter.

And when we repeat this cycle year after year, our clutter gets out of control. Our homes are overflowing with so. much. stuff.

RELATED: 12 Serious Signs You Need to Declutter Your Home

Is it any wonder that we feel so overwhelmed and stressed out by all the stuff in our homes?!

So now that your eyes are open to how easily clutter can enter your home, what can you do?

Break the Clutter Cycle

Quite simply, you need to STOP or SLOW the flow of clutter coming into your home.

When you significantly lessen the amount of stuff coming into your home, it will help break the clutter cycle.

You’ll have less stuff coming into your home, and you’ll be able to deal with the stuff that’s still in your home more effectively.

Here are a few ways to help stop the influx of stuff from coming into your home:

  • Say “no thank you” to free stuff you don’t truly need.
  • Unsubscribe/turn off the subscriptions.
  • Do less shopping & avoid impulse purchases.
  • Celebrate birthdays & holidays with less focus on “stuff.”
  • Have conversations & set guidelines with your family about bringing new stuff into the home.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of my FREE clutter-free shopping pack! It includes a list of questions to keep with you while you’re shopping to help limit buying stuff you don’t actually need.

Get your FREE shopping pack!

Cut off clutter at the source & STOP buying stuff you’ll regret with this FREE clutter-free shopping pack!

Stopping the flow of stuff into your home is hard, but crucial!

If you declutter your home, but don’t stop the stuff from coming in, all that hard work will be for nothing! And you’ll be right back where you started, staring at piles of stuff everywhere and feeling completely overwhelmed in your own home.

RELATED: The Slippery Slope of the “1 In, 1 Out” Rule of Decluttering

This is something that takes time. These habits have become ingrained in you, and a normal part of your routine. They won’t change overnight.

But if you make an effort, they WILL change. Every time you say “no” to clutter coming into your home, you are breaking the cycle.

At first it will seem hard, maybe even painful. But eventually, as you start to say “no” more and more, it will become easier.

When you start making clutter-free choices a regular habit, then those are the things that will become ingrained in you and a regular part of your routine.

They’ll become your default. And THAT’S how you win the battle against clutter!

RELATED: The BEST Way to Start Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed


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