Is clutter taking over your life? For many folks, it has all but smothered the garage, spare bedroom, basement and all available counter space. Others know clutter is what keeps them from ever wanting to actually be at home.


It’s common for relationships to end over clutter, and yet everyday we take on the financial burden of obtaining more stuff. I’ve seen so many people purchase larger homes to accommodate the vast number of unused things they own, or rent storage lockers even though they couldn’t tell you why they’re keeping the items in the locker.


It’s even becoming common to see people on television who have extreme clutter issues.


I help people deal with clutter everyday and the issues are rarely about the contents themselves.

Holding on to stuff is really the fear of losing memories, and panic about the what-ifs. Some people cocoon themselves with clutter to mask pain; it’s their way of dealing with loss.

My team was clearing out a garage one day this week and as we were sorting and dissecting the contents, we found an overwhelming number of boxed tools and hardware items. We clearly needed a work/tool room, but when I?mentioned it to my client, said she preferred not to have a tool room, because last year Grandpa died, and they had to use an industrial bin to dump all the stuff from his garage and it was a disaster.

So the boxes we uncovered were clearly remnants from Grandpa’s tool collection — and they had to do with the husband’s memories, but not the wife’s. We ended up appeasing both by creating a small, organized work area that is both a functional nook and a sort of memorial.

Conquering clutter takes thought, planning and organization, but it also takes a willingness to address the underlying feeling and issues related to the excess that fills your home. That’s the key to overcoming years of clutter and disorganization.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more, visit or call 416-665-2165. “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”