Never Miss a Beat

New Year New You: Less Stashing and More Decluttering

Families living in clutter may not realize the impact this can have on them – both individually and as a family unit.




Research shows clutter is a reason for stress and conflict in a family. It can even be the reason for physical illness. When it is time to do something about the clutter, it is important to realize stashing does not equal decluttering.


What is the difference between stashing and decluttering? Moreover, why is it important to do one and avoid the other? Keep reading to learn more.


What Is Stashing?


Stashing is the process of putting stuff inside boxes. Drawers, closets, the bathtub, and even the stove are familiar places where you might find stashed items. Maybe you think, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Things may look clean, but the mess is still there.


The problem with stashing is that nothing has really changed. You may not see the things you have stashed, but you will still have to deal with them. As an added issue, when you need one of the things you have stashed, you will not have any idea where to find them.


If stashing is something you are guilty of, you might like to know that the root cause of it is usually indecision. If you do not have the time to decide on something, you may think it is easier to put it off, especially if your mother-in-law called and said she would be there in ten minutes.


Panic sets in, resulting in stuffing, cramming, and stashing things to get them out of sight quickly. Unfortunately, you will still have to deal with them at some point.


What Is Decluttering?


On the other hand, decluttering is going through your mess and choosing to get rid of things you no longer need or want. You have seen that things are overtaking your life, and you are determined to do something about it.


The problem with decluttering, however, is that it takes much more time than stashing things to get them out of your way.


If you are determined to take control of your clutter, start small so you do not feel overwhelmed by the size of the task before you.


It is best if you start with something like a countertop or the dining room table. The idea is to work on an area small enough that you can complete the task and not get frustrated.

Trust us, you will be so inspired each time you see this one bright spot among the mess that it will inspire you to keep working.


Now, Let’s Make it a New Routine:


Fueled by confidence and the knowledge that you CAN do this, create a decluttering schedule and stick to it.


Be mindful that you will not be able to get the entire house “shipshape” in one day. The mess took a while to accumulate, so you can expect it will take time to make it disappear.



If you feel you must stash something for that unexpected visit, use something like a laundry basket that you use regularly to stash things and place it in a closet.


This will accomplish two things: you will have cleaned up an area to avoid embarrassment and you will have a reason to clean up your stash the next time you need your basket. The worst thing you can do is go out and buy plastic totes or boxes because chances are you will not open them again.


Stashing may be something you are accustomed to doing on the spur of the moment, but if you take the time daily to declutter and organize the things you keep, stashing will not be necessary. 


Happy decluttering!