For those who keep their properties looking spick and span at all times, the thought of clutter can seem horrific. And it’s easy to see why: clutter is anathema to someone who prefers a minimalistic and clean environment. But the reality is that over-cluttered properties are now growing in prevalence, in part as a result of the increase in the acquisition of consumer goods.

And in some cases, the problems can go to an extreme – with some people developing a medical problem known as hoarding. It’s no surprise, then, that solutions such as the “Marie Kondo method” or even firms specialising in the wholesale removal of junk are now out there. This blog post will explore the problem of over-cluttered properties, and look at how and why the problem might be tackled.

How many properties are affected?

It’s impossible to know with any certainty how many properties in Britain or indeed around the world could accurately be described as over-cluttered. That’s because people are understandably reticent to share details about their homes, and especially aspects of the maintenance of them which might be considered undesirable or even lazy. 

And there’s another problem, too. One person’s definition of “over-cluttered” is another person’s idea of “lived-in” – which makes it even harder to track the real figures. However, the popularity of individuals like Marie Kondo just goes to show how popular is the idea of decluttering – and hence how common the original problem of clutter – might be. Kondo has enjoyed book sales figures of well over a million, and now she’s a star on Netflix.

What’s the answer?

There are all sorts of possible answers to the question of over-cluttered properties, and not all of them will be relevant to every situation. On a systematic level, it’s definitely the case that a large-scale reduction in the amount of consumer goods produced, sold and bought could help.

Many products are bought as a short-term fix to a problem, either a practical one (such as buying a new tin opener when the old one is missing) or an emotional one (such as buying new clothes as a distraction from the pressures of daily life). A cultural or even economic shift away from this model, which often sees the new purchases discarded quickly, is one potential solution. On a more individual level, it may be worth investigating the prospect of speaking to a specialist “declutterer”. In the aftermath of Marie Kondo’s popularity, many people have now set themselves up as such specialists – and can help you carry out Kondo’s litmus test for an object, namely whether or not it “sparks joy” before it otherwise goes in the bin. 

Can companies help?

There are plenty of companies out there which claim to assist those who find that their homes are overcrowded and over-cluttered with possessions – and for those who can’t face tackling the problem on their own for whatever reason, the companies can be really helpful. Firms offering the ability to rent storage units are the first possibility to consider. These firms are perfect for storing items which are either definitely to keep or whose fate will be decided at a later date. They’re often cheap and easily accessed, which offers the resident of an over-cluttered property a good chance to see the wood for the trees and make some decisions about what needs to be binned. 

Another type of business that has sprung up to assist in this area is the full-service clear out firm. This kind of service can help with the process from beginning to end, and can do everything from physically removing the clutter to putting it in a van and having it taken away. This can be especially useful for those who are clearing out a property of a family member or friend who has passed away and left behind a cluttered home. However, what they often can’t do is make decisions about what to bin: that responsibility is most likely to still belong to the householder or the executor of a will. 

If you’re faced with the problem of an over-cluttered home the good news is that there are plenty of options out there. From hiring a company to help you with the clear out phase to storing some items in a self-accessed storage unit, you can take your time to find an option which meets your needs.