Inner Clutter, Outer Clutter

Have you ever gone shopping to relieve depression, anxiety, or boredom? There’s a connection between your inner clutter and your outer clutter. It’s sort of like the old term “garbage in, garbage out.” Our pent-up stress and emotions can lead to impulsive buying.

Inner clutter, outer clutter: Photo of clothing rack.

Shopping Can Be An Addictive Behavior

Addictions usually result from unresolved emotional struggles. People with alcohol and drug addictions are often battling emotional trauma from an earlier time. If you tend to buy too much stuff, and find your home cluttered, perhaps inner clutter is the root of the problem. 

Here are some possible causes for overspending and buying too much junk:

  • You had very little as a child.
  • You suffered from abuse.
  • You are in an unhealthy relationship.
  • You have low self-esteem.
  • You feel the need to impress others.
  • You struggle with addictions.

Our emotions can lead to outward behaviors. If you aren’t getting emotional support from your partner, your parents, or your friends, you might compensate by trying to fill the empty space with stuff. If you tend to worry, you might try to cancel out worry by going shopping. You need to deal with the root cause, not just the outer clutter.

Inner Clutter Is Caused By Fear

The biggest reason that we carry around pent-up emotions is fear. We don’t like to admit our fears. We think it makes us look weak. So instead, we bottle it up in emotions like worry, anger, and anxiety. Then we try to make ourselves feel better through unhealthy behaviors that only give us temporary satisfaction. So how can you break this cycle?

  1. Self-awareness: You need to take an emotional inventory. Be honest. Dig deep. Do you have inner clutter that causes you to feel unhappy or unsatisfied? Are you carrying around old fears? Are you harboring resentment? When you become aware of your baggage, you can begin to empty the bags and throw out the trash. 
  2. Discipline: Once you are aware of the problem, you need the discipline to make a change. This can be tough. Imagine yourself getting ready to buy something you don’t need. This is when you have to remind yourself that it’s your old baggage moving you to take an undesirable action. 
  3. Redirection: This is the biggest key to ridding yourself of any bad habit. If bad habits are due to inner clutter, they can be removed by redirecting your energy to a more positive habit. You need something to take the place of your buying habit. Perhaps a hobby: music, exercise, writing. Removing the outer clutter could also replace the desire to get more stuff.

Take Away Outer Clutter For More Inner Peace

Sometimes I have the opposite problem. It’s not the inner clutter leading to outer clutter. It’s the other way around. When my space begins to get messy, I get anxious and stressed. I’ve discovered that removing my surroundings of clutter brings peace and contentment. 

It works both ways: When you remove the inner baggage you give yourself the strength to deal with the outer clutter. In turn, when you get rid of excess stuff, you feel more at ease to continue your emotional work.

Inner Clutter, Outer Clutter: Find Peace In The Process

Remember, if we expect to find happiness in the outcome of something, we are often disappointed. It’s the process of change itself that brings peace and happiness. It’s continual. You don’t just make a trip to the dump and then feel better forever. It’s a lifestyle. Buy less. Live with less. Do more of the things you love with the people you love.

Are you ready to clear the clutter?

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