Quotes about Decluttering & Getting Rid of Stuff

Welcome to my page of quotations about decluttering and getting rid of extra stuff by donating, selling, or trashing it. I’ve heard the word “declutter” used for years, but supposedly it’s not an actual word. Merriam-Webster insists it’s “unclutter” with a first usage of 1930. The earliest I’ve found for “declutter” in the domestic sense is 1970. Word quibbles aside, I hope you enjoy the quotes!  SEE ALSO:  Having Too Much Stuff, Mental & Emotional Clutter, Organizing & Storage, Good Clutter, Clutter & Simplicity  —ღ Terri

Do other people, I wonder, find the same keen pleasure that I do in periodically undertaking a pilgrimage all over the house to wage a war of extermination upon its accumulations of rubbish? ~Chiffon, “The Woman of To-Day,” To-Day, 1898

Winter can stand a little cluttering — then what a relief when we unclutter for Summer! ~“Special rooms and their personalities,” House & Garden’s Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, Richardson Wright, editor, 1942

Most of us are inclined to keep too many old and useless things in our houses and in our minds as well. Good housekeepers have an excellent custom of going from attic to cellar, at least once a year, and clearing out every closet and drawer. Some shake out and dust each article packed away in box or trunk, only to replace it and repeat the process year after year. How much better to give away the discarded clothing, the bric-a-brac or picture for which we no longer care. The Salvation Army always stands ready to relieve us of superfluous effects. ~Emily Tolman, “Seasonable Suggestions,” 1907

Clear clutter. Make space for you. ~Magdalena Vandenberg, Minnie Moo: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat, 2012

It’s easy to accumulate things, but hard to let go. Trust me — if you always add and never subtract, you will eventually bury yourself. ~Peter Walsh, It’s All Too Much! Live a Richer Life with Less Stuff, 2007

Please give me the discipline to get rid of the stuff that’s not important, the freedom to savor the stuff that gives me joy, and the patience not to worry about the stuff that’s messy but not hurting anybody. ~Vinita Hampton Wright, “A Little Prayer for the Next Step,” Simple Acts of Moving Forward, 2003

Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing — the reason they can fly.
~Mary Oliver, “Storage,” Felicity, 2015

Get rid of clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for. ~Katrina Mayer, KatrinaMayer.com

There is hardly a place where, in the course of a year, some things are not purchased and never used, and where spring cleaning does not unearth them. Spring is the time when the good homeowner puts all doubtful things into the trash barrel. ~E. F. White, “Spring Soda Fountain Thoughts,” 1908  [Or donated or yard-saled, of course! Text a little altered. —tg]

Freedom is hiding under the clutter. ~Terri Guillemets, “At home,” 2005

Don’t just declutter, de-own. ~Joshua Becker, becomingminimalist.com, 2012

Later is the best friend of clutter… ~MaryAnne Bennie, From Stuffed to Sorted: Your Essential Guide to Organising, Room by Room, 2012

We must get rid of some of the old things, with introduction of the new — as so we must exhale as well as inhale. ~Emily Tolman, “Seasonable Suggestions,” 1907  [modified —tg]

It is a law working in all nature, through plant, insect, animal, and man, that in order to have and enjoy the new, we must first rid ourselves of the old. If the tree held stingily on to last year’s fruit and leaves, and refused to drop them, would not the vents for next year’s fruit and leaves be choked up? ~“Sunday Readings, Selected by Bishop Vincent,” The Chautauquan, 1895

You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk. ~Louise Smith, unverified

You’re the boss of clutter, not the other way around. ~Monika Kristofferson, efficientorganizationnw.com, 2010

Control your clutter or it will control you. ~Alejandra Costello, alejandra.tv, 2012

Replace clutter with freedom. ~Terri Guillemets, “At home,” 2005

Unclutter Your Stuff Quotations
Original post date: 2005 Oct 8
1st major revision: 2016 Feb 20
2nd major revision: 2019 Dec 7
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