Do You Know The Difference Between Stashing & Decluttering?


From the Desk of Clearissa Coward’s Command Center – Divinely Organized

Stashing Does Not Equal Decluttering?

You may think clutter is only about what you can see. But that is incorrect. Clutter can affect many aspects of your life including your emotional stability. Clutter also does not discriminate. It affects everyone in the home, including the little ones. Families who are living in clutter may not realize the impact this can have on them – both individually and as a family unit. Research shows clutter to be part of the 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.  This post will ask the question, “Do You Know The Difference Between Stashing & Cluttering” and you get to answer that question for yourself. 

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



Stashing is the process of putting stuff inside of something like drawers, closets, the bathtub and even the stove. There are many common places you might find to stashed items in the home. Maybe you think, “out of sight, out of mind.” Things may look clean but the mess is still there and believe me, your psyche knows it’s still there and is dealing with it.
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 probably will not have a clue where to find them…more stress!

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 make a decision about something, you may think it is easier to put it off, especially if you are holding onto it out of guilt or a lack of motivation. However although the items are stashed, at some point, you will still have to deal with them.


What Is Decluttering?

Decluttering, on the other hand, is the process of going through your mess and choosing to get rid of things you no longer need, want or fit your lifestyle. I like to call this part of the process purging. In other words, you have come to terms with the fact that stuff is 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. But do not let that deter you. Simply commit to one area at a time and decide to spend an hour a day if that is all the time you have. Do not be intimidated.

Congratulations if you have decided to take control of your clutter! As I said, start small so you do not feel overwhelmed by the size of the task before you. In fact, it is best if you start with something like a countertop or the dining room table. You want to work on an area that is small enough that you can complete the task once you have started it. Completing an area will give you a sense of accomplishment which will the incentive to tackle another area.


Make a conscious effort to declutter this one area and keep it clean for several days. You will be so inspired each time you see this one bright spot and it will inspire you to keep working.

Create a decluttering schedule and stick to it. You CAN do it! Yes, it is true 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 a while to make it go away. Just pace yourself and remember not to get overwhelmed.


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 that you go into every day. This will accomplish two things: you will have cleaned up an area to avoid embarrassment if visitors are coming over, and you will have a reason to clean up your stash the next time you need your basket. The worst thing you can do, and I am speaking from experience, 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, you will no longer feel the need to stash. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that anyone could drop by unannounced or with little warning and you will not need to scramble to hide your stuff. You can welcome them into your home and smile because your house is presentable-stashes are not lurking in the closet and socks are not hanging out of the microwave.  🙂

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy this one.

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Until next time…I remain in my Element – God Bless!




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12 thoughts on “Do You Know The Difference Between Stashing & Decluttering?

  1. Vanessa Shelton says:

    Great advice Clearissa. I’m going through the reduce and de-clutter process now. I hope to move in the next 6 months or so and I absolutely do not intend to pack and take a lot of junk. I know that I have “pack rat” tendencies, but with your help, I’m working on it. 🙂

  2. Clearissa Coward says:

    Hi Vanessa, purging is good for the soul. And especially if you are moving and heading toward a new beginning, the last thing you want to take with you is old and unnecessary stuff from the past. Good luck with your purging and best of luck on your move. 🙂

  3. Sandra L Garth says:

    I’m a stasher trying to do better. I have stashed Christmas gifts and forgotten all about them. Purging is a challenge because I feel like I =’ll need the item once I get rid of it. Baby steps for sure and this is great advice.

  4. Clearissa Coward says:

    Hi Sandra, I totally agree that it is not easy and unlike some organization enthusiasts, I get it because I am human and I also have some of the same issues. The key here is to learn to change your mindset before you tackle a purge. It is doable, I promise you. 🙂

  5. Leslie Clingan says:

    I used to think ‘a Rubbermaid bin for everything and everything in a Rubbermaid bin’. I am beginning to go through those bins, slowly but surely. I do still have seasonal decorations in bins, however. And my scrapbooking supplies are out of control.

    Love the tip of stowing something temporarily in a laundry basket!

  6. Clearissa Coward says:

    Hi Leslie. Thank you for stopping by. I still store my seasonal items in bins. The difference between now and when I just tossed stuff in a bin and forgot about is that I now label my bins and more importantly, I don’t just keep “stuff” for the sake of having “stuff.” But I am a crafter so I am trying very hard not to let my supplies get out of hand. Wish me luck. 🙂

  7. Clearissa Coward says:

    Hi Jean. Thank you. I think organization is logical. It is almost like writing code. If you do this then you will get this. If you do that then you will get this and if you do not do this then this will happen, etc. I think sometimes the emotional side of it is what complicates the process. I am so happy you stopped by. Please stop in again. 🙂

  8. Christie Hawkes says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips on #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I have a bad habit of boxing up things for Good Will and then not delivering them for months. Our guest room has turned into a storage room. I think it’s time to start truly decluttering. Thanks for the motivation!

  9. Clearissa Coward says:

    Hi Christie. Girl, we have all gotten a little behind. At least it’s all boxed up…right. Now just move those boxes to your car and rest is gravy. 🙂 Thanks for stopping in.

  10. Amy says:

    Good information here. I definitely see the difference between stashing and decluttering. Fortunately I don’t stash, but I do need to do some decluttering. thank you for sharing at wonderful wednesday blog hop.

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