cat peering into boxes of accumulated clutter

Usually, people make resolutions because they want to change some thing or things in their lives. They are unhappy with something OR they want to achieve something … or both.

The idea of change often comes bundled with the thought, “Out with the old and in with the new!”

Getting to “stuff equilibrium” is actually the goal.

Of course, when it comes to getting and staying organized, that phrase is a bit troubling. Not that I find anything wrong with letting things go! You’ll never hear me argue about immediately getting rid of the irreparable, worn out or obsolete stuff—the obvious clutter. But along with that impulse to just trash the “low hanging fruit” of clutter, there’s also often a promise made that “this”—meaning the clutter—will never happen again.

That’s where “in with the new” becomes problematic.

When changing behavior, swapping out a useless or destructive choice for a stronger choice more in alignment with our core values makes great sense. When dealing with clutter, getting to “stuff equilibrium” is actually the goal. Having enough of everything that serves you and nothing that doesn’t is where you want to be.

If you currently have clutter, you’re going to need to do a lot more letting go (out with the old) than swapping (in with the new) if you’re going to achieve stuff equilibrium.

And as anyone who struggles with sentimental attachment to objects knows, “out with the old” isn’t always the solution. Curating your belongings is a better solution. I have plenty of “old” things that I don’t want to get rid of. Some of them have sentimental meaning and others just work. Like my toaster.

So when it comes to stuff, it isn’t the age of the object that makes it a target for decluttering—it’s whether the object still provides comfort, convenience or beauty.


Avoid clichés like “out with the old, in the with new,” when organizing. Focus on achieving stuff equilibrium and getting to zero clutter before you start to bring anything else in that isn’t easily consumable, like groceries or toilet paper. That way you’ll never accumulate more—once you get to stuff equilibrium, you’ll just be swapping out things that are broken or that you’re finished with and replacing them rather than augmenting.

For anyone who has too much stuff, more stuff even if it’s different stuff, will never be the answer.


Tweet out your commitment to achieving stuff equilibrium by releasing one thing that no longer provides comfort, convenience or beauty: hashtag #amiorganized #orgtriangle

Brand Category: 

About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
11 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.