Inside: Learn six ways an addiction to stuff is holding you back in life and how to break free from it.

When you’re decluttering, do you ever hesitate – or even struggle – to throw things away? Even when you know you no longer need them? 

Do you find it easy to shop for new stuff – but virtually impossible to pare down the things you already own? 

The addiction to stuff is very real – and it impacts more of us than you might think. 

It’s easy to find comfort in our personal belongings. We take pride in the things we own.

In some situations, we hold onto things well past their prime thanks to our psychology and the impacts of growing up with scarcity. And in other cases, we do it simply because we can’t help ourselves.

Thanks to social media we’re inspired by friends, influencers, or celebrities to buy the latest and greatest stuff. And, since trends come and go, it isn’t long before you’re compelled to buy the next big thing. 

While owning lots of stuff might seem fairly harmless, having excessive physical belongings can significantly impact your life in negative ways.

There are long-lasting and far-reaching implications that come with the need to buy new things and the refusal to get rid of the stuff you own. 

How can an addiction to stuff be holding you back in life? 

It might not be too obvious, but there are quite a few ways that being addicted to material possessions can negatively impact your life.

From your mental well-being to your relationships and financial health, here are some ways that being overly attached to your stuff is keeping you from living your best life.

addiction to stuff is holding you back

6 Ways an Addiction to Stuff is Holding You Back in Life

Here are six ways an addiction to stuff is holding you back in life and keeping you from your goals.

1. An addiction to stuff hurts you financially.

In many cases, an addiction to stuff doesn’t simply manifest as a need to keep your present belongings. It’s a shopping habit that can’t be contained. 

Marketing has done a great job feeding and encouraging the compulsion to shop.

By combining psychology and technology, companies are better at portraying their products and convincing us to buy them than ever before. We’re constantly bombarded with messaging – overt and subliminal – about what we should own and why.

The result? We spend more money on things we don’t actually need. And unfortunately, we jeopardize our financial health in the process.

An addiction to stuff can derail your budget and keep you from your financial goals.

addiction to stuff is holding you back

2. An addiction to stuff causes chaos in your home.

All of your stuff has to go somewhere, right?

Unfortunately, for many who are addicted to stuff, somewhere really means anywhere. Having too much stuff can easily create a cluttered home. In many cases, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to find enough space to store all of the stuff you own. 

For many, the solution is simple (although not necessarily easy): declutter. Sort through your belongings. Get rid of the things you no longer want or need. Sell or donate what you can.

But when you’re addicted to owning all of that stuff, the emotional toll of getting rid of it can be severe. Instead, you insist upon keeping it all – even the stuff you don’t need.

And while you can invest in clever storage solutions and get organized, there comes a point where you reach critical mass and have too much stuff to actually manage. 

Living in a cluttered space can create stress and frustration. It can also waste your time as you try to organize, clean, and maintain your belongings.

An addiction to stuff can keep your home from being the organized space you want it to be.

couple arguing

3. An addiction to stuff damages your relationships.

If you share a living space with others, an addiction to stuff can affect your family and take a serious toll on your ability to coexist.

Unless they share your passion for holding onto possessions, chances are they will be far less tolerant of clutter than you are.

And if you’re unwilling to compromise and get rid of some of that stuff, it can cause stress and arguments that can lead to irreversible damage to your relationships. 

And that’s only part of it.

If you live in an overly cluttered, filled-to-the-brim home, you might not invite people over – like friends, family, or potential partners. You might be embarrassed by the mess, even though you’re unwilling to change, and be tempted to isolate yourself socially. 

It’s also important to keep this decluttering reminder in mind: one day someone will inherit whatever you’ve collected over your life. And if you’ve kept a lifetime’s worth of stuff and never sorted it, your family members will likely feel quite burdened by what you leave behind.

An addiction to stuff can negatively impact your relationships and relationships are much more important than things.

beauty influencers

4. An addiction to stuff becomes part of your identity. 

And we’re told that owning certain brands or items is the key to happiness and success. Influencers are good at making us believe that things can improve our lives.

We’re convinced on a subliminal level that we’re more likable when we wear the most fashionable clothes or carry the trendiest water bottle. And it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to separate our self-worth from the need to have these things. 

There’s a reason trends exist. At a fundamental level, humans are social creatures, and we want to fit in and feel like we belong. And for some of us, the easiest way to do that is by buying popular items. 

But this mentality is a slippery slope. Over time, you lose sight of what you actually like in favor of what society tells you to like.

You begin to tie your self-worth to your image and the physical stuff that helps you cultivate it. And when that happens, it can lead to all kinds of problems – financial, emotional, and mental.

You can end up with a closet full of items for your fantasy self rather than the life you’re actually living.

An addiction to stuff can create a false perception of who you are and make you focus on the wrong things.

tired woman sleeping on couch in cluttered room

5. An addiction to stuff negatively impacts your health.

It’s important to recognize that living in an overly cluttered space can pose a legitimate risk to your physical and mental well-being.

Existing in a cluttered, chaotic environment can increase stress, decrease our ability to focus, and inhibit our creativity.

As for the physical impacts, clutter creates space for dust to accumulate – and in serious situations, can harbor a safe place for mold to flourish and pests to hide. 

Holding on to too much stuff can lead to hoarding which creates unhealthy and unsafe living conditions.

An addiction to stuff can hurt your physical and mental health and well-being.

addiction to stuff is holding you back

6. An addition to stuff wastes your time and energy.

On any given day, over a third of Americans (39.4% women and 33.7% men) shop. (source)

If you calculated the time spent in a year shopping or researching items to buy, the number may shock you.

The fact is we spend a lot of time and attention on acquiring things. That time could be better spent enjoying other activities rather than shopping.

If you spent that time with loved ones, learning new things, or helping someone, you’d see immediate changes in your life.

The preoccupation with stuff takes our focus from what really matters and puts it on temporary stuff.

An addiction to stuff can distract your attention from the more important things in life.

addiction to stuff is holding you back

Final thoughts on how an addiction to stuff is holding you back in life

The things we own don’t define us and if they aren’t benefitting our lives, they’re burdening them.

A full home doesn’t equal a full life. And a preoccupation with stuff can hold you back from what really matters.

The good news is you can begin to change it today. Lighten your load, let go of the excess, and commit to being more intentional with shopping going forward.

And then you can experience all of the benefits of living more simply as you shift your focus back to what you value most.

What other ways can an addiction to stuff be holding you back? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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