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Aspirational clutter - do you have it? - 13th March 2023


You might not have heard this term before. However, if you are anything like most of my clients AND like me, then it's pretty likely some of your items will be in the aspirational clutter category. Below, I explain what constitutes aspirational clutter. Read on if you want to understand why you have it, and for suggestions as to how you can release it.





You may not have encountered the term, 'aspirational clutter' before, so lets think about what that might mean. The word 'aspirational' stems from the verb, to aspire. In my dictionary 'aspirational' is defined as:

'strong desire to achieve something, such as success.'


The verb 'aspire' is all about your desires, hopes and yearnings. 

Let's now look at the way these definitions play out in regard to possessions you have at home. Bear in mind, there is likely a part of your brain that knows these items are clutter, and wants to deal with them in a way that is fitting. However, the aspirational connection to the items means that another part of your brain won't allow you to take this action. Instead, it manages to convince you that the possession concerned is very valuable, because it is connected to your desires, hopes, and yearnings! You might not even have conscious awareness of what is going on in your brain. Your only conscious realisation might be that for some inexplicable reason, it's really hard to declutter something from your home. 

Hence the item or items are well and truly fixed in place. They are going nowhere! At least not until you understand what is going on in your head. Below I've listed some of the items clients have kept, some items I have kept, all of which I believe could be considered aspirational. I think when you read the list with the explanations you will get the gist, and be able to apply it to your own situation. Assume with all items on the list that they are unused and languishing, obviously!

Exercise bike - you believe that ONE DAY you will decide to get fit, you aspire to being fitter!

Clothing in sizes that are too small - you believe you WILL lose weight, you aspire to being slimmer!

Teach yourself books - you aspire to learning a language, being a whizz at crochet, or an expert at welding!

Sewing machine - you aspire to making your own clothes and being the envy of all your friends!

Course material from former jobs - you aspire to being viewed as intelligent, or returning to a former career

Craft items - you aspire to being a creative/artistic person and receiving compliments on your creations

Musical instruments - you aspire to being musical and being viewed as talented!




Can you identify your own aspirational clutter, now?


Even if you have none of the items on this list, I hope you can see the common thread. Basically, aspirational clutter is kept because you want to consider yourself as a particular type of person. Whether that is a healthy person, a creative person, or an intelligent person, there is a part of your mind that has that 'strong desire' (for change) that is key to the definition of aspirational clutter. 



What's wrong with you?

I'm certainly not saying there is anything wrong with having hopes for the future. However, these clutter related hopes for the future can be seen to be judging you at some level, for not being good enough, as you are RIGHT NOW. It would seem that a part of your mind considers you to not be sufficiently healthy, creative, or intelligent, for starters! 

When I've spoken and written about overwhelm I have always cited being in the moment as a good antidote to that fuzzy headed panicky feeling. Think about it this way, all the time you are hanging onto aspirational clutter you are NOT living in the moment. You are unable to accept yourself until you have learned to speak Italian fluently, or have crocheted yourself a blanket. You have the practical ingredients for those achievements in place. You have the teach yourself Italian book, or the balls of wool, and the crochet hooks. But nothing has happened for years. These aspirational goals simply aren't you! They don't make you come alive - if they did, you would be posting photos of that blanket on social media by now, or you would be reading this post whilst on holiday in Italy!



What to do about aspirational clutter?


Your job is not necessarily easy. But the more you learn about the origins of these aspirational beliefs the easier it will be to make progress. Begin by making a list of aspirational reasons as to why you have kept this particular thing.

  • What were you hoping for when you bought it? 
  • How did your purchase change your view of your future?
  • What is it about yourself as you are NOW, that is so hard to accept?


Use your responses to these questions to create positive affirmations about your life NOW. Whatever you uncover in your responses, use those words to write the exact opposite and then make sure you read it out loud at least once every day. 

For instance, you might uncover that you feel everyone else in your family is more intelligent than you are. That's why your house is full of course notes and instructional books, DVDs etc. You can't even live long enough to learn all this stuff. So, create an affirmation that might look like this:

"I am wise and intelligent. The depth of my wisdom extends far beyond what can be learned at college. Instead of intellectual learning, I choose to learn about myself. Most of all I choose to love and accept myself."


I would love to know what you discover about yourself in this exercise! 

If you would like to discuss coaching support in regard to your aspirational clutter, then please contact me. I would love to help you. 





Keywords: beliefs, self-worth, indecision


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