Highly Sensitive Children and Clutter

Ever been tempted to ruthlessly tackle your children’s bedroom armed with nothing but bin bags and boxes? Clutter stresses and creates a sense of chaos. Highly sensitive adults are less inclined to be able to ignore items strewn around work surfaces and dumped on the hall floor. However, if my experience is typical, then their highly sensitive offspring seem to be less bothered by the mess around them. In fact, many highly sensitive children (HSC) have a huge problem letting go of the stuff they accumulate. It’s enough to make any highly sensitive parent tear their hair out – I’m not alone right?

Highly Sensitive Children and Clutter

HSC Common Clutter Items

From discussions in the Happy Sensitive Kids Community I know that clutter is a common problem for HSCs. HSCs have a tendency to get attached to anything and everything and as a result accumulate STUFF. Such as:

  • Everything they have ever drawn, scribbled on or started to colour in.
  • Anything that have ever made, even materials that don’t stand the test of time well.
  • Any items that were ever given to them by someone special. They remember. They keep.
  • Anything gifted to them.
  • Special collections – like rotting acorns and conkers, sticks or old screws. I dare you to ask me how I know…..

Emotional Attachment to Things

HSCs have a tendency to place an emotional value to an item. So to you it’s a pile of rotting acorns, but for a HSC it’s not just a collection of acorns AT ALL. They are acorns collected with grandpa whilst walking together in their favourite spot. And so they cannot be thrown away.

Sometimes the sentiment is harder to determine. My youngest will not let me get rid of a little armchair in his room. He is far too big for it, but for some reason bursts into tears at the idea of letting it go. It was bought eleven years ago for my eldest son when he was a toddler. There’s no reasoning with him about it. He doesn’t know why he feels so upset at the thought of it going. He just does. And so it stays. I am hoping by the time he’s a teenager he will feel less attached to it…..

Emotional attachment is the short explanation of why HSCs struggle to let go of stuff. HSCs think deeply. They extend thoughts well beyond the item and look at where it came from, how they acquired it, the memories it stirs up. And how the giver would feel if they got rid of it.

An emotional attachment to things certainly doesn’t facilitate the decluttering process.



About Amanda van Mulligen

Mother, writer, author, blogger. Born British, Living Dutch. I have three Dutch sons and a Dutch husband and I blog about Turning Dutch and raising highly sensitive children.
This entry was posted in Parenting as a HSP, The Why and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Highly Sensitive Children and Clutter

  1. Pingback: The Happy Sensitive Kids Ultimate Gift Guide | Happy Sensitive Kids

  2. Pingback: Home, Family, Parenting and Self Care Resources to Make Your Life Easier and Less Stressful | Happy Sensitive Kids

  3. Pingback: Why Highly Sensitive People Dislike Clutter (and How to Get Rid of It) | Happy Sensitive Kids

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