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Scary Things You Might Find While Decluttering (2 of 3): Growing Things

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

Clutter has a way of concealing what lies under, behind or within its boundaries. So, I always proceed with caution when organizing items that haven’t been touched in a while. You never know what might have been silently growing. You might find mold, mildew, or a collection of items that just won’t stop getting bigger!


Discovering mold can be scary, but it must be dealt with. If you run into it during your organizing project, take a moment to analyze the situation before reactively dousing it with bleach. Disturbing mold can cause spores to launch into the air and spread.

The Fix

Nonporous surfaces can usually be cleaned. If the invading mold is on a porous surface, however, those items will probably need to be carefully discarded. Mold can grow through them, making it impossible to wipe or wash away. If you’ve got moldy photos or other precious items, take pictures of them before tossing them out…perhaps while wearing gloves and a mask!

Mold and mildew have one very important thing in common. They love moisture. So, if you have mold or mildew, you’ll want to determine the water source. It could be as simple as the humidity level in the room. Or, you might find that there is a leak that needs to be fixed. It’s never a bad idea to call in a professional if you suspect a mold issue. Please don’t ignore it.

Collections That Have Grown Out of Control

So, your favorite animal is a panda. They're so cute and they make you smile. But at some point, your (or your family member's) love for the panda went down a stray path. Friends started giving you panda paraphernalia of all sorts, and PANDA-monium has broken out in your home!

Collections can be wonderful reminders of our true selves, but when we don't practice some self-restraint and reasonable boundaries, collections can take over your space.

The Fix

Think back to the very first item that sparked your collection. Did your grandfather collect stamps and share his love with you through his collection? Did your best friend give you a ceramic animal and each one you acquire reminds you of her? Or, maybe you truly resonate with that signature color, but does everything in your life have to be fuchsia? Going back to the root of where your collection started can help you identify why this symbol is so important to you, and may help you clarify how to trim back your collection to a manageable scale. Paring collections down to just a few items makes them much easier to display and appreciate!

Good Intentions Gone Awry

It’s a good practice to save things that might be useful, but good intentions can go awry if their growth goes unchecked. Limiting what we save prevents our homes from being filled with stacks of newspapers, bins of plastic bags, towers of empty boxes, stockpiled gift wrap supplies, and shelves stacked with peanut butter and pasta sauce jars.

The Fix

Of course we want to divert as much as we can from the landfill, but you also don't want your home to be a repository for potentially useful items. If you save plastic bags, keep them in a container. When the container is at capacity, it’s time to do some recycling. If you love a good box, be critical about which ones you save, then reassess periodically. If they are spilling out of their designated area or you haven’t found a use for them in the last year, it may be time to recycle a portion or pass them on to someone who is moving. Let’s not forget those cool glass jars. Keep only what you are using plus a couple, and let the rest go. Before long, I am sure you will have more!

By addressing the growing things in your home, you are protecting your family from health and fire hazards. Believe me, it is very satisfying to know that you have those things under control. Need a hand? Schedule a Consultation with Element of Fun Organizing and we'll help you address the growing issues in your home!

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