A good essay about stuff here.
I have had some conflict with my wife regarding accumulation of stuff. For example, she favors the use of the dining room table as a long-term storage area, and one of our unoccupied bedrooms has become a storage space for stuff that she wants to keep (the closet is packed full, and now things are stored in the bedroom itself as well). She doesn’t put much effort into organizing her stuff, which really exacerbates the clutter problem. I try to indulge her a bit, afterall nobody’s choices of what stuff to keep are entirely rational. Example, I have all of my class files from undergrad and grad school - a large and heavy box of notes, homework problems, and tests from 10-20 years ago - and although I can’t imagine ever having a use for it, and don’t browse it like I do old photos, I don’t want to throw it away, either. But I have convinced her to whittle her collection of stuff down just a bit, and she’s given me free reign to organize it all, provided I don’t discard anything without consulting her first.
I suppose our job is easier, since we don’t have kids. If you have kids, I think part of your job as parenting is to teach them how to manage their stuff, how to think carefully about which stuff is important to them to keep and which they can part with, and what level of personal organization and you would have them aspire to. As difficult as that can be, I would think that instilling them with the ability to manage their own stuff would make it easier for you to keep the rest of the house clutter free.
IMHO, a significant part of the battle against stuff is organization. our collection of stuff is organized into labeled boxes, and I’ve built and purchased a lot of shelf space to try to go vertical instead of spreading things out on the floor. Organization does a lot to help keep the house uncluttered.
We have a neighbor a few doors down who have so much shit in their garage that there’s no room in it for their cars; they park two of them in their driveway, and one in the street. Moreover, the two cars in the driveway are “stuff” as well: they’ve been parked for so long that their tires are almost completely flat. They only use the car that’s parked in the street. It seems they are losing their battle against stuff and pushing into hoarder territory. I often wonder what the inside of their house is like.