"Clutter is not just physical stuff. It's old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self." ~ Eleanor Brown
When you hear the word "clutter" what comes to your mind? Do you immediately see your closet and the images of all the clothes in it but yet, you have nothing to wear? Or, do you see your desk with stacks of mail and papers on it and remember how you have shuffled it at least ten times but the stack just gets bigger? How about this, have you ever opened your kitchen cabinet and plastic containers fall out or worse yet, a pan tumbles onto your toe? Perhaps you can"t relate to any of this because "clutter" isn't a part of your lifestyle. If you get the "shakes" when you hear the word "clutter", then you"ll want to continue reading.
I wish I could tell you that I am "clutter-free". Unfortunately, I"m not. It is a constant struggle for me. But, I truly believe that like everything else, a strong support system, or a "buddy system" is a valuable asset for becoming clutter-free just as it is for starting and maintaining an exercise routine.
In order to win a war you must know as much about the enemy as possible. Let's face it, clutter is indeed an enemy and it needs to be understood. There are 4 things that you must know if you want to become "clutter-free". 1) The definition of clutter 2) How clutter happens 3) How clutter affects you 4) How to decrease clutter.
WHAT IS CLUTTER?
Webster defines clutter as, "to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness." Joshua Becker adds the following descriptives to the definition, "1) clutter is anything that is disorganized 2) clutter is anything that you don't need or love 3) clutter is too much stuff in too small a space."
HOW CLUTTER HAPPENS
Clutter begins as an idea. That's right, clutter begins as an idea. You get an idea to start collecting those cute little figurines to put on that beautiful curio. Before you know it, you have loaded that curio with figurines and you need somewhere else to put them, Why? Because you never stopped buying them and each time you see a figurine, you think, "This is a great price for this one." You get the idea (pun intended)?
How about this, a friend invites you to lunch. While at lunch she tells you about a great sell that is going on in the store not far from where you are having lunch. The "idea" is planted and after lunch you go shopping...you had not planned on shopping but what a great idea. You go and see a blouse that would go great with a pair slacks you have...and there's one that matches your suit too. What luck you tell yourself. By the way, both blouses are great prices so you get 2 of each in different colors. You are really pleased with the find. You go home, put the clothes in your closet. Briefly you think about how little space you have in your closet as you push the clothes tightly together in order to make room for your new treasures.
How does paper work pile up because of an idea? It's simple, when the mail comes, the idea you get is to wait until tomorrow to deal with it...so, on the desk it goes. Each day you do this and by the end of the week, you have a mountain of mail on your desk or worse yet, on your dining room table.
HOW CLUTTER AFFECTS YOU:
1. Increases allergic symptoms because of the build up of dust mites, mold and other allergies 2. Creates a place for germs to grow 3. Increases the risk of fire 4. Increases stress when you can't find something 5. Depletes your energy
1. Increases stress and anxiety 2. Increases the chance of procrastinating 3. Keeps you from enjoying new things 4. Can limit your decision making skills 5. Can keep you from enjoying life NOW
HOW TO DECREASE CLUTTER
In the past I have purchased all sorts of neat gadgets and pretty little bins in order to get organized and eliminate clutter. Let me tell you, they did not help! In fact, if anything they added to my clutter problem.
After a lot of reading and soul searching I have come to realize and understand two major concepts that I must conquer: 1) I need to eliminate the built up of stuff and 2) I need to learn how to let go of stuff that I no longer need or love. I realized that there is not an organizational system that can help me until I get these two things under control.
WHERE TO NEXT?
"I am an empty nester and I need to declutter." I would love to have you on this journey with me? Are you in??