Where does clutter come from?
This week we wrapped up the first ever challenge in The Simple Life over on Facebook. Over 70 people came together because they were tired of living in disorder and with an over abundance of ‘stuff’. The results have been amazing; there’s nothing I like more than people sending me photos of bin bags stuffed full of items no longing serving them and on course to a second life somewhere else. But it begs the question: where does clutter come from?
A lot of the time, I hear that clutter belongs to someone else:
And that can certainly make things harder, particularly as I don’t advocate clearing out other people’s possessions. Sometimes, we inherit items on a large scale that can create emotional blocks to sorting through them, again, totally understandable. But are you going to live with it forever? Presumably, if you’re reading this, then not, so some of those difficult feelings are going to have to be managed somehow. But how?
Another frequent reason I hear is time, or lack of it:
Anyone who has worked with me one:one will confirm: I am honest, I am gentle and considerate but I am 100% honest and I will call you on it when you aren’t being honest with yourself.
So, in my opinion, here is where I think all the clutter comes from:
You are avoiding something
Be it paperwork, heirlooms, old school books, medicines, keepsakes, clothes… You are subconsciously worried about what you will have to deal with. The reason why you are avoiding it may vary but consider this:
Most people I meet love a good clear out, so why do we persist with clutter that we don’t want?
It can be painful and emotional facing up to clutter: perhaps the paperwork pile contains lots of jobs that need doing or finances that need sorting out that are worrying you. Or managing the lifelong possessions of a loved one can be too emotional to bear.
Do you feel that you are being held back from a clutter-free life by a lack of time? I bet if you had to, you could find the odd hour, here and there, in your week. If an old friend made an impromptu visit, would you turn them away? I’d hazard a guess that you’d make time to see them and enjoy a few hours of catching up – in spite of all those jobs you had to do. If we really need to, most of us can find some time.
You are delaying taking action
The post arrives and it looks like mostly mundane stuff and then you spot a large bill you’ve been dreading. You can ignore the bill if it’s buried under some circulars, a couple of catalogues and a takeaway menu, right? Can you? I can’t. I’ll torture myself for days or weeks about not being able to afford to pay it or I need to have an awkward conversation because they have over charged me.
I certainly won’t forget it’s there but the end result is still the same. The bill needs paying, so why not just pay it and save yourself the days or weeks of tormenting yourself?
And I hear all the excuses. Some people want to wait until payday, fair enough.
However, the process of getting the bill paid doesn’t need to wait, just the financial transaction. With online banking, you can nominate the date the payment leaves your account very easily. Then you can forget about it.
You aren’t mindful of what you allow to enter your own home.
How may times have you accepted something because it was easier than saying no? I have, I don’t like to upset people.
Here’s an example: those bags of hand-me-down children’s clothes are someone else’s clutter, no matter how well meaning. It probably made it easier for them to parcel up their children’s once-worn clothes knowing that you would take them.
My two children have been gifted lots of amazing second hand clothes. Now I say: ‘Thank you, I’ll see what fits/suits and then what would you like me to do with the rest? Would you like it back?’
The answer is, universally,: ‘Oh, pass it on or give it to charity.’ Never has anyone asked me to give back what I don’t want. Because they have already been through the shedding process of parting with their memories and they just want the clothes out of the house.
Why is it so hard?
I find the language people use fascinating. The words they choose to describe clutter and how they feel about it often create an image of a battle, a struggle, a huge mountain to climb, etc.
But they are often the very same people who say:
Interesting, isn’t it?
So, where does all the clutter come from?
I’m afraid, the answer is: you.
Did that pinch a bit? I’m sorry. I did warn you earlier that I am honest!
But that is the real reason you find it hard to get started.
At some point, you are going to have to start sorting through it all and making some decisions. So you might as well just get stuck in.
The Simple Life: my key to a life free of clutter
If you break things down into a chain of smaller jobs, then you make the overall task much more manageable. And that is the basis of my system. A system that has been tried and tested over the years. I’ve read the books, followed the experts and got my hands dirty helping people sort through their clutter.
The Simple Life is a melting pot of it all but, most importantly, it works and it lasts. We look at what you have and you decide whether you want it in your life through a series of stages, working on one thing at a time. We then figure out how that is going to work for you and your lifestyle and put measures in place to make sure the clutter doesn’t creep back in.
Sound simple? It really is, you just need to want to do it.
If you’d like to join the Simple Life Facebook community, click here, it’s completely free. It’s friendly and supportive and full of tips on coping with clutter, organising the things you love and use and, importantly looks at where it all comes from in the first place.
Or if you’d like to work with me one-to-one in your home or online, check out The Simple Life options and drop me a message.