You may think your clutter is just innocently lying around, but it could be harming you.
Everyone has their own idea of what Clutter is, but I define it as things you don’t use, things you don’t love and things you don’t have room for.
A classic example of clutter is your old bicycle. You gave up cycling seven years ago, because you hate cycling and you don’t have time to do it any more. However your old bike is still sitting in your shed. The tyres have perished and one pedal has fallen off, but despite this, it wouldn’t occur to you to get rid of it!
Why is this? Well perhaps you justify it like this:
“Maybe I’ll take up cycling again one day. Even though I hate cycling, you just never know.”
“Maybe my car will break down and I’ll need to get to work somehow; that old bike could come in useful then.”
“Perhaps my son would like to ride my old bike when he’s a bit older; he’s only a baby now, so the bike will be 17 years old by then, but still, you never know.”
Another example of clutter is batteries of dubious origin. I’m sure you have plenty of these lying around. You aren’t quite sure whether they are old or new; you can’t really find the time to test them, and don’t like to dispose of them just in case; so every time your tv remote needs a new battery, you just open a new packet! Does this sound familiar?
In the Eye of the Beholder
An ugly ornament is another example of clutter. You hate it, but your mother-in-law gave it to you, so you don’t like to get rid of it. She might be offended if it isn’t sitting on the mantlepiece when she comes to visit. So there it sits, in your living room. It gives you a pain whenever you look at it, but what can you do?
So What’s the Problem?
You may have admitted by now that you do have a bit of clutter, but why is that a problem? How can clutter be bad for you?
Well let’s look at a possible scenario. You decide to do some decorating, so you go to the shed to find your brushes, paint and other paraphernalia. In the middle of the shed, taking up rather a lot of room, is your old bike. You have to grope around it, and keep moving it aside to reach the decorating things you need and you get dirt on your clothes as you brush against it (it has been there rather a long time). By the time you locate all your materials you’re feeling hot and bothered, and not really in the mood for decorating!
Not only that but every time you see the bike you feel guilty. You feel that you really should take up cycling again, as you have a perfectly good bike sitting there; forgetting the perished tyres and lack of a pedal for the moment, and the inconvenient truth that you hated cycling when you did do it!
Well, you may be able to see the disadvantage of a bike you don’t use, but what about the rest of your clutter? Surely that isn’t doing you any harm?
Well, you do have a drawer full of batteries you don’t use, and have to grope through them every time you look for your library card or a working pen (don’t get me started on pens!). And you do have to look at an ornament you hate every day, because you’re not brave enough to give it away and this makes you feel bad.
There’s more. You’re late because you can’t find your car keys or your wallet because they’re hidden among all your clutter, the washing machine is making a funny noise but you can’t find the manual to see if you should be worried about it, and when you sit down at your desk you can’t work because all the mess makes you feel stressed.
Do you still feel that clutter isn’t bad for you? Your clutter is making you disorganised, grumpy and late. It’s time to get rid of it!
There Is a Solution
Find three boxes and label them Bin, Charity and Can’t Decide. Now scoop up everything you don’t use and find a home for it in one of these boxes (you may have trouble getting the bicycle to fit!)
The purpose of the Bin box should be obvious. Put in everything that is broken, or so obsolete as to be useless.
The Charity box should contain good things, which you don’t happen to use or value yourself, but which others may like.
Finally, the Can’t Decide box. This may be the biggest collection! Items you feel sentimental about, or feel convinced you may use one day, or just don’t want to part with for some reason, even if you don’t use them. Put a date on this box, either 12 months, or 24 months in the future (but no longer than that). When that date comes around, if you haven’t missed anything in the box, then you should take it, unopened, to your nearest charity shop.
A Warning Note
Don’t get rid of things you love, even if you don’t use them. If you love books then they are not clutter. If you love an ornament or your family photos, then they are not clutter. But don’t hide them away. If you like them, then they should be on display where you can see and enjoy them. Only get rid of things you don’t use or love.
Your Reward For De-Cluttering
Your house looks more spacious and it’s easier to find things. You’re hardly ever late or lose anything, as a consequence. You feel in control of your life, because you are! You have more room for the things you love and can display them appropriately. You are organised, good tempered and you feel fantastic.
So don’t wait, start de-cluttering now!