Something the Middle Ages Actually Got Right

The modern definition of clutter is a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass, which I find woefully inadequate. It doesn’t address the value of these “things.” The origin of the word clutter, is from the Middle English, clotter, which means to clot. I actually like that better.

My central organizing philosophy is circulation prevents accumulation. Things need to move freely throughout our homes and offices, in much the same way blood needs to move freely through our veins and arteries.

When there’s a build up of excess stuff, or clutter, in our environment, our organizing systems are affected. When there is a blood clot in our circulatory system, our health is affected.

There is a big difference between storing like things together, which makes sense, and sticking them together, which does not. For example, storing your checkbook with your envelopes, stamps, and calculator makes sense. Bundling them all up in a rubber band, does not. A rubber band is a barrier that inhibits movement, when movement is to be encouraged.  You could say this bundle is like a clot.

This is such an important concept, that I have addressed it in the past, in several different ways. There was Knot Thinking, Bungle in the Bundle, and, the classic, Envel-nope. But I actually think the folks from the Middle Ages got the concept of clutter best. It’s the stuff that sticks together and doesn’t move, blocking the flow of your environment, just as a clot blocks the flow of your blood stream.