Why I Hate Clutter

I hate clutter because it feels like death. (Can’t accuse me of burying the lead.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about your purposeful collections, piles of laundry, or ongoing project, sprawled across you table. I’m talking about that excess stuff, with no plan for movement.

Movement is the key to unlocking clutter. If there is a plan for movement, you can have a huge mess and it’s not clutter. There’s a heartbeat to that mess. It’s still alive.

If, on the other hand, there is a growing pile of postponed decisions, with no end in sight, then it’s clutter. When there’s no plan for movement, there’s no heartbeat. It just collects dust and reminds you of things in your life, not getting done. It feels like death.

Here’s an example of a living mess and an example of true clutter. If there is a playroom full of toys, all over the floor and they will be moved around and played with tomorrow, that’s a living mess. If, however, there’s a room full of toys and the kids have moved out and have kids of their own now, that’s true clutter. It has stopped moving. The heartbeat is gone. It’s dead.

There are essentially two kinds of clutter: clutter from the past and clutter for the future. Both can stop circulating. Clutter from the past can be those old toys or keepsakes or unfinished projects. It’s OK to honor the past and keep a few of those precious items, but when there is an excess of stuff, it can weigh you down and keep you from living in the present, the time where we find true happiness.

Clutter for the future can prevent you from enjoying the present, as well. An excess of stuff that you might need “some day,” can act as a barrier to today. There needs to be a plan for movement, a plan for the new to circulate in, as the old circulates out. Call it a heart beat. Call it life.

It doesn’t matter how much you spent on an item or how much it meant to you a decade ago, if it’s getting in the way of you enjoying the here and now, it needs to go.

Clutter is powerful and if you find it overwhelming, you are in very good company. I know because we work with overwhelmed people everyday. Our purpose is not to put things into pretty baskets. Our purpose is to help the overwhelmed restore life to their environments.