I have felt it necessary to write this post, simply because most people are not really aware that there are such differences. And because of that, they miss out on certain opportunities to assess such clutter and properly deal with it.
So: what is flowing and static clutter? Static clutter is the kind of stuff that just sits in a particular place and is rarely, if at all, touched or moved around. Think of this as most of what you would find in a garage or a loft, especially in the dark corners that are being blocked by other stuff. That said, this is certainly not limited to those spaces. Consider that blender that has been sitting in the back of your kitchen cupboard for 10 years and you can only get to it if you move the broken toaster that is stored in front of it… or the old deconstructed pieces of furniture in the loft that are hidden behind the plastic boxes with the Christmas decorations. Or the second row of books on the bookshelf. You can see what I mean, I’m sure.
Floating clutter is intrinsically different. Everything that does not have a proper home spot in your home has the potential to become floating clutter: the kind of item that is ALWAYS in the way and gets shifted to another temporary spot. And there it stays until it is, once more, in the way. Typical floating clutter are piles of magazines, dirty dishes, paperwork, clothing, toys, or tools. Some of those things may actually even have a home, but never get taken back because you need them too often to be bothered with returning them… and so they keep floating.
Floating and static clutter require a different approach: floating clutter becomes obvious when it is in the way, and that gives you ample opportunities to realise it’s in the way and to make a clear decision about it. Static clutter often is hidden from view, but it still weighs on your mind because you KNOW it’s there.
Floating clutter tends to include smaller items that tend to accumulate in drifts (like that basket in the hallway or a junk drawer), while static clutter tends to be bulky and therefore easily gets shoved out of the way to be forgotten (but never done with).
My advice is simple. Try to figure out if your clutter is floating or static and apply the following system:
Letting go of clutter is hard enough, but shuffling things around without these considerations makes it a whole lot more difficult. So why not make use of each and every opportunity to consider new choices and gradually get rid of what no longer serves you?
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Ideas to help clear away the mess in our homes and in our minds.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.