I often wonder why we think of clutter in terms of a storage space issue rather than getting the idea that there might just be too much of it. I have to admit that I sometimes have thought along the same lines. When exactly that stance has changed I cannot tell, but I am guessing that moving house three times in five years had something to do with it. Again and again I found that there were things I had completely forgotten about. In one memorable occasion I threw out a box of stuff that I had moved two times and never actually unpacked, I simply put the box away for later investigation and never got that far.
When I finally opened that box before my move to England, I found nothing of value, so I decided to let go without further ado. No thorough searching of the box, no soul searching whatsoever. Just like that.
Now I look back and wonder how many such boxes I carry around with me for no apparent reason. I’m saying ‘boxes’, but in fact I’m talking about clutter that is dispersed around my flat. Yes: there is clutter in my flat, but not all that much anymore.
Back to the storage issue at hand: once I had figured out that I kept things I don’t need, removing those things solved my storage issue in the best way possible: there simply was no reason to look for more storage or better solutions at all.
I believe that our lack of storage is partly a lack of courage and resolve to let go. Of course, this is no simple task. Deciding when and what to let go is hard, riddled with practical, emotional and financial pitfalls. However, I also think that many of the notions that hold us back are fake ones. It all boils down to one thing: do I need something or not? These days, if I ask myself that question, I very often find that I really don’t need that particular thing, and often have not used it for a long time. I have learned to make those decisions by now, but I realise that many people have not!
It’s a skill we all should be taught soon in life, but nobody seems ready to teach us that particular lesson. It is all too easy to succumb to the idea that we have to hold on to our belongings, without ever realising why exactly this should be so. It’s time to let go of stuff, and learning to make those decisions. It’s hard at first, but once you see the advantages you’ll realise that it’s not so difficult after all …
Ask the ClutterMeister
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.