Some fresh takes on clutter (you'll want to clear it out)
Ah clutter, that old chestnut. It weighs us down, stresses us out, and makes us anxious. Oprah’s clutter organiser Peter Walsh says: “Clutter overwhelms and paralyses us.” And of course he's right. Oprah and her crew are always right.
I hate talking about clutter almost as much as I hate clearing it out. But it's got to be done
– and the only way out is through.
Ironically, there's a clutter of information about clutter on the Internet and in bookstores. I like these ones:
- Breathing room by medical doctor and holistic healer Dr Melva Green and spiritual intuitive Lauren Rosenfeld
- This hefty ‘how to’ guide on The Minimalist Vegan blog
- Down to Earth blog by Rhonda Hetzel and her book by the same name
- Organized simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
- Leo Babauta from Zen Habit’s articles
- Peter Walsh’s books and apps, including his latest book, Lose the clutter, lose the weight
- The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organising by Marie Kondo
- Oprah’s lists.
As I've been reading some of this stuff about clutter, I've had a few good a-ha moments that have made me feel better about cleaning up my mess. Maybe they'll help you too:
On trying to create perfection in our home organisation:
Peter Walsh says: “If you think ‘I can’t do it perfectly’ then you’ll never do it at all … I hate the word ‘perfect’ so much. It’s the most destructive, crushing, wrong idea to have. Perfection in my view should never be the goal. Happiness, stress-free, usable, family-friendly – they’re the goals.”
“… We think everyone is achieving perfection except us. We think everyone is getting more except us. We think everyone is doing better than we are. But when you talk about it, you discover that so many people are struggling with this need to appear better, this illusion that if only we can keep up this front of success, people will like us more. The truth is, you peel back the curtain just a little bit – and I say this about myself and the people I work with too – everyone is a struggling, frail eight-year old trying to make sense of the world … everyone, everyone. This idea that we can be perfect – if we can just be perfect; if we buy more we’ll be better – is total crap.”
On the only sane way to approach decluttering:
Peter Walsh says: “It’s all a process. With business, so often we hear people say to keep the big picture in mind; it’s all about the big picture. Screw the big picture! Just look at one shelf, look at one little corner … All you have to do is commit to 10 minutes a day and it might be tidy up the remotes or get rid of the bath towels you don’t use or do under one sink or just do one little cupboard … ”
On how awesome you’ll feel if you declutter (even a little bit):
Peter Walsh says: “In every single case, when children come back into a decluttered, organised, space-full space – in every case, they spontaneously start to dance. It’s amazing … and I think it’s because within them there is this sense that open space creates joy and kind of a liberty and a freedom that children in their innocence just tap into instinctively.” He says adults in a clean space often feel like they're on holidays. Sound great.
On how decluttering needs to be a spiritual exercise too:
Green and Rosenfeld say: “If you declutter your home without doing the same for your heart, you are carrying around emotional clutter and will not be able to be present in your decluttered home … Our anxieties gather like dust and become so thick we can barely see through them. With all of this junk lying around in the sacred space of your heart, how can light and air move through?” Food for thought there.
Check out Peter Walsh on the ‘How she really does it’ podcast for some good stuff on decluttering and other topics too.
How do you tackle your clutter?