Friday, July 22, 2011

Better Clutter/ Clutter Buster

(These are not my shoes!)
We are all reluctant to let go of things that have a satisfying emotional value to us.

I confess, I'm one of the worst.
Being a "Jonesing Baby Boomer", I think I was heavily influenced by the generation before me who suffered from the depression in the 30's.
My mother kept everything, and passed that tendency on to her children.

I have always told clients who think they want to de-clutter but can't seem to bring themselves to let go of things, that there is always a way to make the clutter look better.And there is.

The psychology behind actual hoarding, is complicated and I am not a psychologist.
But having a tendency toward hoarding myself, I have taken myself through this journey and have found some successful tactics to reduce.

First and foremost, clutter is crippling. It stifles joy. When a person's mind is consumed with thinking about stuff (and when a house is full of it, it is hard, near impossible, not to spend way too much time thinking about it, if not become completely distressed by it.)

It is like any other "addiction". It is a tool for dealing with feelings. There is a process of recovery, it can take years to make progress and it requires support from people who are objective and caring (and lots of determination).

I suppose I can actually give some credit to my hoarding mentality for channeling my energies to becoming very good at space planning and organization.
However; I am at the stage in my own life where I want healing. I want freedom. Freedom from stuff. There are so many other things I want to do with my time besides think about all the things I want to do with my stuff!

I think it may also have something to do with being an American. A Consumerican!
We never seem to get enough! And it doesn't seem to make any of us any happier.
Enough. How much is enough?

"The wages of work is cash.The wages of cash is want more cash.The wages of want more cash is vicious competition.The wages of vicious competition is the world we live in...." D. H. Lawrence

I guess then the first step in Clutter Busting is to practice the discipline of restraint.

My own personal criteria for deciding a new purchase is to ask myself if it is up-cycled, recycled, natural, organic, useful, necessary, uplifting, whole, did someone die for me to have it, is it causing war to get the resources, what impact does it have on my footprint...?

But more to the point, can I live without it?

Now to find a home for all the stuff I got before I knew better.

As Oprah says, "When you know better, you do better." I want to do better.

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