A physical manifestation
“Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow.”
— H.G. Chissell
From scanning the magazine titles on every newsstand, I know I’m not the only one who has a problem with clutter. I understand there are entire television shows devoted to documenting hoarders who are so much worse than the average viewer that they are weirdly reassuring to watch. But it seems most people have at least a little trouble with throwing things away, and I have a bigger problem with it than almost anyone I know of.
Years ago I read that the tendency to hold on to things is largely a fear-based behavior, which makes a lot of sense to me. I hold onto things because I’m afraid. I fear that I’ll forget an interesting person or happy memory associated with a card or gift, or I’ll someday need the object I ought to toss, or I’ll forget that I got rid of it and waste time looking for it later (yes, I really do that sort of thing, even more so as I get older).
Print addict that I am, I hoard reading material most of all. It’s a real struggle for me to throw away a newspaper or magazine I haven’t read. Jeff is coaching me to skim more and read less, but I seldom manage to do that. I have come to the realization that I have enough unread books, magazines and digital reading material that I could read all the time for the rest of my life and not run out. Still, it’s hard for me to resist the urge to subscribe to a magazine at a giveaway rate, or pass up a gorgeous, like-new book at a library sale (after all, the money goes to support the library, right?) 🙂
In other words, “my name is Julia and I have a problem with clutter.” But I’m in recovery. I am learning to relish the act of cleaning out and freeing up space. I get a big kick out of donating boxes full of very good, barely used things to Goodwill. I love sending a nice book to someone who requests it through the wonderful Paperback Swap site (scroll down to see a link at bottom right). I’ve even managed to pitch my most comfortable walking shoes or t-shirts or jeans that are growing shamefully threadbare. Okay, I’ve pitched SOME of them. It helps that cleaning and tossing really does do wonders for my mood. Now, if I could just keep those shelves, counters and closets EMPTY for a while…
I love blogs such as Organized at Heart and Flylady and Simplify 101, along with many others, all of which are full of tips, fun ideas, and understanding. The only downside is that it’s tempting to spend more time reading than cleaning out! What are your best clutter-clearing secrets? Send me some ideas to keep me on the wagon!