Chris J Powell

Can Clutter be your friend?

As we approach the end of January and many of the New Year’s Resolutions that were laid out on January 1st have either already been forgotten or have proven to be far to hard to live up to it is time for a little introspection.  We all have clutter in our lives and after watching a few episodes of Hoarder: Buried Alive I realize that while I lead a relatively messy life…it has nothing on some people.

For years popular culture has had us believe that “he with the most stuff, wins” and I can buy into that…I like the concept of having the fastest computer, the biggest Hard Drive and the latest and greatest phone.  I get the concept of having too much stuff can be severely inhibiting and dangerous (Just look to TV’s A&E and TLC) they are raking in the money from mental illness under the auspice of “helping” bring to light a serious problem in our society.

So at what point does the OCD act of everything has its place and the ultra clean “hospital like” environment go the other way as an extreme.  Is there a point that Clutter can be your friend?

In prepping for this post I really tried to find some positive behind not taking on the role of Mr. Clean, and that there is a point that a little clutter is not only ok but is in many ways therapeutic.  I spent several hours in search of a report or a reference to the point at which having some papers on the floor and dishes in the sink crosses over and becomes a health hazard and well I could not find that line and that too me is dangerous as it places an onus on all of us to conform to this “social norm” of absolute cleanliness.

I think that there is a point that clutter can have a benefit and that the knowing that the “stuff” you have is being used is a good thing, the point that it becomes a problem for me is when the stuff that you use is outweighed by the stuff that is just “Stuff”.  When Collecting becomes an excuse for having no room for YOU then you have a problem.  When the “Stuff” you have in boxes and bins have not been looked at for more than 6 months…it might be time to clear out the “Stuff”.

I am guilty of much of this as I have Computer Disks filled with software, movies, music and raw data that dates back to the late 1990’s.  In the storage area of our basement there are several boxes that have been moved 2 or three times that have not been opened (and we have lived here for over 1 year – 2 years at the place before that and 3 years at the place before that).

How can I make this clutter my friend…well I know what I have on my desk in front of me is what I need to function today.  It may not be ultra organized but I know where it is and what its purpose is.  Could it be better organized…sure but I know where to find it and how to get to it so what is the point of someone else doesn’t understand where to find my stuff…it is mine after all.

So at the end of a long search for supporting insights I did finally find a blog that does not fully support the concept of ultra organization and actually tries to debunk some of the Myths about decluttering: The Happiness Project really explored the good the bad and the ugly of what our society calls normal and I think that while I know that more organization can’t hurt…it is not the be all end end all of what I do.

Well so begins a very important week for me…wish me luck everyone for the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Chris J Powell

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