I read a lot, I always have, and as I was reading an article on clutter the author of the blog inserted a quote from Wendell Berry, “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire”
Once I finished reading it I laughed out loud, the lady next to me at the coffee shop got up and changed seats (her loss as I am a lovely person). Now I just want to say my home is not, nor has ever been so overrun with clutter that I wanted to set a match to it, having said that however, I can understand the sentiment. When I got over my initial reaction and upon further reflection, I realized the quote actually was not that funny and in fact was quite sad. I thought to myself how overwhelmed one must feel in order to feel this way about their home? Home is suppose to be the one place you feel safe, where you can shut the door against the pressures and the stresses of the world. When considered in this light, de-cluttering is not simply a way to keep your space neat and organized, it has a deeper value; de cluttering is coming to grips with the fact that the excess in your home are not only merely a visual eyesore, but a psychological and spiritual impediment.
When I ask my kids to clean and de-clutter their rooms they disappear for about an hour and then pull me upstairs to present a clean and organized room. What for the life of me I couldn’t understand was, why the heck it would only stay that way for two days at the most? The reason is simple – ORGANIZING IS NOT DE-CLUTTERING. The act of de-cluttering is not re arranging and moving stuff so that it is displayed in an organized and visually pleasing way ; this is organizing and its NOT permanent. Fellow blogger Tsh Oxenreider (The Art of Being Simple –truly wonderful blog) sums this up beautifully, organizing is temporary while de-cluttering is permanent. Organizing requires maintenance, the stuff is still there it is just now arranged in a more pleasing fashion, and eventually the effort required to maintain it becomes too much. De cluttering however, removes all of this stuff and when its gone you are left with less; there is no need to maintain what isn’t there! Oxenreider goes onto say that what happens after you de-clutter is a wonderful and beautiful thing,
“You find yourself happy to own less, so if you consciously keep stuff from entering your door again, you start owning this habit. You genuinely don’t want to shop because then you’d have to do something with the new stuff.” Imagine freeing home from clutter and your credit card from debt! It’s a win, win scenario.
I also don’t want to make too light of this process for some, de cluttering is not just letting go of things in the pursuit of a more minimalistic lifestyle. There are some who are, or become more psychologically and more emotionally attached to their things. These people experience anxiety or trauma when asked to get rid of their “stuff”. If you or anyone you know exhibits this kind of behaviour please seek help from a licenced medical practitioner.
Remember, the Oasis Clothing Bank accepts not only gently used clothing but small household and kitchen appliances as well, go to our website for a complete list. We offer FREE pick up service in the greater Toronto area, or drop off your donations at one of our green bins. http://www.clothingbank.ca or call us at 416 751 0553.