Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space
© 2015 Kathi Lipp
“Enough is a beautiful thing.”
Reading books about decluttering is much easier than actually doing it, which is probably why I’ve read so many over the years. Despite its brevity, it’s one of the more useful books on minimalism, simple living, etc that I’ve read because of Lipp’s emphasis on habits that enable clutter to build up and overtake our lives. Clutter, as defined by Lipp, is anything in our homes that we do not love or use. Part of Lipp’s intent is for the reader to evaluate their lives and the items they live with and decide what really matters. Letting go of items also means letting go of misguided attachments to the past; items purchased in the pursuit of a new hobby five years ago, for instance, but never touched. People don’t like to admit their own mistakes, or to let go of the people they thought they were, or might become. In addition to tactical counters to clutter — designating definite Places for items to go, and creating a daily routine for keeping things in their place — Lipp encourages the reader to look beyond cleaning and to think about their lifestyles, too. She’s close friends with several women in her neighborhood, and in the interests of frugality they’ve taken to lending each other tools and supplies so that each of them has access to a greater pool of resources. I appreciated Lipp’s emphasis on the spirit-taxing effects of clutter, the constant stress that a life beset with mess creates.
When you save everything, you can find nothing.
Organizational systems are to cluttered homes what credit cards are to debt. Credit cards tell you there is still more money, even though your bank account says no. Organizational systems tell us there is still more space, when our house cries “No!”
But another thing we must recognize about clutter is that it’s active. Even if it’s just sitting there on a shelf or buried in a box, clutter is actively working in our lives. It makes us feel unsettled. Clutter never lets you rest. It is constantly talking to you and letting you know that things are wrong and there will be no peace until you tend to the mess. You cannot enjoy any activity—time with your family and friends, reading, exercising, anything, because clutter is telling you, “Pay attention to me!”
You can spend a lot of money, time, and energy on something, and it can still be OK to admit that it’s over.
I needed a better set of clutter questions to help me get unburied from the piles of stuff that were taking over my home. Better questions like these: 1. Do I currently use it? 2. Do I really love it? 3. Would I buy it again? These three questions? They have become the clarifying lenses I see all my possessions through, and they help me quickly and unemotionally clear the clutter from my life.