The classical definition of clutter is cramming so much into a space than it can hold meaningfully. If you’ve seen any episode of ‘Clean House’ on DSTV (used to be hosted by Niecy Nash), I’m sure you’ll agree with me. Episode after episode you find people who clutter their homes to mind-numbing degrees. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder “who does this?”. How do you keep bringing more stuff into your home to the point where there is hardly walking space. In fact, there is hardly sleeping space on some beds! Pheeew!
This process of cluttering happens gradually, and quite unintentionally too. Those pair of shoes that seemed like a deal you couldn’t afford to pass up (even though the shoes were not exactly your size sef)! Those clothes you are holding on to in hopes of losing some weight (I’m everly guilty of this one), all those hair care and skin care products that lose their appeal after the first use. Take away plates nkor? they seemed like great freezer bowls at the time but you have now accumulated so much! That sounds like you, right? Me too!
It brings me to a realization that most of us overestimate what we actually need for a fulfilling existence. Face it, you have enough clothes and shoes, what you lack is creativity. Ouch! Here’s a litmus test, if there are clothes or shoes in your wardrobe that you have not worn in 3 months, then you most definitely have more than you need. You can stretch that a bit and say 6 months if you like. Many of us have clothes and shoes we haven’t worn, or only worn a few times in 2 years!
Interestingly, so much belongings can actually be a pain in the behind! Clutter weighs down, clutter masks beauty, clutter makes it difficult to get to what is important. Have you ever been in a situation where you want to wear this particular skirt/ top and you have to throw everything down and sweat it out in order to get to it? You need to declutter!
Like our homes, many of us gradually clutter our lives. Quite unintentionally too. We sign up for one more activity. Make one more commitment. Volunteer in one more cause. Join another group in church. We hold on to issues in our hearts, long after they have lost any relevance. When we should have healed and moved on, we choose to stay in pain. Dealing with clutter is tough and tedious, but it must be done at some point. The fatigue and burn out it leads to are surely not worth it. At the end of the day, just a few things really matter, and if we are true to ourselves (as we should be), we know what these are. A calendar that is full to overflowing is not necessarily a good thing. I know that being busy makes many of us feel important, some even use activities as a form of escape. But be careful, so that you don’t trap yourself in a rat race. All motion, no movement.
Ever heard of the term ‘white space’? In architecture, a white space or negative space is a strategically unfilled space. Meaning, you deliberately leave a space bare. It has also been imported into process management to mean areas where no one is in charge, and there are a number of other connotations. You know the feeling when you walk into a large spacious reception in an organisation or a large uncluttered sitting room in a home. It’s beautiful, and somewhat edifying. The space in itself confers some sort of magnificence. That’s what white space does, when used strategically. You feel free! You feel relaxed! You feel more…
I have since adopted a systematic approach to declutter my home. Giving up belongings to a mission to the less privileged has been a great avenue for me. But, it hasn’t been an easy task. Many times I put away some things to be given out or even thrown away depending on the condition, but I find myself going back and saying this one is so pretty, maybe I can still wear it a few more times. Or, I just might lose enough weight to be able to wear this again.
Decluttering is never an easy task, whether it’s your home or your life. Taking the right steps to prevent accumulating clutter in the future is even tougher. But, the ROI can be magnificent.
The first step towards becoming more productive is to declutter, so that you can have full view of what truly matters at every point in time; and devote enough time and attention to those.
Less is truly more. For both your home and your life.
Hope you take action today!
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#Rejiggedandreblogged. First published on adenikeblog in October, 2013.