On nearly every women’s magazine cover I’ve ever seen, there is one blurb about decluttering. That topic seems more compelling than the latest celebrity gossip, weight-loss plan, menu calendar or scheme to get a raise.
From that fact alone, I would surmise that everyone is a packrat, everyone has too much stuff, or they aren’t very organized about the stuff they have. (If you aren’t even a bit of a packrat, you can stop reading now.) You can read my own confession of “packratness” in my Seven Steps to Organizing Your Garage or Losing Your Sanity post.
SURELY THERE’S MORE TO IT THAN TOO MUCH STUFF
For me personally, what I’m really looking for when I read an article on organization or dejunking, is control over my life. I just want to feel I have a little bit of a hand on the steering wheel of my life. Mostly what I experience on a daily basis is the sensation of being in the passenger seat of a first time student driver.
I’ve known minimalists whose homes were pristine, perfect specimens of the uncluttered life. Were they happier? Did they seem more in control of their lives? Honestly, I have no idea. It seemed kind of barren, like stepping into the pages of a magazine model home photo shoot. Dry, flat, empty. That’s not the look or feel I’m aiming for either.
ALL OR NOTHING
We once moved into a home a week ahead of our possessions. We had a couple of foam mats, some sheets and pillows, bath towels, camp chairs, our suitcases. We ate take-out or deli food on paper plates, drank from paper cups. The house echoed a bit. But we both agreed it was oddly pleasant not to have so much stuff around us. Even the garage was empty but for the solitary car we parked inside of it. (Now there’s an idea, huh?)
I almost felt like I was on vacation; camping without the bugs, dirt and latrine. A couple of friends dropped by to see the new place. When we said we liked it empty you’d have thought we said, we’re thinking of installing a torture chamber in the spare bedroom. People really like their stuff.
We weren’t all that thrilled when the boxes and furniture arrived and filled every room to overflowing. (Did I mention we had downsized?) Suddenly there was life demanding attention, a to-do list miles long and months out. And with it all, an ongoing list of maintenance, dusting, cleaning, polishing, filing, cooking, washing, and sorting.
LET’S GO SOMEWHERE
Maybe that’s why I like traveling. My stuff is all that fits in one carry-on suitcase, a backpack and a personal item. Travel is life simplified, life in control. I’ve got my own hands firmly on that steering wheel.
MSH once suggested living in a motor home. (That’s traveling, I suppose.) You know, those bus sized houses on wheels that snowbirds drive into Arizona on their yearly migration from Minnesota and Canada? I couldn’t picture us that way. For one thing, we aren’t nearly old enough. Besides, where would I put all my books? The thought of downsizing THAT much made me breathless with anxiety. That is certainly not what I meant when I said I wanted to have my hand on the steering wheel of life.
Still, there was that one week we had of minimal stuff. It was relaxing. But, it was also temporary.
I wonder if I could find a happy medium between almost no stuff and way too much stuff.
Guess I’d better look up some articles on decluttering.
Holy Mackeral! Look at all these articles!!! Guess I’d better get reading!
- Declutter to Love your Space Again (meccinteriors.wordpress.com)
- Is decluttering the same as organizing? (imusthavethisthing.wordpress.com)
- Reclaiming Your Space: Letting Go – Confessions of a packrat (bitofmomsense.com)
- Organize & Declutter: 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge (inspiredbyfamilymag.com)
- Decluttering (galvestonandtikirealestate.wordpress.com)
- Does Your House Need to Lose a Few? (thehealthyhousewives.wordpress.com)
- Clutter (imusthavethisthing.wordpress.com)
- Workshop Q&A: How to Handle Decluttering Inconsistencies (creativeorganizing.typepad.com)
yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. At least my head. It’s not so much about the number of possessions, but having control over things. Having a home that works the way I want it to, and is truly a haven, and not just a place for storing stuff and sleeping.