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I recently heard that the difference between de-cluttering and minimalism is like a difference between hammering and being a carpenter. The carpenter also has a hammer, but that is not the only tool he uses.
So maybe it is not just about de-cluttering, but finding the answer to how did it got cluttered? De-cluttering is similar to treatment intended to eliminate the symptoms of the problem. It helps you believe in yourself and provides instant gratification. The photos on social media – mainly presenting tidy closets – are full of pride. By the way – why the closet focuses the problem of clutter? Is it because of fast fashion? Or is it that we are trying to create our image with clothes, therefore closets are a graveyard of abandoned ideas for these images? Or maybe this is because a construction of a closet as such, a dark place that can be closed and we can forget about what is inside, helps to accumulate clutter?
Anyhow, I suspect that the order in the closet will inevitably disappear if, after de-cluttering, an analysis of the root causes and an attempt to eliminate them are not conducted. Reflecting on this issue, I thought about Bosch’s painting “Juggler” (it illustrates today’s entry). The hero of the painting, busy with the details of the juggler’s trick, does not notice that he is being robbed. And it may be that, like the hero of the painting, you look very carefully – but not at what is important. Therefore I suggest you not only clean up the wardrobe, but also clean your head.
What areas can lead to clutter and require cleaning the head? Here is my suggestion of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse who contribute to clutter around you.
You do not take ownership
“I don’t accumulate, it is my husband, children, grandmother …” Well, the clutter did not show up in your house last night, it just kept increasing for months, maybe even years. Consider the hypothesis that you also contributed to allowing unwanted things to enter the house. Taking accountability is the first step to change, because if you put the blame on others, it will be obvious that nothing can change.
You do not know what you want
You act mechanically and do not think about what you want, you just fill, fill and fill: a wardrobe, a calendar, a shelf with books and a first aid kit, triggered by more or less subtle advertising message. What would you like to do? how to live? what to read? who to spend time with? Turning off automatic reactions, introducing planning and choosing will give you a better chance of avoiding clutter.
You collect just in case
Your house is full of “just in case” items. After all, you never know when you will need a pontoon, fins or an electric blanket, so you do not throw anything away. Just in case. TV boxes, spice jars, strawberry chip baskets and archives of magazines fill the basement. Let’s face it, you’ll never reach for these things. Even if you get an opportunity to use a pontoon, you will not be able to locate it. Try The Minimalists’ 20/20 rule : if you can redeem an item in 20 minutes for $20 or less, you do not have to keep it just in case: in case, you will manage easily!
You do not work on habits
You are not systematic and allow your house to clutter right after you it become clean with so much of your effort. The foundation of order, in addition to having less is to adhere to the principle of “place for everything and everything in place” and not allow the pile to form , which is the first step before things get out of control.