Does simplifying mean de-cluttering?
The short answer to this one is no.
The long answer is that it depends on your own interpretation of clutter.
Sounds like a contradiction? Let me explain.
I have an aunt whose home is filled with all manner of objects from photographs and ornaments to cushions and throw rugs. There’s not a clear surface or corner anywhere or an easy path from A to B. Her back porch is a crazy hodgepodge of pots, bottles and old boots – anything that a plant can grow in. There are windmills and wind chimes, so there is always movement and sound, and yet despite all this ‘clutter’ hers is one of the most friendly, happy, serene homes I’ve ever visited. There is no chaos here or unwanted, unnecessary junk, but loads of beautiful, unusual collectables that all mean something special to her.
There is a quote by William Morris that goes, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.
So there is ‘good’ clutter and ‘downright frustrating’ clutter. If you like to surround yourself with pictures, plants, collectables that bring you joy and do not complicate your life – then go right ahead.
But if you:
- Hold onto things just because they were gifts or belonged to your grandmother and you resent having to dust them every week.
- Have to rifle through years of old bills and receipts to find that particular document you were after.
- Keep knobs and buttons and cables and screws and trinkets that ‘just might be useful someday’.
- Still store things for your kids who moved out two years ago.
- Keep old magazines and newspapers that you’ll get around to reading eventually….
I think you get the picture.
This is clutter that you can do without. This is not useful or beautiful. There is an Australian de-cluttering expert called Peter Walsh who wrote a book entitled ‘It’s All Too Much’. As well as helping us address the problem of clutter, he explains the psychology of why we hold onto things in the first place and offers ways we can overcome this. There are also countless websites on the subject.
So let’s try this - Keeping in mind the quote by William Morris, why not go for a wander through your house. Look at what you have and ask yourself the following questions:
Do I love it?
Do I need it?
Does it make me happy?