Why the clutter?

Thursday, 24th February, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 24


Coinciding with the appearance of snowdrops, daffodils and tulips, I’ve been thinking about spring cleaning and de-cluttering.

With the de-cluttering bit coming before I can clean any spaces, I’ve so far sorted 2 bookcases (although not like this!) and emptied half my wardrobe. It also felt satisfying de-cluttering my Inbox, although there’s nothing I can physically clean there (in fact that’s a bonus!) So I’m now wondering what else I can clear out / tidy up, and how I ended up here in the first place!

Why do we ‘clutter’?

I often hear people saying they find it hard to throw things away … “because they might come in useful sometime”. Is this you? Or is it about not knowing where to put things / how to organise your possessions?

In Dejunk Your Life Helen Foster suggests a few reasons why we clutter:

1. Age – older people have a “waste not want not” philosophy, having experienced difficult times / depressions. With our recent recession period I see this age group including younger generations too!

2. Right-brained – people who are creative, often late, don’t like working to a schedule, and use lots of visual stimuli, have a tendency to clutter. They find it hard to file / categorise things because they can think of a few different places where things could go.

3. Parents – we pick up habits from our parents or significant others who we live with. Foster suggests that if your parents were over-tidy you might rebel by not clearing up after you; whilst “deprived” children will develop a tendency to surround themselves with things out of security.

4. Gender – when encouraged to de-clutter, men like to keep things, but want to be helped to compartmentalise things better (particularly paper). Alternatively, whilst women like to buy lots of stuff and don’t get around to throwing things out, once they are shown what’s useless, they want it gone!

I realise these are generalizations, but you might recognize yourself in there somewhere! I fall into categories 2 and 4.

Do you have a tendency to clutter?

Have you had this habit in the past, but no more?

When is clutter a good thing?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

(Photo courtesy of Maggie Smith)

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