Clutter as a Protective Device

When someone has too much clutter, they need to consider why they keep so much stuff when it bothers them.

Usually, the clutter is protecting them from something. It may be keeping them from having to make decisions. As long as you ignore all your clutter, you don’t have to decide what to do with it all. Many people with too much clutter are also perfectionists; they think that their stuff needs to go to just the right places. The thought of making all those decisions of where to send each thing becomes overwhelming, so it’s easier to just postpone the whole effort and keep tripping on the clutter.

Another thought: your clutter might be a distraction from yourself. If you didn’t have all these someday projects lying around, you might have to focus on yourself and your life instead of all that other stuff waiting for you to do something with it.

Or perhaps the clutter serves as a buffer between you and the outside world. You keep people out because you don’t want them to see what a mess you live in. It’s a handy dandy excuse for not having people over.

There may be other reasons, but one thing is for sure: the clutter is serving some kind of purpose for you. Otherwise you would get rid of it, since it bothers you. Figure out why you keep it, and you’ll be one step closer to getting rid of it.

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One Way to Overcome High Housing Costs and Low Pay

As the economy gets harder to live with in some areas, people are coming up with unique ways to survive financially. School buses are often the choice of those who want to work with their hands to make a portable home for their family, so that they can go where the work is without leaving their family behind.

I think we will see more of this as long as incomes fail to keep up with living expenses.

Where Does It Go?

We just got back from a trip to visit family two states away. After we unloaded the car, the kitchen (the room closest to the garage) was covered with stuff on every counter and all over the table.

I used to leave things like that until I had the energy to tackle them, but that was years ago. Now that I’m so used to living in a small house, I know we have to get that stuff put away ASAP. The best way to do that, I’ve learned, is to ask one question about each item: Where does it go? Then we take it there.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds if you haven’t designated places for everything. The hats and jackets go in the closet, but if you’ve stuffed other things in there, there will be no room for them. The empty drink cans go in the recycler, if you’ve got room in there. The dirty laundry goes straight to the basement, where the washer is hopefully not covered with stuff so you can run a load……you get the point.

This trip we brought back some family albums an elderly uncle gave to us. They’re sitting on the coffee table in the living room right now, but a place will have to be found for them; they can’t stay there. We need to come up with an answer to that question, don’t we?

“Where does it go?” is the question that will solve all your clutter problems, but only if you answer it, and fairly quickly.

 

 

 

New Decluttering Book on the Way

I’m afraid my blogging has suffered because I’ve been so busy working on my new book, which I’m excited to say is almost finished. It’s in the final editing stage right now, so it won’t be much longer before it’s published.

Like my other books, it’s related to decluttering. Until you go through the process yourself, I don’t think you can truly understand just how liberating it is to get rid of things you don’t really need. My goal is to help others understand just how wonderful it feels to be free of too much stuff, and to live in an uncluttered home.

In a culture where accumulation of stuff is a sign of prosperity, it seems like someone has to become overwhelmed with their clutter and sometimes even forced to downsize before they consider lightening their load.

So they begin to declutter their homes, but get stalled out in the middle of the process. There’s a common reason for that; the solution is the subject of my new book. So stay tuned!

 

Building New Small Houses

This recent article about builders who think new construction should include smaller homes brought joy to my heart. It has been so long since I’ve seen a small house being built. But it no longer makes sense to only build McMansions. Young people can’t afford them.

Having lived in a large home for many years, I learned that while it’s nice to have lots of space, cleaning it takes too much time,  and paying for it takes even longer. And even after we paid off the mortgage, we still had an enormous property tax bill to deal with every year.

Since we moved to a small, well-designed small ranch (1000 square feet), I’ve come to truly enjoy the freedom that comes with not having so much house to deal with. I hate to think of how much time I spent decorating that big house we had. Now that we do everything on a smaller scale, I love having so much more free time. I can see where that would really benefit busy young singles, couples and families.

I  hope that article is a sign of things to come. I can’t wait to see a new subdivision filled with lots of small, energy-efficient, well-designed little homes. If I didn’t love my little house so much, I’d be tempted to move to a brand new one.

Another Homeowner Out on the Street

Wow, is this a sad story. A widow whose home was rehabbed by the television show “Extreme Makeover” just lost her house to foreclosure, has to move out, and doesn’t know where she will go.

There’s lots of blame to go around here, from the television show producers that insisted on a huge, showy makeover, to a government that charges ridiculously high property taxes, to a woman who was under stress but should never have agreed to have her house improved to such an extreme.

The fact is that a widow with three boys never needed a 3,300 square foot house with with all the latest amenities, including an indoor water wall. She just needed a safe sturdy house in which to raise her boys.

So many people have lost their homes over the past decade because they chose to live in a place that was much larger and fancier than what they really needed. When will people learn? Small and affordable = freedom and peace!

 

The Boring Sister Wins This Round

My sister is getting ready to sell her 6-bedroom mansion and downsize to a two-bedroom condo. For most people, this would mean spending weeks or even months going through everything, deciding what to donate, what to sell, what to pitch and what to allow in the new place. That’s how it was for me when I moved from our 5-bedroom house to a tiny ranch.

But that won’t happen to my sister. She has plenty of furniture in the home she’s about to sell, but she’ll sell most, if not all of it, without a backwards glance. As for the personal belongings, well, she doesn’t have that many.

You see, my sister is the opposite of a hoarder; she rarely keeps anything. This was predictable way back when we were kids sharing a bedroom. Her twin bed was always neatly made, with just one cute little doll or stuffed animal on the pillow as a decoration. Meanwhile, my bed had at least half-a-dozen dolls on it.

Her side of the dresser held a little ballerina statue and a hair brush. My side was covered with belongings and mementos of all sorts, starting at the imaginary line in the center and running out to the very edge. She often looked at my side of the dresser and said, “You’re such a slob!”

I disagreed; I just loved all my stuff, and I had lots of interests, which automatically translates into lots of stuff.

As a budding writer, I regularly used a toy typewriter I got for Christmas. It was parked on a card table in the corner of our room that I used it as a desk. Like most writers, I was also an avid reader; my Nancy Drew collection took up most of the space on our little bookshelf.

Of course, I had other toys besides the dolls on my bed. I had lots of Barbie dolls so they could talk to each other, and naturally they had lots of clothes, and they needed a furnished Barbie house, which I also had. Then there was my love of sewing, which let me to collect fabric remnants, sewing tools and a collection of patterns.

Meanwhile, my sister had very few belongings because she had very few interests. I don’t remember what she did back then besides fight with me over the sorry state of my side of the room. I do recall that she took ballet lessons, but other than that I think she mostly watched television. To her complaints about my being a slob, I usually retorted that she was boring.

She still is, to be honest. But she’s got the edge on me now, because her move from the mansion to the condo is going to be the smoothest downsizing ever, I just know it.