As I've evolved as a minimalist (or should I say "conscious maximalist") I've tried to move beyond the low-hanging fruit mentality. One of those easy to grab fruits that I've criticized before is the focus on the practical how-to aspect of decluttering. Decluttering as an activity is fairly straight forward and easy to do. My criticism of the minimalist movement in the past has been on the fervor over decluttering "tips and tricks". There are only so many ways to say; "Take everything out. Throw stuff away. Donate/sell other stuff. Place remaining stuff back. Repeat."
However, one thing I don't get tired of exploring is the motivation and thinking behind what people do or don't do. I've recently applied that concept to the idea of living with clutter. Most of the time, clutter is the physical manifestation of negativity. Think about how often a piece of clutter represents regret, unfilled commitments, remorse, and/or a piece of a less-than-perfect past.
Look around your most cluttered room (or garage) and see how many of these questions pop into your head:
- "I should really do something about this."
- "That doesn't belong there. I don't even know what that is."
- "I never should've bought that."
- "I don't use this enough considering how much money I spent on it. I need to use it more."
These are only a few of the questions that are likely to wiggle there way into your mind as you look around an environment filled with clutter. Each question taken on its own may not be enough to alter your frame of mind too much. However, if they are popping into your head 24 hours a day over and over again you begin to have a problem. Why would you want to live in a place where such negative questions are always lurking just under the surface? Clutter breeds negativity.
What kind of mindset is your environment breeding?
I see decluttering as much more than reducing the sum total of my possessions. Decluttering is about removing negativity and putting the past behind me. It's about making room for positivity, growth, and opportunity.
What do you want your life to be filled with? Are your possessions getting in the way?