January 27th, 2015

Clutter in the Eye of the Beholder: January 27th, 2015

Last night was book club and it was hosted by a lovely woman with an absolutely stunning house.  As everyone filtered in, I heard her exclaim how “cluttered” her kitchen looked as her cupboards have glass + wood fronts.

Trust me when I say her house is not cluttered – it is full of life and energy! But it did make me think about how we see our own spaces and how other people see them. I find it fascinating that I can acknowledge that other people have a distorted lens when they talk about their space or themselves, but I have a hard time recognizing it in myself.  In fact, I oscillate daily, thinking how embarrassed I would be to show anyone my “now” house, with the knowledge that we’ve dispensed with hundreds of things already, and thinking about how proud I am at how far we’ve already come.  I also wonder if you, dear reader, imagine that my house is absolutely bursting at the seams.  Part of me would like to take before-and-after shots…but the rational part of me shudders at the thought of having photos of my pre-decluttering house living on for all of eternity on the Internet.  The Internet is forever, after all.

And then I circle back to feeling like this sounds like I am protesting too much, methinks.

My imaginary audience is putting too much pressure on me!  How dare you assume the things I am assuming you assume!  The nerve.

I stumbled across a blog, a few days ago, that encourages people to match the year with the number of things they purge.  The family in question got rid of 2008 things in 2008 and they’ve continued on until this year (getting rid of 2015 things).  I’ve been thinking about this a lot, in the past few days, and wondering why and how this family can continue to keep burning through so much stuff.  For one thing, she writes that they are a family of 8. However, I still cannot imagine.  If you are really interested, you can find her site, but I’m not linking to it because it is not my taste at all and it’s rather pushy sell-y, if you know what I mean.

In any case, I am thinking there is an important distinction to be made between the purging for the sake of purging and purging with a purpose in mind.  I’ve written about consumerism before, and I’ve written about the Zero Waste Home book.  I think there may be a sweet spot between having my children feel guilty about accepting treat bags at birthday parties (for fear of cluttering our house) and not even attempting to staunch the flowof “stuff” that cascades into our home so that we’ll have things to purge, down the road.  It’s like some weird temporary hoarder issue.

It’s a tricky balance.

I like to assume that the match-the-year-with-the-purge family lives amidst steaming heaps of clutter, all 6 children tripping and tumbling over stacks of doodads and geegaws. I envision the matriarch going on frantic late-evening jaunts to fast-food joints, hollering at the kids to hang onto their toys-with-meals so they can throw them out when they return home.

This is very uncharitable of me (and not at all true in any way, shape, or form), but it helps me justify why I’m not posting photos from here.  You, too, can imagine the heaps at my home.  I would hate to rob you of the fun you can have with your mean-spirited imagination! But that’s probably just me.

Maybe I’ll post “after” photos some day.  Stay tuned.

Day 88 Scorecard: 440 down, 1,385 to go

So totally not my house at all.  Grabbed from here.

So totally not my house at all. Grabbed from here.

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