DISSOLVING THE CLUTTER BUG
“Sicknesses of the mind are feelings that we create and put onto objects. But if you can see the objects without the feelings, then you are healthy.” Sydney Banks
Recently it occurred to me that my feelings are put onto things every day. It results in a tendency to clutter. My grandfather was a hoarder. His ultimate in hoarding was a pot with its base sawn out discovered after he died. What on earth was all that about? There is a whole web of beliefs and ideas that makes it difficult for me to throw things away.
- I really like this
- If I throw it away I’m bound to need it again next week
- It’s in perfectly good shape/still works
- It would be wasteful to chuck it out
- I could do something with this. [Repair, alter, repurpose]
- I’ve barely worn this
- This cost £x
- This is worth £x
And on and on and on. There is a common belief with all of them. I will feel bad if I throw this out. ‘Bad’ meaning I will feel wasteful, or experience loss.
Of course, all of the thoughts and beliefs which make up this web have a degree of truth in them. But taken together they lead to an unmanageable mess and ignore a more immediate fact. This web of beliefs creates a feeling of emotional clutter and burden. Not only physical mess. Every time I have the thought, ‘I could do something with this’, a thought of ‘when will I find time for that’ follows. There is a little bit more on my mind. Multiplied many times.
Subscribing to a belief that decluttering will lead to a negative feeling in the future ignores an important facts. The future is an incomplete equation; no one can accurately predict how they will feel at a future time. I am just as likely to feel happy with a tidy and organised space.
More importantly when I remember at a deep level that no object, or even large collection of objects, has the power to make me feel anything, I begin to free myself. When I revert to the truth that only my own thinking about the stuff, creates feelings I have more internal space. I’m free to see the clutter with neutrality and, even better, to let it go without a wrench.