Grateful for Clutter?!

Clients often say “I have too many books!” and my response is “There could be a lot worse things to have too many of!” Of course, I understand that what they are really saying is that books are a component of the clutter that they do not like. That said, we do live in a fortunate world where we can have too much. So much, in fact, that it drives us nuts.
With Thanksgiving almost here, so is the holiday season. Many of us will entertain and enjoy spending time with family and friends. We will be busier than usual – cooking, shopping, wrapping, socializing, and likely shoveling due to the season. While wonderful (except shoveling), all the extra activities can feel stressful and we might be more easily annoyed by things, especially clutter. We might find ourselves saying “Where the heck are the cookie cutters and why do I have 5 banana slicers?!”, or “14 sets of sheets and none of them fit the guest bed!”
Clutter does it make it harder to find things and, when we are already feeling stress, our clutter tolerance may be reduced. I encourage decluttering year-round to avoid this. That said, may we take a moment to appreciate our fortune – where stress is caused by having too many things!
My son stayed in a village in Ghana for a few weeks last summer. It was a great experience for him. The photos of the village where he volunteered showed homes with dirt floors, windows with no glass, and only some places had running water. I wonder what people from that village would think of us who have so much extra stuff that it adds stress to our lives.
Considering our clutter as our abundance can change the way we see it. Regardless of how those 5 banana slicers gained sentimental status, when considering all we have, we might feel a little silly for getting emotionally attached to them. When we identify that we have a lot that we really don’t need, it is easier to let things go.
So give a gift to yourself and be grateful to live a life where we are able to have clutter. Also, remember that we can live without almost all of it and letting some of it go can make your life easier. When you are giving gifts, ask yourself if it is going to become clutter at the receiver’s home. Perhaps consider gifting experiences instead of things. Movie passes. Gift cards. Tickets to amusement parks or performances. Take the grandkids to see the lights and have hot chocolate at the Landscape Arboretum. Less can be more. Experiences create memories and those will never end up on a shelf at Goodwill!

Blog, From the Expert