Finding balance in a chaotic world

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It’s All Too Much

ClutterFor a while there my wife and I loved to watch Clean Sweep. The premise was that this team of people would come in, clean out two rooms in your house, and then redecorate them and make you get rid of a ton of stuff. Then you’d come back into your room and be surprised with the results. It was a fun show and the change in these peoples’ lives was amazing and noticeable.

 

After watching it for a while, though, you learn that the change is not about redecorating, it is actually about the amount of stuff people have. Granted the show chose people whose rooms were overflowing with stuff, but still most people have rooms full of stuff and can relate. So while I originally enjoyed the show for the carpentry projects they undertook, I walked away from it looking at the things I own and how they are affecting me.

 

When it comes to decluttering, the professional organizer on the show (typically it is Peter Walsh), has the owners divide things into a keep pile, a sell pile, and a toss pile. Then they go through the keep pile a second time whittling things down even further. Only the things that remain will go back into the house. The amazing thing is that this pile is typically a third or less of its original size. Meaning that these people had 2/3rds more stuff that they realized they just didn’t need.

 

So I decided to try it out on my bedroom closet. I pulled everything out and sorted it into the three piles. Once I had finished going through everything, I returned what I was keeping to the closet and used some baskets to better organize what was on my shelves. Now I did not think I had a lot of clothes and I could walk into my closet without any significant issues, but imaging my surprise when I discovered 9 trash bags full of trash and clothes to be donated. All of that came out of just my closet!

 

Another amazing thing happened. I actually felt more peace when in my closet. I know it sounds strange, but all of that stuff jammed into that small space meant I had very little room to move in my closet and if I needed to get to something I would have to shift other things around. The fact that I could move inside my closet and that everything was easy to get to was amazing. In short, I felt far more balanced in my closet.

 

From that point on, the desire to purge myself of possessions has grown tremendously. Now the primary deciding force on purchases for me is not how much does it cost, but rather where will I put it. I truly feel that I finally own my possessions, not that they own me. As a nice side effect of this, my purchasing has gone down and my financial position has increased noticeably.

 

So I challenge you to tackle your closet one afternoon. Once finished, walk around in it and tell me you don’t feel better. I bet you can’t.

Comments

Comment from Peter Walsh
Time: May 23, 2008, 11:00 am

What a great blog! I’m thrilled to read that you enjoyed the book and discovered that less really is more!! Congrats! Peter