Just when I thought I had said all that needed to be said on the topic of clutter (Good solution to problem of clutter), I ran across more information in an unexpected place, a memoir called The Happiness Project, in which the author, Gretchen Rubin, describes a year she spent trying to understand happiness and enjoy life more. She attacks the problem of clutter in Chapter One.
Despite my vow to de-clutter two more spaces, using the fifteen-minute a day strategy designed to turn what seems to be an overwhelming problem into something manageable, I have been too busy hosting parties lately, thereby creating more messes rather than cleaning them up. I’m sure this problem increased my receptivity to additional anti-clutter information from The Happiness Project. Rubin divided household clutter into eight categories. See how many items in these groups you can find in your home. I think I could find all eight if I looked in every drawer or closet, which I won’t do because I would find the experience exhausting and depressing.
“Nostalgic clutter” forms the biggest category in our house: my mother-in-law’s sari (which wouldn’t have fit her and definitely will not fit me even if I had any idea how to wrap it); my mother’s tea cups and grandmother’s unfinished quilts; my father-in-law’s letters; and the Indian knife my dad got permission to take home from World War II. These are examples from a nearly endless list.
Rubin calls the second category “conservation clutter,” which consists of items that could be useful to someone, somewhere, some day, like the cotton batting I bought to use in making potholders– a more than adequate supply to create fifty to a hundred of these, though I made only three — that now spills out of a closet whenever I open the door.
“Freebie clutter” would be the plastic trains we’ve collected at years of Seattle Mariner’s Train Night giveaways. Before you laugh, remember that some of you may not be keeping trains, but you are holding on to those Mariners’ bobble-head dolls.
Old underwear and blankets with the binding falling off belong in the category of “crutch clutter,” meaning things we’ve gotten so accustomed to using we haven’t yet noticed they are falling apart around us or on us.
The last three kinds of clutter, Rubin labels “aspirational,” for that paint set we thought we were going to use to create a masterpiece; “buyer’s remorse” for the article of clothing purchased so we would have it when we lost twenty pounds; and “outgrown” for items we used at one time but will never use again, like film cameras.
Now that I’ve cited all the different forms of clutter spreading through my home like germs in a petri dish, I’ve come to a new conclusion about cleaning it out. I think this sounds like a winter-time activity, don’t you?