I like to wake up and feel inspired to work. I especially like to wake up in an environment that is conductive to being creative and coming up with useful ideas. It’s particularly important considering I work from home. This all leads to the predictable revelation that I hate clutter. And I think you should too.
Everybody should hate clutter.
Clutter is a symptom of bad organization and faltering standards. Not only does it invade your physical space, but it creeps in to your mindset and fights your sense of clarity like some kind of Amsterdam space brownie.
When I moved from Europe to Asia, I did so by packing my entire life in to two and a half suitcases. I should have had three, but naturally my girlfriend hijacked half of the third bag. Fucking shoes…
While moving across the world was never designed to be an exercise in home decluttering, it was almost therapeutic to spend a few hours dumping out items that I’d clung to since my childhood for no apparent reason.
Items like clothes that no longer fit, or had faded to gray from the cobwebs in my wardrobe. Books and magazines that I stacked for the sake of nostalgia, yet never opened or ever found a second use for. Christ, even my desk drawer had a collection of four mobile phones that had survived various contract replacements.
Yes, I can be accused of cluttering. I’m also the world’s worst advertisement for recycling.
Either way, moving to Thailand gave me the perfect reason to chuck out what I no longer needed. The problem for many people is simply making that judgment call. We somehow get emotionally attached to our possessions even though a neutral observer could quite openly accuse us of being bloody mental for treasuring that old cassette player from decades gone-by.
It’s irrational but many people find comfort in the mass hoarding of shit they’ll never actually use. A woman’s closet is the best place to look for such an example. If she lets you within 50 feet of it, that is.
My home office has yet to take shape, despite occupying it over six weeks ago. There are still clothes hanging over radiators from an annoying lack of storage, keys flung everywhere and a slowly mounting pile of change from an immense overuse of Tesco’s self-service machine (I live right above it).
This all contributes to making me feel like I’m working out of a makeshift Anything Goes store, except the hundreds of items are my own accumulating possessions. Yep, it’s happening again, and I think another mass cull of clutter is in order.
While this task is relatively easy for me, I realise it can be quite daunting if you’re the proud owner of a small mountain of personal possessions.
Here are three questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I going to use this item in the next six months? If the answer is “There’s always a chance“, get rid of it. You’re clinging.
2. Is my sentiment towards this item completely dumb and irrational? Go on, be honest. “My first girlfriend gave it to me in 1987” sucks as a reason.
3. Has my lifestyle moved on from this purchase? Maybe you went through a golf craze several years ago, but if your desire to play again is zilch, you should probably whack that shiny club set on eBay or Craigs List.
These three questions answered honestly, combined with a ruthless eyes-clamped-shut attitude to throwing out what you know is cluttering your home, should free up a lot of space for clear, positive thinking.
If you’re planning to move to a different continent, it will also save you a HELL of a lot in excess baggage charges. Don’t say nobody warned you!
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