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“Clutter causes stress, and clutter is one of the main barriers of productivity.” -- Charisse Ward

>> 8 March 2010


One of the first lessons in Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life program is about decluttering.

Clutter can come in all forms and shapes and situations.

It can be the button of your white blouse that you haven't had the time to sew back on, or any object in your house that doesn't really have a place of it's own.

It can also be unfinished paperwork, clothes that are too small but just waiting for you to loose that belly, shoes you don't wear anymore 'but cost a fortune', gifts you received and hate but don't dare to get rid of just in case the giver swings by and demands to see it.

It can be the loose screw of the bathroom mirror that keeps you bending your head when you put on your makeup.

It can also be the demanding friend who eats up your energy ranting on about how difficult her life is but who doesn't notice when you feel down.

'Energy flows where attention goes' was the mantra that opened my eyes.

I come from a very modest family where dad was the breadwinner and mom stayed at home to raise the kids.

Things could have been really difficult and dull. But we were lucky that dad, who comes from a family of 14 kids, is very ingenious, inventive and, well, to say the least, stingy.

He used to have a room in the basement filled with, for lack of a descriptif word, stuff. Alls kinds of stuff. From 10 TV sets (in case the set of a member of the very large family broke down), over a used WWII2 motorcycle and washing machines (a woman's gotta wash...), to all kinds of screws and bolts to fix things.

My mother got fed up with it as it was also the laundry room and 'stuff' and clean laundry did not go well together.

So he built a workshop in the garden. Not just any workshop, but a huge, in your face building that could have looked neat, were it not for the recuperated slates, windows etc that just made us call it his shed (nowadays, the grandchildren refer to it as 'the atelier' - brainwashed they are :-).

He continues to horde everything he thinks he might need one day. Since flatscreens hit the market, he has gotten rid of his wide selection of tube televisions thus making room for...more stuff.

We have learned to live with this. It was actually quite practical when I was younger and living on my own. I never had to buy anything and Dad came to fix everything.

He continued to act that way when I moved in with my now husband and for a while I didn't get what seemed like a fight for territorial rights... :-)

Now we know that we cannot talk to my Dad about something until we have bought or arranged for it, or else he will swing by with his trailer to present us with the hardly used, 'as good as new' version of what we are looking for.

So I guess you could say that the word clutter did not exist in our family dictionary :-)

Which made it hard for me to get it added in my own. Especially the realisation that clutter is not just the mess on your desk but everything that eats up your energy.

I am a much happier and healthier person now. And I have learned to 'deal with my Dad' in the process. He can still drive me up the wall with his behaviour, but I just don't go along with it anymore.

What is your relationship to clutter? Has it changed in the last years? Why and how?

2 comments:

jules 8 March 2010 at 18:15  

I was raised by a Clutterbug Dad, too! Couldn't throw anything out in front of him or else I'd hear about how it was "still good" and could be "used someday."

I am now in my own place with my fiance and struggling to free myself of the clutches of clutter. Probably 50% of the STUFF I have is just in my way. Christine's program has been helping me and my fiance get rid of a lot of stuff... we're on the way, but it's a long haul. Doing one box at a time.

Also, the bit about not telling Dad until AFTER you make the purchase is one of the tricks I learned, too. He gets easily offended if I don't want his stuff. I guess he doesn't realize HE doesn't really want it, either. ;)

MindFul MiMi 9 March 2010 at 08:59  

@Jules: I guess I knew I wasn't the only one but it's still nice to have it confirmed :-) And it's funny to see how we both deal with it in similar ways :-) Thanks for sharing.

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