On the one hand, there is clutter that is probably universally acknowledged as bad. It remains quite a feature of my life. It includes:
- The clutter of laziness. Everyday items that have a home, but don't find them. Simple household chores that don't get done for no real reason. Things that get broken and not fixed because they are not valued properly.
- The clutter of greed. Stuff that we've accumulated even though we don't need, use, or cherish it. Things owned in multiples, because one wasn't 'enough' or because the original got lost in the chaos. The constant need to 'upgrade' to the next model even when the old one is perfectly fine.
- The clutter of selfishness. Waste. Food that gets chucked out because of disorganisation or because we 'felt like something different'. Excess rubbish and packaging because I valued convenience over common good.
However, there is also such a thing as happy clutter. I'm never going to be a minimalist. To me, clutter can be welcoming, reassuring, and beautiful. I love:
- The clutter of creativity. Evidence of things being created in the midst of mundane life - piles of fabric, bits and bobs waiting for inspiration. Old items being reused in new ways. Upcycling, punking, reinventing.
- The clutter of history. Precious things that have significance beyond their functional or aesthetic appeal. Books. Letters. Memorabilia. Gifts. Things that are accumulated not just because they fit the latest colour scheme.
- The clutter of real life. Children and their toys underfoot. A well-used kitchen. Books with dog-ears. Dirt.
I aim to accumulate less, to take care of our household a little more, and to consume more thoughtfully.
I hope to learn to DEclutter, just enough to make our space workable and welcoming for all, but not so much that it is stiffling for young kids, or creative urges, or evidence of real life.
I want to take better care of what I have, to use it carefully and creatively, and to hold on to it lightly, knowing that we are not what we own.