March 07, 2016

Making Change Real

It is clutter’s inertia that makes clutter-busting so difficult. On days when you don’t do anything with clutter, it stays exactly where it is, and that creates the illusion that you will be stuck with the same clutter forever.

This is only an illusion. Everything in a house got there by being carried in and can just as easily be moved around or taken out. Of course, if a house is full of clutter, the clutter won’t go away in an hour, but it takes only five or ten minutes to make a change that is easy to see and that has an emotional impact.

You can overcome this illusion of inertia just by visualizing the objects in your house in motion. Imagine the sofa at the other end of the living room, a dining room that doesn’t have the table or anything on it, all the recent magazines placed in a box and the box placed next to a chair, a floor lamp with its white light bulb replaced with a bulb that alternates between yellow and green colors. Imagine things in different places and it breaks up the illusion of inertia.

Sometimes imagination is hard, so just stand up and start moving things around. Rearrange the shelf of cleaning supplies so that related items are together. Put the magazines left on the sofa onto the coffee table, and put the magazines from the coffee table onto the sofa. Any movement at all, even if it doesn’t make sense, lets you see the potential for change. It makes change real.

If you’re faced with clutter, then, don’t start by sitting at a desk and trying to scratch out a strategy. Start by picking things up and moving them.

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