March 28, 2016

Room for Something to Happen

We don’t clear clutter just as a matter of abstract principle, but because it makes a real, immediate difference in what we’re able to do. Removing clutter means making room for something to happen. Here are a few simple examples:

  • A cleared kitchen table means you are ready to prepare food for yourself or host a dinner party.
  • With an empty email inbox it is easier to see and respond to new messages that come in.
  • If the seats in your car are empty, a group of people can go somewhere.
  • Recycling yesterday’s newspaper makes it easier to focus on and respond to today’s news.
  • Take away the clothes that don’t fit, and it’s no trouble at all to find clothes that fit.
  • Remove the dead keys from your keychain, and you can find the key you need even in the dark.
  • If there is no junk on the sofa you can sit down and rest for a minute.

With less clutter, there are fewer obstacles no matter what you end up doing. You can always work around clutter somehow, but without it, life becomes lighter, and you can respond to events in a shorter time. This shows up especially when you want to do something quickly. You can do something on a whim, without having to have a reason that is big and compelling enough to overcome the obstacles that the clutter creates. Similarly, you are ready to respond in an emergency instead of having to wait for someone else to take action because you wouldn’t be able to move fast enough.

The combined effect is that you are more ready for whatever life has to offer. Whether it’s something good, something bad, or just a change you have to adapt to, if there isn’t much extra stuff in the way, you take action more quickly and easily.

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