March 08, 2020

Clutter Clearing Reveals More Clutter

March of Trash asks you to take action on clutter every day for a month.

Clutter clearing is ultimately not very complicated but it can be a little tricky. One of the surprises in clutter clearing is that you can remove all the clutter from a specific place, such as a shelf or a drawer, only to return the next day or the next week and find more.

This effect can come about in a purely material sense. Maybe the extra hairbrush you removed from the bathroom was covering an empty toothpaste tube. You remove the hairbrush, but when you go back, you see whatever was hidden under or behind the item you just removed.

The more important effect, though, is psychological. When you remove a little clutter, it changes your view of yourself. You no longer see yourself as someone who keeps material possessions unnecessarily, to quite the same extent as before. Then, when you see your possessions the next day, some of them no longer live up to your new idea of yourself.

Another way of looking at this is that any given moment, some of your possessions are the most incongruous, or the ones that just don’t fit. When you get rid of a few possessions that “obviously” don’t belong, it makes it that much more obvious that a few other possessions don’t belong.

One of the most persistent illusions in clutter clearing is the illusion that you’re done. It’s never as simple as it looks on any given day. Go back the next day. Go back five days later. You’ll find more. Plan on working a little at a time and going back to look again.

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