What is Clutter?
Clutter is anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity. It can be outgrown clothes, obsolete papers, broken toys, disliked gifts, meaningless activity, ancient resentments, or unsatisfying relationships. We may be selective in some areas, but not in others. Objects may be strewn about or wedged into drawers; neatly stacked or stowed in storage.
Our clutter seems to have a life of its own, to multiply without effort on our part. We may feel overwhelmed, controlled by our possessions, and/or doomed to be hopelessly disorganized. No matter how we deal with our clutter, it can be a source of pain and shame to us and to those we live with.
Despite this pain, we fear throwing things out. We think we might need it, fix it, or wear it again. We don’t want to be wasteful or ungrateful. We don’t know what to keep and what to discard. We don’t know how much is enough.
Decluttering is not merely eliminating, but gradually transforming our space so that we surround ourselves only with things that express our purpose. It means turning something useless into something useful; creating more leisure and space; being more honest in our relationships; eliminating distractions and simplifying our lives in order to find our spiritual roots.
Although we may cling to our clutter, what we really yearn for are surroundings of beauty, order, serenity; a balanced life; and harmonious relationships.Am I a Clutterer?
1. Do you have more possessions than you can comfortably handle?
2. Are you embarrassed to invite family, friends, health care providers, or maintenance workers into your home because it is not presentable?
3. Do you find it easier to drop something instead of putting it away, or to wedge it into an overcrowded drawer or closet rather than finding space for it?
4. Is your home, or any part of it, unusable for its intended purpose, with a bed you can’t sleep in, a garage you can’t park in, a kitchen you can’t cook in, or a table you can’t use for dining?
5. Is clutter causing problems at home, at work, or in your relationships?
6. Do you hesitate sharing about this problem because you feel embarrassment, guilt, or shame about it?
7. Do you have a weakness for discarded objects, bargain items, freebies, reading materials, or yard sales?
8. Do you use avoidance, distraction, or procrastination to escape dealing with your clutter?
9. Does your clutter create a risk of falling, fire, infestation, or eviction?
10. Do you avoid starting assignments, miss deadlines, or abandon projects because you can’t find the paperwork or material you need?
11. Do you have difficulty making decisions about what to do with your possessions, daily living, or life in general?
12. Do you rent storage space to house possessions that you rarely use?
13. Do cleaning, organizing, follow through, upkeep, and maintenance all become daunting tasks, making the simplest of chores insurmountable?
14. Do you bring an item into your home without designating a place for it and releasing an equivalent one?
15. Do you believe that there is all the time in the world to clean your house, finish those projects, and read all those piles of old magazines or newspapers?
16. Are you easily sidetracked, moving from one project to another, without finishing any of them?
17. Are you constantly doing things for others while your own home is out of order?
18. Do you often replace possessions rather than find or clean those you already have?
19. Does perfectionism keep you from doing anything at all?
20. Does clutter cause you to have late charges added to your monthly financial obligations?
21. Do you feel a strong sense of emotional attachment towards your possessions, which makes it difficult to release them?
22. Do you consider all your possessions to be of equal worth, whether or not the objects have financial, functional or sentimental value?
23. Do you waste your valuable time and talents by constantly rescuing yourself from clutter?
24. Does clutter keep you from enjoying quality leisure time?
25. Is the clutter problem growing?
If you have answered yes to some of these questions, Clutterers Anonymous (CLA) is here for you. Many of us have answered yes to most of these questions, while some of us have identified with only a few. However, the actual number of positive responses is not as important as how you feel inside about your clutter.
Moreover, these questions may have shown you that your life is unmanageable or out of control. Rest assured that you are not alone! Millions of people around the world have trouble with cluttering.
Clutter may manifest in both blatant and subtle ways. The symptoms and patterns of our compulsion are as numerous as there are clutterers. The amount of clutter in our lives is not as important as the desire to stop cluttering. If you want help, you can find it in the CLA fellowship. Visit www.clutterersanonymous.net
for information or call the CLA chapter serving Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties at 609-668-3785.