Clutter!.. and Clutter Control

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -Thomas Edison

I've learned about my clutter. Some of these realizations are intellectual.. I haven't yet internalized them to follow-through. For example, I consider that--in the Irish tradition of animism--everything may have life. Everything, from your cloth dolls, to that mostly-dried-out feltwriter among your pens.

If I believe that everything around me has life (and I'm still considering this possibility...), then what am I sentencing these things to, when I store them in boxes in my closet, or--worse--a storage shed that I rent, about ten miles from where I live? Well, it might be true...

Likewise, I've realized how sad I feel when I open a box, or a drawer, and see a stack of incomplete projects. Or supplies for projects that I never got around to.

It's as if those boxes, drawers, and closets are filled with the ghosts of dreams.

Ick. Are you like me? Quit subjecting yourself to these mini-mourning and self-blaming moments. Set a deadline to either complete these projects, or get them out. Break those old habits!

And they are mostly habits. Putting the stack of mail on the sewing table, "just for now" is something we all do. Unfortunately, we rarely go back and move all of that mail. And so it's easier the next time we arrive--with loose bits of stuff, small purchases, receipts to save, and so on--to add it to the stack.

Result? We stop sewing because we can't get to the sewing machine. The sewing desk is too covered with clutter.

(As I write this, my sewing desk is covered with six envelopes of photos, some postage stamps, an unopened box of blank floppies, five baskets of fabric strips, and... Well, you get the idea. These are clutter habits that I'm working on.)

The recent Feng Shui movement (pronounced fung shway) has produced some of the best anti-clutter literature. It not only urges you to get the clutter out of the way, but also suggests that blocked energy (clutter) affects more than just the aesthetics and/or foot traffic in your house/bedroom/studio.

If I could only own one Feng Shui book (or one book about clutter), it would be Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston. (Pb, $10, ISBN 0-7679-0359-5.)

My second favorite Feng Shui book is Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, by Karen Rauch Carter. It's deeply into the concept that certain areas of our living space affect certain areas of our personal lives, too. Does this work? I don't know. But it helps me choose a starting point, when I'm tackling the clutter, and gives me extra motivation, too. (pb, $13, ISBN 0-684-86604-8)


If we have not worn or used something for three years, it is not ours anymore--give it away.
---Z. Budapest (Imbolc 2000 issue, The Beltane Papers)

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All original text, photos, and art are 2000, Aisling D'Art.