Most creative people I know have a bit of clutter in their homes. Sometimes the more brilliant and innovative you are, the more you’ll struggle to keep the crap at bay. Some of us accept this as part of our natures. But there are lots of good reasons to clear out your clutter.
This is my garage. The picture will be a Rorschach test for you. If you’re neat and tidy you’ll cringe at the mess. If you’re messy you’ll think it’s pretty organized. If you’re my wife, you’ll run inside the house and yell, “How’d you get the car in there?”
12 years ago we turned the garage into a playroom for our kid. It was sweet and cozy. 3 years later we had to cram all our furniture in there during a remodel. The work took a matter of months, but the garage never recovered. It turned dank and hoardy.
Up until an hour ago I couldn’t park a car in there. We’d been lucky to keep a 2-foot-wide swath clear to make it from the inside door to the garbage can. So what, though? Lot’s of people have messy garages.
Clutter Does Not Serve You
Other than fooling you into thinking you’re a creative genius, every other effect of a cluttered space is negative. Sure, you’ll save minutes on the front-end when you’re messy, but it will cost you hours on the back-end.
You’ll waste time searching for things, and waste energy moving the things in the front to get to the things in the back.
It Keeps You Stuck
More importantly, you’ll hold onto the emotions that keep you stuck. Clutter happens when we can’t detach ourselves from things. Like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. He hid pieces of himself in Horcruxes, ordinary objects he imbued with bits of his soul. He did this to gain immortality, but in the end, Harry destroyed the Horcruxes and weakened Voldemort enough to defeat him.
Sometimes it’s due to sentimentality, or Sunk Cost Bias, or Depression-era training from our grandparents. But if we don’t regularly use the things that clog up our spaces, we’re sinking bits of our souls into them as they collect dust. And the longer the clogs stay in our homes, the harder it is to remove them.
Stuff that sits there does not move you forward in life.
You Will Feel Lighter
Ever go on a diet and succeed? You know that feeling of being lighter? Less stress on your joints, less stress on your belts, and the thrill of tying your shoes without losing your breath and getting all sweaty?
That’s what it feels like to clear your clutter. You’ll feel better. You’ll feel lighter. And you’ll feel able to tackle bigger issues in your life.
Others Will Benefit From Your Purge
Yeah, I made a few bucks in the process of clearing out the garage. That was cool. But after the Craigslist, LetGo, and NextDoor posts stopped working, I called in United Cancer Research for a pickup and drove down to Savers for a drop off.
Lot’s of people benefit when you sell it off cheap or give it away.
My final obstacle was a sofa bed that no one wanted and the charities wouldn’t take. Seemed like a good idea to build a man cave around it, but after 12 years, no men could fit in the cave and the sofa just got old, musty and sad.
But on Monday I got a call from a guy who’d been sleeping on an air mattress. Suddenly, my sad sofa bed became someone’s grateful upgrade. It stayed out of the landfill and started a new life being useful again.
Finally, feeling unstuck and much lighter, I parked my car in the garage today for the first time in 12 years.
Here’s Help To Clear Out Your Clutter
So if you’d like some help with your clutter, my friends Colleen and Amy have teamed up to lead you on a Clutter Challenge. Amy, the most supportive human I know, will guide you in 10-minute daily sessions to help you get the clutter out. Colleen, a woman who moved her 2000 square feet worth of stuff into a 200 square foot Tiny House, will help you master Time and Space, and teach you how to get your mountain down to a molehill. I strongly recommend you check them out, and download any free stuff they offer.
Meanwhile, I’ll be hanging out in my garage. There’s a bunch of old VHS tapes to go through. Seems there are bits of my soul stuck in a pile of Sumo tapes, and dozens of Forty Niner games from the ’80s…