I just read a post that says researchers found that clutter is good for creativity. Just when I am trying to finally overcome its tyranny over my life.
The magazine, Rodale’s Organic Life, put it under a slightly deceptive headline “The Surprising Health Benefits Of Clutter”. There weren’t any real health benefits listed, although I suppose the idea that I would stop stressing out about cleaning and organizing might help my health.
It wasn’t until the end of the article that a difference was made about hoarding and ordinary clutter.
Still, it kind of makes a point about how media information tends to muddy the waters in order to grab eyes in the ever competitive world of publishing. The most benign reason I can think of that we are given so much conflicting advice.
Is Clutter Good For Me?
In the sense of day to day disarray, allowing things to look “lived in”, I would say, yes. That kind of cluttering probably is conducive to being creative. It takes an awful lot of energy to maintain a clean and organized house. Especially for those whose personalities aren’t gifted with the neatness gene. (It must be genetic!)
But in the larger sense, of having a household where it is a struggle just to get through a task because you can’t find things you need, of having a generally disordered life… no, that is not going to render health benefits.
The Larger Lesson
I think the larger lesson here is to eliminate the struggle. When the environment of our homes threatens to dominate our lives- either by obsessive neatness or blockades of clutter, we need to adjust what we are doing (or not doing, if we just let things get jumbled and messy).
It becomes a matter of freedom. We operate best in an environment of freedom, I believe. Free to create, free to live. It is a balance. Order is the background against which we produce change and create something new. For me, the clutter got out of its allotted space and began encroaching on my ability to function, and then to enjoy life.
At that point it is unhealthy and unwelcome. That is why I must unburden myself from the tyranny of things. Good, bad, and neutral. I just need more space in life, especially as I am entering the end phase of life.
I no longer want to spend so much time in the service of things.
I won’t be chucking everything, anytime soon, though. Perhaps I am too slow about it, but for now, making a clear path throughout this year. I am renewing the organizing of what I need (or think I do!), throwing away the detritus, and finding ways to give items into new hands is the way forward.
If you are struggling, like me, to maintain the course, let’s set ourselves small, obtainable goals that keep the momentum moving forward.
What Cluttered Area Is the Least Beneficial?
That is the question I am asking myself, right now.
For me, it is an accumulation of clothing that no longer fits. I think it is time to let go of “perfectly good” clothes.
- It takes too much time every season to manage the packing and unpacking of it.
- I am taking up too much space trying to manage all those clothes.
- I actually wear a small percentage of them.
- I finally see that I will not be making craft projects out of any of them. Not even the buttons.
- I will look better if I am not tempted to wear these things that -don’t fit, aren’t in style, are wrong for me.
There. An even 5 reasons to sort through and get rid of piles of closet clutter.
Is Clutter Healthy?
No. I’m not buying it. There is no danger of me ending up in the obsessive opposite of perfectionistic neatness, so I will not be unhealthy that way merely by organizing and getting rid of the clutter.
People like me don’t need excuses to let the mess multiply. I have a new rule: if it makes me uncomfortable to have too much stuff and the mess is blockading me in some way- it is too much clutter and it is unhealthy.