Title Card - My Experience With Clutter

My Experience With Clutter

Organizing your space is certainly not an uncommon topic for me here on the FI Blog, but I wanted to briefly touch on my own personal experience with clutter and how it has personally impacted the way that I operate in my day-to-day.

Have you ever completed a good solid spring cleaning and felt a huge rush of relief afterwards? Obviously cleaning up is going to feel good because you knocked something off your to-do list, but it often feels better than just getting something done. Why is that?

For me, I think I can finally answer that question after asking myself why I believed that I was feeling so hopelessly down about it in the first place. For starters, clutter isn’t just one large entity, it is always made up of a mixture of things that you have accumulated over time. If you have a good enough memory, there will sometimes be a reason for why you have each and every item in your clutter pile, and why it exists in that pile instead of, say, putting it away or throwing it out. That’s definitely not just one item on your to-do list, that is a great many little nagging things eating away at your brain.

Some more avid readers will remember my topic on mental load and know just how harmful a large mental load can be to your productivity and ability to concentrate. Now imagine looking at each individual piece of your clutter pile and treating it separately because you associate a different reason for having it, place it has to go, and worry that you’re not doing something about it. Yikes! That’s a whole lot of stress! This is one of the big reasons why cleaning up feels like such a relief, because although it may feel like you’ve crossed off one thing on your list, it’s actually lots of little items that you likely didn’t even know were bothering you.

Currently, I have a fairly small place where I can store the majority of my stuff. Accumulating things adds up real fast in a small space, and I quickly felt really cramped by having a load of stuff I didn’t know what to do with or where to put. I realized that living in that clutter was really affecting my daily outlook, and I became frustrated from just knocking my foot into something because it infringed on my walking space. Or having to navigate around this stuff and have to carefully think about what I was doing.

It’s little things like this that you don’t realize is the reason why you forgot what you were doing when you enter a room, because your mental capacity had to focus on your clutter rather than your task at hand. Or maybe your mind drifted away to the fact that you’re just not getting to cleaning that up, and suddenly you haven’t done anything productive at work for five minutes.

Trust me. Clean up. It’s a much bigger burden than you realize.