Reducing Clutter

Today’s blog prompt, courtesy of WordPress: Where can you reduce clutter in your life?

There are a couple of places where I have things to clear out. My garage, of course, where I’ve stored boxes of belongings that I am either not ready to dispose of or that I don’t quite know what to do with or that perhaps I might use someday, such as my camping gear. My kitchen cabinets, especially the high ones where I’ve stored appliances I never use but that I keep just in case. For example, the blender. It’s not something I use, but it’s one of those items that really has no substitute, so I’ve been keeping it. I have a Magic Bullet now, which is a small blender, so I could get rid of the stored one, but since it’s not in the way, there’s no rush.

Despite the dubious disposition of these items, they are not really clutter. Clutter signifies untidiness and things lying around, impeding movement, reducing effectiveness, or wasting space, and everything I use on a regular basis — as well as things I don’t — are all neatly stowed away.

The place that is cluttered and where I definitely need to reduce that clutter is in my mind. I tend to mentally “rehearse.” For example, when the temperature gets below zero, my water meter goes haywire. Last year the water company charged me for 19,000 gallons of water I never used. I tried to get them to remove the charge, but they insisted the electronic meter was not at fault, that I had an intermittent leak or that I unknowingly left the water running or that someone stole water, none of which were true. I got tired of trying to get them to listen to me, so I paid the bill. Meantime, they raised the rates, so this year I have no inclination to let it go. The bill covering the period where the temperature got way below zero is due at the end of the month, and I find myself mentally rehearsing all the things I can think of to try to get them to realize the truth — that despite what they (and the company who sold them the meters) say, the meter is at fault.

I also have a tendency to obsess over things I cannot control, and so the same thoughts clutter my mind until a new one comes along to push the old obsession out of the way. Getting the recent bill for my homeowner’s insurance made the overage on the water meter seem like pennies. I budgeted for a hefty increase in the insurance, but this bill is exorbitant — an increase of 50%. Yikes. I’m trying to find a cheaper insurance, but I did that last year, and found nothing better than what I have, so now I clutter my mind with thoughts of how to pay the bill. Even more mind-cluttering are thoughts of future bills with additional increases.

I am doing a lot better about just letting things go, letting the clutter drain away, so I’m sure I’ll soon be able to declutter my mind of these things, too. At least I hope so. It’s much better — and more peaceful — to have an uncluttered mind.

As for the rest of it — my unused things are neatly packed away, so I’m not in any hurry to figure out what to do with them, though as I get older, I will have to make more of an effort to get rid of those stored items.

What about you? Where can you reduce clutter in your life?


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

4 Responses to “Reducing Clutter”

  1. Judy C Galyon Says:

    I have tried over the past 3 yrs. to get rid of a bunch of things that have no use, but my daughter asks why I am getting rid of so much stuff. I have tried by saying that it will make it easier when I’m gone, but that seems to fall on deaf ears. If I can’t use it I try to give it to a friend who can. If not that, Goodwill gets it. I still have a lot of stuff to get thru. At the rat I’m going it will take me all year.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m planning on waiting a few more years to get rid of a lot of things since I don’t know if I’ll need the stuff. As I get new things, though, I move out older things so that I don’t accumulate even more than I already have.

  2. Estragon Says:

    The association of control and clutter is interesting. Physical stuff can be thought of as either useful in controlling something (say, a blender), or preventing control by getting in the way (could also be a blender). The blender itself is neutral – the context distinguishes control from clutter.

    Likewise, thoughts are neutral. If they add to our control of our life, great. If not, they’re clutter. That said, I’m still very much in the process of figuring out control from clutter.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Interesting point about control and clutter, especially when it comes to thoughts. The rehearsing aspect does help give a feeling of control, since it helps me figure out what to do in a certain situation, but the obsessing aspect, when there is nothing I can do makes me feel out of control.

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