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Anyone else hate de-cluttering? I love my clutter and I'm keeping it...

(17 Posts)
AnnaLP Wed 23-Sep-15 08:58:19

The thing I love about blogging as a pastime and hanging about communities such as mumsnet is that you can offer advice and tips (or just get something off your chest that's been bugging you) and no one can really criticise your opinion or highlight the disadvantages to your big new idea.

Of course, people will comment on what you have written (usually very honestly and often very bluntly) but by then you've posted your blog or forum topic and gained all that satisfaction from getting your thoughts out there.

My big issue today is that I hate de-cluttering and I hate all those blogs telling me why I should do it – how I'll be a calmer, more organised person and even a better parent (come on – I'm perfect already). All those "declutter your home in 5 easy steps" posts (I even wrote some of them) – but really I love my clutter and happen to think that my cluttered home office is the source of some of my best creative ideas.

So my advice to you today is – forget the decluttering and enjoy the mess – it could help you think more creatively.

Anyone else want to share their own personal nuggets of wisdom?

gamerchick Wed 23-Sep-15 09:02:09

I don't think it's good for bairns to live in a messy cluttered house. If you live alone then do what you want but forcing kids to do it as well isn't right.


suzannecaravan Wed 23-Sep-15 09:02:30

have you seen the hoarders series on netflix?

Atomik Wed 23-Sep-15 09:19:59

I think that's fine if you live alone and the clutter is below the line when it becomes Hoard In Waiting.

But if you live with other people it is worth a long, hard look at how they might be negatively impacted by one person's desire to enjoy the mess and feel creative.

I'm not impartial in this. My mum was very attached to her vision of herself as creative. That constantly reinforced association between a positive personal attribute and her own desire to keep stuff meant over time her mess became clutter and the clutter became a hoard.

And we were trapped in it.

I hated it when it was just mess. Even at that point it made life far harder and more stressful than it needed to be. It's tough trying to stay focused and top of things when you are constantly distracted with trying to find stuff, or a clear space to do something ... while living in a rather jumbled "system" of organisation.

Plus, despite her announcements that it was mess not dirt, the reality was that cleaning with clutter is a long drawn out, time consuming process. So corners got cut. Eyes were averted. "Messy not dirty" mantras induced rose-tinted blinkers. And it became very much messy+dirty.

I understand dressing up a leaning in positive, self serving attributes in the way my mother did. I catch myself doing all the time. I struggle with not hurling stuff out of the house faster than the family brings it in. If I didn't keep a lid on it we'd be sitting here with just the bare bones of a family home and a constantly overflowing dustbin. It's hard work sometimes to stick to family boundaries about stuff rather than just my own.

IRuthBolirsUhbniuzsDH Wed 23-Sep-15 09:32:58

I don't quite understand. Is this a plug for a blog you wrote or something?

cunningplan101 Wed 23-Sep-15 10:41:48

This must be the ultimate first world problem from both sides of the fence - either you have to much stuff and you think you should clear it, or you have too much stuff and you're wanting to resist the pressure to clear it.

Next we'll be complaining about our over-full fridges.

LooseSeal Wed 23-Sep-15 10:45:36

It's your business until you get old and either move into a nursing home or die and someone else has to deal with your clutter. I say this from bitter experience of having to deal with my grandparents very large, very cluttered house.

IRuthBolirsUhbniuzsDH Wed 23-Sep-15 11:04:06

My Grandmother had a large amount of stuff when she died. My mother (her DiL) hated it and was filled with terror and anxiety about it all. (My Mum is the type who hates owning anything and will get rid of almost everything if she can, and suffers with proper OCD about this, and other things, which doesn't help)

Regarding the stuff though, I loved it! But then I loved it when she was alive too. Most of it was beautiful and fascinating and due to a complicated family dynamic I never really got to know her in an emotional way, which I regretted. So to go through her stuff, respectfully, and sort it out and find the tiny things she had kept, and make sense of them a bit, was a grief thing for me, enabled me to process her death and that of her husband a bit better than I could have otherwise.

I tried to take on as much of it as I could. I'm still sorting through now. There are several hundred paintings and even more drawings though which my poor Dad has had to take on, and he is finding it a strain.

(They were both artists and art teachers)
My own house is now twice as cluttered as it ought to be because of all their stuff but I think an equal amount has gone to the tip or charity shops. I am happy to have her lovely things and her paintings and embroidery on the walls. I feel like I am finally allowed to love her.

AnnaLP Wed 23-Sep-15 12:13:39

IRuthBolirsUhbniuzsDH what a lovely story - I think that goes to show that "clutter" can be beautiful, wonderful things and that the constant need so many people have to de-clutter means that we can lose old family treasures - things that might bring us joy in our old age. When older family members die we often lose their memories and it is only their stuff that reminds us of who they were.

That said I appreciate the other comments about the fine line between clutter and a messy/dirty home.

I am fortunate enough to have my own home office and have an agreement with DH that this is my space and I can keep it how I like providing the rest of the house is tidy and clean. And I do believe that ideas are more often generated in a room full of things than in a clear, organised space. But maybe that's just me...

pinkje Wed 23-Sep-15 13:16:54

I read your opening post somewhere else....was it in Chat yesterday?

yeOldeTrout Wed 23-Sep-15 13:30:04

I luffs you OP. If your stuff is manageable for you then it's not "clutter".

HopeClearwater Wed 23-Sep-15 21:28:41

It's hardly ever clutter though, is it. It's junk. I never get this whole 'tidying inhibits creativity' business. It's just an excuse. What exactly is it about having all manner of things lying about, most of which is irrelevant and / or should have been in the bin, which has to do with creativity? I would really like to have this explained to me.
For information : I'm not especially tidy, not very messy, and not particularly creative, certainly not in any original way.

Hobbes8 Wed 23-Sep-15 21:36:09

I've never seen a cluttered art gallery. They tend to be a haven of clean white lines. I also feel better and more able to think in a clean organised space.

I like my "stuff". I like bookshelves and CDs amd stuff, but I like them put away neatly.

But you live however you like.

KatharineClifton Wed 23-Sep-15 21:46:24

'This must be the ultimate first world problem'

Kinda, but a lot of stuff is held onto because it may be useful again some day and you don't have money to keep replacing stuff as and when. Or you come from a poor background where getting rid of stuff, which may be useful, was completely alien.

I loved my clutter until I didn't. Hate it now and have gotten rid of about half of my house in the last 3 years.

Hoarding clutter was in actual fact a symptom of my anxiety/depression. I started some very good meds 3 years ago which enabled me to clear out all the stuff . Still de-clutter every so often now and always have a charity bag on the go.

AnnaLP Thu 24-Sep-15 13:53:09

Even though I like my "clutter" I still always seem to be taking plenty of stuff to the charity shops. It's the definition of what clutter is I suppose to different people.

If I look around me now I have some very old (possibly even antique) books, an old mandolin, a papier mache mask from Thailand, 5 paintings stacked against the wall because the wall space is full, an old hamper basket full of ideas for my home cut out of magazines, shelves full of games, DVDs and CDs (no longer needed as music all now on computer). To me that is all stuff I want to keep - one mums clutter is another's precious memories.

If you want a good laugh go to YouTube and look up George Carlins's comedy sketch on "stuff" - definitely puts into perspective the "ultimate first world problem"

yeOldeTrout Thu 24-Sep-15 18:31:19

I read minimalist blogs if I'm in a masochist mood.
Thing is, I know some minimalists who waste so much money because they won't buy anything in case, so they end up paying high prices or doing things in an expensive way; or they say they can't do other stuff at all because they don't have money (but they would have had more money if they hadn't adopted such an expensive strategy to how they get stuff they need).

cunningplan101 Thu 24-Sep-15 19:04:06

Sorry, I think my 'first world problem' comment sounded a lot harsher than I meant it - I was laughing at myself too for having this same problem!

And actually it was more the existential angst that we're feeling over the clutter which feels first-worldy to me, rather than the clutter itself.

I am a mix. On the one hand, everything is tidied away in cupboards. On the other hand, I have shoe boxes filled with every cinema ticket I've bought since I was seventeen (up until they stopped printing proper cinema tickets and started printing those flimsy receipt-type things which lose all their ink after two weeks). So, obviously, that could definitely be seen as clutter. And I very rarely look at them. But when I do, I can often remember going to see the film and the people I went to see it with. I love cinema, and they're lovely memories, and don't take up much space. I also have all my boarding passes from plane journeys. Somehow having these little bits of the past makes me feel more connected to it, makes the past feel still material, a little part of it lingering on into the present, not quite forever gone. Photos of the past aren't quite the same - they're just images - I like to touch something from the past that's physical. The same way that a letter has more substance to it than a printed-out email: physical artefacts, objects with continuity.

I also have lots of books - but we don't usually define them as clutter? why not?

And 'clutter' can be a source for creation if it's a clutter of creative sources. If your study is piled high with books, the walls covered in paintings and prints and postcards, a cork-board full of clippings of magazine and newspaper articles you found interesting, etc.

Pinterest is just organized internet clutter, after all, and who could design anything creative in their home nowadays without Pinterest wink ?

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