Decluttering 4: Why?

You may remember some blog posts I wrote a while ago on decluttering. You may not. You may be trying to forget them. I have been pondering further.

This original train of thought was started by the gift of a book from the eldest Miss Oblique. See Decluttering 1: Books. While not totally buying into the Marie Kondo method/ philosophy, I certainly took some of its ideas on board. However, a half-hearted approach does not really work. My bookshelves are slowly accumulating detritus:


It doesn’t help that we have had a lot of work done on the house… and that the second Miss Oblique has moved back in with us. Thus one of our spare bedrooms looks like this:


It’s hard throwing stuff out. A lot of our clutter is left over from parents, even grandparents. Giving away something that belonged to someone you loved; giving away something that was given to you with love; are you giving away an assurance of love?

It doesn’t help that there are two of us, with different views on the clutter. We both want to organise better, but ownership is an issue.

There are people who declutter their lives totally. Monks and nuns are well-known examples; I suppose they do this to focus on their spiritual life.

Tramps also have decluttered, though probably not often intentionally. So have rough sleepers, almost certainly not intentionally.

On a more affluent note, I have always been fascinated by the idea of living in a suitcase. For certain employments, this is very feasible. A laptop and a carefully stocked bag would enable one to live in hotels indefinitely, given a suitable income. However,  I believe that many people living like this have a lot of possessions in storage, somewhere in the world. Storage is hardly decluttering, just evading the issue.

As I run out of further things to say on the theme, I realise that as usual I have reached no conclusions on my (implicit) question: Why declutter? Tentatively, I would say that modern life is over-complicated and that removing clutter does make it easier. In a spiritual sense, possessions are vexations to the soul. How best to go about decluttering is eluding me.

A final thought; I was intrigued by a TV programme, now quite a while ago, which featured older people in Australia who had gone wandering, gone on the road, in camper vans, tents and the like. One gentleman said that every month he looked in his bag and discarded one item. That’s decluttering in the extreme.



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