“Mindfulness comes from the state of your psyche, not your closet.”
~Raina Kelley, “The Zen of Cleaning,” Newsweek, March 2009
Last month, I began a mission to declutter my house under the misguided notion that decluttering would be a good thing. I was promised a clean house, wealth, a thin butt, and a cathartic experience resulting in a Zen state of mind. Now that I have a little decluttering experience and a fatter butt under my belt, I will debunk these myths and tell you the truth about what can happen to you if you choose to declutter your house.
Decluttering Causes Clutter
Decluttering an area in your house is like tilling soil an area of your garden. It merely creates a fresh, clear space for new piles of junk to spring forth and grow.
Decluttering Costs Money
Once you’ve decluttered, you will no longer be able to find your stuff because someone (namely you) has moved the piles and your stuff was in those piles. Then you’ll have to go buy new stuff.
Decluttering Makes You Fat
In the process of decluttering, you might notice that a bag of chocolate chips leftover from holiday baking is cluttering one of the shelves in the pantry. You might make the bag smaller to declutter the shelf. Similarly, you might free up needed space in the freezer that an entire box of Thin Mints is cluttering. Note that the Zen feeling after decluttering chocolate chips and/or Thin Mints is temporary.
Decluttering Causes Mental Illness
Speaking only from personal experience, it turns out that the time time spent decluttering, and money spent on garbage bags and plastic bins from Target, probably would have been better spent in my therapist’s office. Most experts
who aren’t on the Oprah Winfrey Show agree (if you’re published in Newsweek, you must be an expert, right?), see, e.g., The Zen of Cleaning.
So, while I did declutter my desk (and the inside of a box of Samoas) today, I’m going to stop for now and start working on decluttering something that really matters: My Google Reader.
This post has been a public service announcement.
(Pictures of the Pottery Barn desk that real people don’t own and Samoas crack are courtesy of Google Images.)