What I Learned During My 'Year Of No Clutter'
We've all heard the advice about decluttering your life. If you haven't worn it in six months, donate it; take a picture, then pitch it! Spend five minutes a day; spend an hour a week! Immediately go throw out everything that is: broken or out-of-date or just in your field of vision. None of it ever worked for me. I've always been a Keeper. A Clutter Magnet. A Person Of Stuff.
Recently, I tried to cure myself of this affliction. I spent an entire year cleaning out just one room of my house — a room so bad we called it the Hell Room — and I learned a lot about clutter-busting, in the process. I learned why many traditional techniques for getting rid of stuff often don't work with Keepers like me: people who are highly sentimental, deeply fearful of regret, and repelled by the idea of wastefulness. It's because often these tips written by people who are not Keepers themselves. It's like Pavarotti trying to teach opera to someone who is tone-deaf. And a fish. From the start, it's bound to fail, because the basic assumptions are fundamentally wrong.
So, over the course of my Year of No Clutter I developed some strategies which actually did work for Keepers like me. Here are five of them: