Decluttering is a hot topic in many circles. For some, the logical outcome of decluttering is minimalism. But who we are matters more than what (or how much) we own. Finding a balance between clutter and convenience can contribute to a productive life.

Clutter, minimalism, and something in between

The recent launch of a Netflix series featuring Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has triggered a lot of interest in decluttering. It's also made this a great time to visit thrift shops if you're looking for some finds, as lots of people are getting rid of things as a result of this craze.

Observing this trend has gotten me thinking about the value of decluttering and minimalism. I'm an advocate for reducing the amount of stuff we own, but how much decluttering is too much? Is there such a thing as getting too minimal?

What is Clutter?

“When I ask clients what they long for, the most common responses are “peace,” “space” and “freedom.” Clutter keeps us from achieving these goals, and we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying larger homes. Empty space is more valuable—psychologically and physically—than almost any object.”
from “The Best Decluttering Advice We’ve Heard” 

The physical impact of clutter

Studies show clutter can contribute to lower feelings of well-being, unhealthy eating, poorer mental health, and less efficient thinking (from “5 Reasons to Clear the Clutter Out of Your Life”).

Stress hormones spike when dealing with clutter. “Similar to what multitasking does to your brain, physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively.” (from “How Clutter Affects Your Brain” )

The infographic on “12 Surprising Ways Clutter is Ruining Your Life” shows ways clutter decreases both our productivity and our quality of life

We’ve discussed this in past episodes, such as:

* TPW163 - Clutter, Stress, & Simplicity
* TPW014 - Conquering Clutter
* TPW016 - Conquering Clutter, Step by Step
* TPW083 - The Art of Decluttering: an International Conversation with Priscille Livenais of France and Julie Sheranosher (now Julie Bareket) of Israel

Clutter is personal

Clutter isn't measured by the number of items you own.
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