“Accept the limitations of the space you have, and declutter enough that your stuff fits comfortably in that space.”
–Dana White, Decluttering At The Speed Of Life
I imagine most people have already figured this out by adulthood. And I wouldn’t consider myself slow. But as a kid, I never paid attention to how things stayed clean.
I adjust too easily to an imperfect situation: “…grabbing a coffee cup from the top rack of the dishwasher or a pair of socks from the pile on the couch doesn’t feel the least bit awkward, so the visible pile doesn’t register as a problem.”
Where did all this stuff come from
I figured out laundry in college as I needed clean clothes and bedding, for example. And I learned to keep the floor clean because, like Dana White points out, “if your floors are clean, everyone thinks your house is clean.”
I pretty much always lived alone and kept my home clean enough for visitors. But when I got married suddenly we had two households of stuff in one house. And I never realized how to be disciplined about decluttering. Everything seemed useful!
Now that we both have mobility issues, it’s become obvious that we can’t move freely around this much stuff anymore. The aforementioned Dana White has written extensively about this. Luckily, she speaks to me.
Dana talks about how we all have our own “clutter threshold,” the point at which all the stuff we own has become overwhelming. That if we live above it, our space is out of control and hard to keep clean, but if we can declutter down below it, our space at least stays manageable.
That’s where I’m aiming now. Decluttering is getting rid of things we don’t need. But the point of decluttering is to keep stuff. It isn’t to get rid of things we want to keep; it’s to identify those things and then to make space to enjoy those things.
Clutter is one of my triggers
It’s also about the stress I feel living in an out-of-control environment.
A 2013 study showed that while both positive (like a wedding or the birth of a new child) and negative (like living over my clutter threshold) stress can impact the course of our MS, the negative stress can actually trigger disease activity.
So I’m working on changing my mind-set, my ultimate goal for my home. I aim to have less stress by having less stuff.