“There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man
Welcome to the first installment of a new series, Chesterton’s House! I main points are: I like GK Chesterton. He wrote about almost everything. I don’t think he wrote about setting up a house. But, what might he have written, if he did? So, I will throw in a quote here or there, and proceed to really take it out of context. Or, rather, use it as a jumping off spot. I’m hoping he won’t mind.
Today, I’m going to imagine what Chesterton might think about our problem with clutter in our current day and age. I think he might have been able to relate, as the time in which he lived was also an age of factories producing cheap goods and marketing them to the masses.
Clutter. De-Clutter. Stuff. Stuff. and MORE STUFF!
There are countless articles, books, blogs, interviews, magazines, and even tv shows (anyone ever see “Clean House” via netflix? How about “Hoarders”?) about keeping clutter at bay. I’m sure, on some level, we can all relate. Our world is just filled with a lot of stuff. A lot of paperwork (paper clutter). A lot of toys and clothes (kids clutter). A lot of kitchen tools we think would be useful but…don’t end up getting used. I could go on…
When you have a finite amount of space, whether your house is 912 sq. ft, like mine, or much much bigger, you have to have a system to deal with clutter.
As I mentioned above, there are many places you can go to look for tips on how to organize your stuff. My own goal with this post is just to convince you, you probably need to organize less than you think.
Or, in other words,
you probably need much less than you think.
Maybe approaching it in a more philosophical way, first, then when you’ve got your philosophy of stuff down, you focus on the practical.
So, the big question becomes:
What is this stuff, and why are you holding on to it?
Are there somethings, like those dresses/skirts/pants that you’re waiting to wear again, once you lose some weight? Are you hanging on to kitchen stuff because you might find a use for it? Are you hanging on to many many shoes, purses, and coats, simply for the sake of fashion?
Here’s another question:
Do you trust that your needs will be ever supplied by a good God who loves you, and wants to provide for you?
Sometimes, the issues has been, for me, one of trust. “I need to hold on to this [fill in the blank] because I might never have one again. I *might* need it. It gives me comfort, security. I want others to think I have it all together, and having all this stuff makes me appear that way to them. To quote G.K., “How many men have sold their souls to be admired by fools?” (The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond)
But, paradoxically (and Chesterton LOVES paradox!) – the tighter I hold on to things for security, the less secure and more anxious I feel. Because, I hate to manage stuff. It is a lot of work. Holding on to stuff hurts my soul, somehow.
My own philosophy has become: If I’m not using it now, and haven’t used it lately, I probably don’t need it. Someone else could use it, and I should pass it on.
I would like to go a little more into detail about how I have handled the clutter, and kept my storage of items reasonable. Next week, let’s tackle the Clothes Closet – Chesterton-style (or, at least, the Chesterton I would imagine would help me sort out my kids winter things and put them away).