Clear the clutter

Get rid of the clutter in your house. It is the doorway to misery. A cluttered home
reflects a distracted mind, says Anju Munshi

DO you have a basement full of supplies for a hobby that you have been thinking of taking up? Or clothes that you think you can fit into one day? Perhaps you find yourself ruing over piles of books you had meant to read, artifacts you had collected on those annual holiday trips, crochet threads you bought intending to make lovely runners for the cupboard top.

Clutter suffocates the flow of positive energy in homes
Clutter suffocates the flow of positive energy in homes

You see them, lying about uselessly, but you donít clear them up either because you may feel like giving up on a slice of your dreams. At the back of your mind you also have this niggling thought that you are getting older and do not want to confront the issue by throwing out the junk. So the clutter remains.

Clutter is something that is found in almost all homes. Re-using something is a good way of recycling, and environmentally friendly too, but holding on to things just because they might come in handy someday is a sure route to increasing the clutter.

The urge to acquire an object of desire is quite normal to human beings. It becomes a problem when it takes a toll on the available space. Today, with the kind of lifestyle we leadówith plenty of things in the marketóit is anyway a constant fight to keep at bay the urge to buy. However, when we feel stressed, many of us go shopping and end up buying things we may not need afterwards.

Cluttering is like any other addiction, say psychologists. The emotional need to cling to things, even useless ones, dictates good sense, says Debobrati Sanyal, a clinical psychologist from Hyderabad.

The underlying problem is not procrastination. It is that dealing with clutter means dealing with our own memories and upbringing.

If one grows up in tough financial conditions, being surrounded with material goods in later life may seem comforting and reassuring. Deepti Bhave, a counsellor at Ratnamiri Seva Pratishthan, Mumbai, says that clutter gives an insight into a personís mind. For example, getting rid of clothes that you will never fit into again means reluctance to accept the reality of the current body shape that might have expanded with the years, which is quite normal. Or getting rid of an expensive item you will never use, thereby meaning admitting that you made a poor decision when you bought it. In both cases it is a defeat, a feeling of dejection and guilt.

According to Feng-shui exponents all over the world, clutter is the doorway to misery, and it should be immediately got rid of to enjoy harmony between the ying and the yang. When our homes become cluttered, other aspects of our lives tend to feel suffocated. "Not only does a cluttered home reflect a distracted and cluttered mind, it also makes it hard to focus and think clearly," says Kolkata-based Feng-shui consultant Pinky Kapoor. It is not easy to de-clutter, for it is an attitude, but one can try to look into it as a debilitating streak and recover accordingly.

At first, the task of cleaning up seems overwhelming. Besides, the clutter is so pervasive that we canít figure out where to begin, and eventually we give up. We wait for the moment to be right before we begin.

A few tips to maintain a clutter-free home:

Think of things that you have not used for the last six months. In all probability you may never use them again.

Charity begins at home. Start donating and gifting the poor and the underprivileged with items that are not of any use to you but are still in a good condition.

Follow good interior tips like overflowing space, ample light and visual appeal. All this is possible with less, and consequently, more space.

Avoid congesting corners and nooks in the house, for, they can cause accidents and invite insects.

Be realistic about how soon you can reasonably expect to use or use up what you have in store. There is a huge difference between having a few days worth of provisions and a full yearís. ó TWF