My personal theory of chaos

OK, so I read up on “Simpler Living” this week as assigned and was particularly inspired by the following quote I came across:

 Be wary of any enterprise that requires new clothes — Anonymous

I so agree!

But in the end, after reading about the evils of consumerism, saving the planet, achieving spiritual growth through de-cluttering and mending your own clothes

… after revisiting Thoreau who helped me with that brilliant thought-experiment back in January and pretty much epitomises the original “simple living” campaigner and after exploring blogs about minimalism, especially Leo Babauta’s (the king blogger on this subject) …

… so, after true and proper consideration of the ideas behind Simpler Living, I came to the following conclusion:

I am ready to embrace, not reject, my personal CLUTTER.

While I’m deeply drawn to some aspects of Simpler Living, I’m not ready to give up being surrounded by STUFF. I love all my books and the other personal belongings that make my desk most obviously my desk and make my home so obviously my home.

Imposing too strict an order doesn’t lead to simplicity, it leads to OCD!

I enjoy the mania of my to-do lists. I get pleasure from the chaos of my piled-up books. And all those post-it notes — these are my writing cheerleaders, spurring me on.

I just need more room for my mess.

Space-room and Time-room.

Time-room so that I can slow down. For more idle thinking and less panic in the hunt for things like that stray post-it which contains VITAL information I need NOW as I rush out the door. In slowing down I also find time to pile together or throw away paper messes that get in the way of the papers that are suppose to be messy.

Time-room helps simplify the bigger stuff in my head too. Like the book I’m working on. So that I  take a few moments to calmly ask myself what’s the simplest, what’s the easiest, what’s the most obvious thing I should do next as I work on it.

I need to approach more of my work with simplicity in mind. And for that I need not just time, but the serenity of space … In order to create Space-room … so that I  might spread out my mental clutter, other stuff will have to go.

To do that I’ve adopted the following 3-step process:

  1. Start regularly editing my room
  2. Donate more of my non-precious stuff
  3. Go without new clothes for the year

As the meerkat says, “Simples!”

I don’t think I need say more on the matter.

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5 thoughts on “My personal theory of chaos

  1. Good conclusions! I’m very attached to my clutter too… and I find it VERY hard to get rid of stuff – because you never know when you might need it! I like the principle of simple living, but I don’t think it would work for me. Space is good though. Space is necessary.

    1. My relationship to “stuff” is very category dependent. I’m completely unemotional and Machiavellian when it comes to lots of stuff but never personal memorabilia, books or paper stuff like diaries. I also like the company of the knick knacks that personalize a space. But tend to be less attached to any particular item.

      The main thing for me re space is CHARACTER (and function). Totally pristine modern minimalistic space adversely affect my mental health for certain!! I read a little snippet in a magazine once that said hotels and public spaces that were “too perfect” and tidy — too skyscraper glass meets beautiful marble floor — triggered anxiety in most people irrespective of their aesthetic sensibilities. Something to do with our immune systems feeling ill at ease with too little bacteria or some other bizarre yet perfectly reasonable explanation

      1. Interesting. That makes sense, actually – and it’s very unnatural, all that clinical minimalism. I’m a tidy person but I like my strategically placed clutter. The walls around my desk are covered in notes and pictures and books. I like the feeling that it’s MY workspace – with, as you say, its own character – and nowhere else ever feels quite right. Paper clutter – I like that. That’s mostly what mine is too!

  2. I love Jerome K Jerome on this
    “Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing. ”
    (from Three Men in a Boat)
    As you say, simplicity is something more personal and heartfelt than a minimalist interior.

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