Living in a cluttered house is like sitting down to do a jigsaw puzzle. But you have three 1,500 piece puzzles mixed up in the box and only room on the table to do a 500 piece puzzle. Something’s got to give.
If you try to integrate all of your puzzle pieces into one puzzle, the puzzle’s going to fall off the table. Even if you’re not dealing with the world’s largest puzzle, there are too many pieces.
Some of these pieces belong to a puzzle you finished years ago
If you keep everything you’ve ever had or used, and try to fit it into your everyday space, you’re going to have a very full house.
Houses are for living in now. That’s their primary function. You wouldn’t move in somewhere that had tons of storage room but no stove, no space to watch TV, no shower or toilets.
Of course, we all have some treasures from the past we want to hold onto, but most of what we keep is for making life run smoothly now.
READ MORE >>> What to do with sentimental clutter
Some of the pieces belong to a puzzle you hope to have one day
We don’t have room to house all the possibilities that occur to us.
If you might like to knit one day, collecting armfuls of yarn is just taking up useful space if you never turn your attention to knitting.
Keeping a garage full of tools, screws, hoses, extension cords and the like in case you need them is helpful to a point. But if you never use them, and you can’t fit the car in your garage, you’re housing the future instead of the present.
How to do today’s organizing jigsaw puzzle
If you deal with your sentimental items and edit your supplies for umpteen possible futures, you’ll be left with the things you love, want and need. There may be too many of those, but decluttering and organizing those things will give you a home where you can find what you’re looking for, and open the front door without wincing.
To read more about how that works, head over to How to declutter and organize. I break it down with simple, concrete examples of how you really declutter.
What if you want to keep all the pieces and still finish the puzzle?
I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible. If you despair of your clutter, but are unable to let any of it go, it may be time to bring in a therapist. They’ll help you get past whatever’s making your brain think it needs all your stuff for your survival.
I know it sounds silly, but on some level, part of your brain has gotten the idea that saving all this stuff is keeping you safe. Let a therapist help you untangle that data glitch so you can get the clutter out of your space.
What if you love all your puzzle pieces more than you want to complete the puzzle?
If you realize that you enjoy endlessly trying to do impossible puzzles, why then your clutter is serving you very nicely indeed.
It’s keeping you off the streets, giving you a good reason not to do other things, possibly keeping people you don’t care for away from your space.
If this is you, please keep the pathways clear for safety’s sake and carry on trying to turn three puzzles into one to your heart’s content.
READ MORE >>> The importance of clutter
If other people are bothering you to do something about the clutter, you might want to forward them this article about how they can stop doing that.
How many puzzle pieces are you trying to cram onto the table?
If you’d like some help figuring out which pieces can stay and which can go, and what to do with the rest, let me know.
by Lucy Kelly