The illusory joy of de-cluttering?

In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, Pamela Druckerman notes that clutter is having a moment and that everyone she meets seems to be “waging a passionate, private battle against their own stuff.” She admits that she too has caught the de-cluttering fever, before concluding that “less may be more, but it’s still not enough.”

I would rush to say “Well of course it’s not enough,” except I’ve had my own moments where I shook metaphorical fists at the heavens and asked “Why am I still stressed out?” After doing so much work to get rid of things, don’t we all just want to be done and living a new dream life?

That’s when I find it helpful to think of simplifying as a journey. Getting rid of excess physical stuff frees up time and energy and is good practice for focusing on living more intentionally. In my own experience and from what I’ve read, de-cluttering is often a first big step in simplifying, and what comes next is highly personal—changing jobs, investing more in relationships, actively pursuing a dream, getting healthy through diet and exercise. These are things that can bring real joy, unlike the “illusory joy”—as Druckerman calls it—of de-cluttering.

What do you think?




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