In our zeal to clean up, throw away, and streamline we are in danger of losing touch with important moments and aspects of our lives. Before you toss out that old theater program or cluster of dried leaves, step back, take a deep breath, and consider this:
• Clutter preserves our Identity. Strip a room utterly of your familiar toys, tchotchkas, plants, post-its, notepads, and little nameless souvenirs, and you’ve stripped it bare of your unique personality. Clutter places you in the here and now, in the center of your life and your work. Things we keep around us are part of us. Even the scraps of paper, the little handwritten notes and doodles. These can contain special memories that love to be looked at and touched.
• Clutter stimulates creativity! Ideas hide inside of clutter waiting to be released. Keeping pet objects around us is the sign of a playful imagination. Let’s face it — a clutter-free room is a room stripped of creative potential.
• Clutter is fun for the eyes. They crave unusual shapes, colors and textures. Making sure your immediate environment is filled with visual “news” creates exercise for the eyes, and that means the brain too!
• Clutter is like a mini city, filled with cultural richness and stimulation. Or like fine wines, assembled “stuff” suggests subtle and eclectic associations. These in turn lead to labyrinths loaded with potential discoveries, solutions, and just plain delight.
• Clutter suggests alternative ways of doing things. Your eye snags on a bit of napkin from a cafe in San Francisco and you remember the decor and how you can translate that into your own home. A stray business card suddenly suggests a way of laying out your newsletter. Random juxtapositions of paper and pen, tissues and succulents can contain an internal logic waiting to be understood.
• Clutter organizes and articulates space. The things we keep around us serve to punctuate our work space, giveing it multi-dimensional, multi-layered meaning. It makes the space in which we live and work more vivid, more specific. A bare workspace has all the ambience of solitary confinement.
• Clutter kickstarts conversation. Our unique collections of this and that create opportunities for our guests to respond, “Where did that little glass globe come from?” or, “I used to have one of those. Why did I get rid of it?” The objects that make our lives ours can open portals of unexpected pleasure and discovery for everyone around us. Yes, clutter can even be inspiring.