Clutter Creep: Now you see it, Now you don’t!

Refrigerator magnets. Overstuffed bookshelves. Piles of paper on the kitchen counter. To me, it’s all visual clutter, and I say: Get rid of it! I like clean surfaces.

A couple weeks ago we reorganized a section of our basement. After we cleared out some “stuff” we decided to get rid of the shelf unit that held the stuff. (But we kept the never-used glass punch bowl. Some stuff is just appealing.)

The shelf unit was cheaply made of white laminate–no value–but good enough to hold stuff. We decided to put the shelf out on the curb the next fine Saturday. Maybe someone would take it home and fill it up with their stuff.

Temporarily, we set the unit on the breezeway between our house and garage. Breezeway, indeed. That night some strong winds blew the unit over onto the cement slab and broke the top shelf. The lower shelves were still intact, but now the unit seemed entirely worthless. Which made me vaguely sad.

Not wanting to admit that the unit belonged in a landfill, we started putting things on the shelves as we went in and out of the house. A few building supplies. A stray cooler. Gardening items. See? It’s handy!

In the space of two weeks, I no longer saw the unit anymore, or thought of it as an invader. It was visual clutter, but it was MY visual clutter and therefore invisible to me. It held the residue of stuff I wasn’t ready to deal with yet. By which I don’t mean the gardening items, so much as a whiff of guilt about my consumption, and the way my life creates garbage.

What visual clutter have you stopped seeing, and why?


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