9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter

Actually, this week I’m featuring a favorite guest writer, Christine Kane. I think you will enjoy her wisdom and sense of humor.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be “without all that bloomin’ stuff she keeps everywhere!”

He’s right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don’t want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity.

If you’re a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself. Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: “I’d be a bad mean horrible person if I…”

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, or unwanted gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads out into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 – “I spent so much on it!”

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the hell out of you?

You won’t. And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 – “I might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of.


Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day – in spite of technological progress – you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.



Last night, I ended up at the emergency room for a seriously infected finger. I went there at my doctor’s suggestion, to have my finger lanced, which in itself was a new experience.

The procedure went smoothly enough, and as a result my pain level plummeted from a 10 (on a scale of 1-10) to a 1, which made the entire ordeal more than worth it.

Without going into detail, suffice it to say that years of a recurring bad habit likely contributed to the infection. I promised the doctor I would not repeat my mistake. As we all know, these things are easier said than done.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and create an alternate, more positive, behavior.

What it really amounts to, is simply being more aware of one’s actions, positive or otherwise. Being able to notice when I’m reverting to old behaviors will be key.

This can be a challenge for the best of us, but I’m determined to try.

Greater awareness, or mindfulness, has been on my radar for some time already. Little by little I’ve been paying more attention to the various tasks that I engage in throughout the day, from the mundane to the very important.

Yet it seems we are always in a hurry,  rushing from one activity to the next,  gulping down meals on the run (sometimes in the car) and rarely taking the time to smell the proverbial roses.

For example, how many of us are fully mindful when we eat? Yes, you may notice that you are consuming a bowl of soup, but are you taking the time to really enjoy it? To notice the aroma, the unique blend of flavors, the fresh ingredients and the lively colors?

Being aware means taking in your surroundings with all of your senses.

It means not zoning out while enjoying your food, then questioning “Did I really eat the whole thing? How did that happen?!”

A few days ago, I read about a monk who practices a ‘tea meditation’. Curious, I decided to look at my own tea-drinking habits and realized that I typically enjoy a cup of tea while reading a book.

What I also realized, in that moment, is that if I’m reading at the same time I’m ‘enjoying’ that cup of tea, I’m not fully appreciating what I’m drinking because I’m into my book, instead. The hot, soothing beverage is gone before I know it, and I don’t really know what it even tasted like.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but think how much more pleasurable it would be to simply take five minutes to enjoy your tea, or coffee, and savor the moment without multi-tasking?

Learning to be more mindful is a good thing.

And bad habits? They can be broken.


“Your home should rise up to meet you”. Peter Walsh      

I recently heard about something called the 2% Rule.

Generally speaking, this refers to a percentage of wasted time in a given day, or week, that could be re-purposed into doing those things you “just don’t have time for”.

Like re-organizing the home office you’ve been meaning to get to for months on end, or just finding some extra time for yourself to unwind, read a favorite book  or go for a walk.

In my household, my husband has a 5% Rule, which goes something like this: if you’re munching on a cookie and a piece of it falls on the floor it is still edible if picked up within 5 seconds. This may or may not work for you. Personally, I prefer to know that the floor is really clean.

Then there’s the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto principle. This rule basically says that in any given situation only a few, or 20%, are doing 80% of the work.

In reality, there are any number of situations this can be applied to. In some circles, it is suggested that you discipline yourself to stop eating when you are 80% full.

I like to stretch this rule a bit further and apply it to interior design, and lifestyles in general. To test this out for yourself, try taking a look at your closet. Can you see that you wear only 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time?

Or try analyzing an entire day in your life. You may see that in the grand scheme of things only 20% of your achievements really matter. Better still, do you live fully in 80% of your home, or do you spend most of your time in just 20% of it? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Which means it can really make sense to re-design your home and make it work for you 80% of the time. Maybe this is easier said than done but with the right planning I believe it’s achievable.

To help you out, I’ve listed some of my favorite suggestions for making your home really work for you:

First, it’s important that you Nurture yourself by creating warm and inviting spaces for your favorite hobbies and pastimes. As an example, let’s look at the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you’ll want to pare down to the bare essentials and make your kitchen really work for you with proper storage, appliances and utensils.

Incorporate colors and furnishings that are soothing to the spirit.

Pay particular attention to how your home functions, and how it accommodates your lifestyle. Be like a Scientist and observe every way that it comes up short. Record your findings for future reference.

Next, Reduce Clutter. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:  crowded rooms are confining & less welcoming. By reducing clutter you can actually increase the amount of livable space in your home, which means you will use more of it.

Not sure where to start?

Consider hiring an organizational expert, or pick up a self-help book that can guide you through the process.

Choose Your Furnishings Carefully. In all areas of your home, and life , if you pare down to the basics you will likely get plenty of use out of everything.

Consider furnishings that serve more than one purpose thereby doing double-duty. For optimal organization, be sure to include plenty of extra storage, and definitely consider customized options if your budget allows.

Ultimately, it comes down to this  –  if it doesn’t honor who you are, think twice before bringing it home.

To subscribe to my eZine, and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Living Green:  12 Simple Steps for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home, please visit my website at harmonydesignsudio.com .


This is an exciting time for me as I’m just about to launch my new eZine ‘Live In Harmony’.   

Why the emphasis on Harmony?

Several years ago, when I decided on a new name for my design business, I was coming from a place of serenity because that is the kind of environment I like to create for my clients, as well as myself.

To further define my vision, I created the tag line: Clarity, Order, Simplicity. To me, it’s all part of the same thing.

The elements of design include everything from color, space, balance, shape, line, proportion and much more. These are the tools that an interior designer will work with to lend interest and excitement to a project. They are the same tools that an architect or product designer would also use.

In your home, when all the elements of design come together in a delightful way, the result will be harmonious.

Balance is a key component. If even one of the above mentioned elements is off kilter, it can throw the entire design off balance.

As an example, I’ll invoke the image of Alexander Calder’s mobiles, where even the tiniest detail is there for a reason. Nothing in his works is gratuitous. The mobiles are so carefully engineered and perfectly balanced, both literally and visually, that there is nothing to add or take away.

Home environments are the same way. When a room is relaxed and comfortable, is visually pleasing and serves your needs, there is nothing more to add.

As a side benefit, your energy and productivity levels will likely increase, as if a great weight had fallen by the wayside. Your life will seem fuller, richer.

In other words, by rearranging your home you can rearrange you life. What could be simpler?

To subscribe to my eZine, and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Living Green:  12 Simple Steps for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home, please visit my website at harmonydesignsudio.com .

Clarity, Order and Simplicity

“People, like sandwiches, come in layers.” A. Pujari

Let’s face it. It’s those very layers that make life interesting, and that make us, as individuals, so fascinating and complex. It is those same, complex layers that sometimes lead to confusion and a desire for more clarity in our lives.

Clarity. What is it?

We can equate it to the proverbial light bulb that goes on, when you suddenly ‘see the light’. In essence, it means knowing who you are, understanding your tastes, what you want, your likes and dislikes. You need to know these things about yourself before you can even begin to choose paint colors, and new furniture, let alone navigate the rest of your life. Otherwise, you will constantly be bumping up against imaginary ‘walls’.

If you don’t know your tastes and preferences, even the most basic design decisions will be very difficult. You will be constantly second guessing, and hemming and hawing, instead of knowing instantly, in your gut, that you are making the right choice.

Clarity also means reducing clutter, especially at the outset of a project, as it allows you to determine how your living space can best meet your needs, and what must be done to achieve that. Keeping things simple definitely helps. If you’ve heard the saying ‘Less is More’, you’ll know what I mean.

As part of my design philosophy I believe in a uncluttered environment and paring back whenever possible. I like to see the elegant lines of a piece of furniture, or a beautiful work of art, having room to shine.

It may not be easy peeling back the layers and find order among the chaos. However, the end result will definitely be worth it.