Organization and Joy

In the Nourishing Minimalism Blog, Rachel Jones argues the connection between clutter and depression.  Basically, it’s a vicious cycle.  Because you’re depressed, you’re more likely to accumulate clutter, and when you have clutter, you’re more likely to fall into a depression.  By that logic, decluttering and organizing are key to joy and happiness.

I don’t need to talk about the books by Marie Kondo, in which you only keep items that spark joy, and you organize everything in a way that everything is visible and accessible, and you’re supposed to be happier, more organized, and liberated.  And I get it.  The more things you own, the more stuff you have to preoccupy yourself with, because you somehow have to keep track of it all.

It is no secret that I am battling depression.  As such, I do have a good amount of clutter.  Nowhere near a Hoarders: Buried Alive episode, but none-the-less clutter here and there.  Clutter that I am constantly trying to battle, but life happens, too.  I feel like the only possible way to tackle it is to dedicate my whole life to constantly putting things in their place.  This clutter battle can seem overwhelming and never ending.  But it doesn’t need to be.

In a previous post, I reflect on the fact that Jesus has called us to give up all earthly goods, and pick up our crosses and follow Him.  We know, however, that taking it to the extreme is hard to do.  We all have a basic need for shelter, food, clothing, and stability.  And as such, we accumulate a few things along the way.  A house with furniture, appliances, clothes, toys, and mementos.  Most people in the USA have this to a certain degree or another.  In addition, because of consumerism, in the USA, not only do we have the basics, but we have an excess of the basics, the luxuries, and the unnecessary things that make clutter a reality of a good chunk of our homes.

How much is enough?  That’s usually a personal question.  Personal needs and personal values are going to dictate what you need and how much of it is enough.  Someone with a high-power job is going to need more suits and business attire than someone who flips burgers at a fast-food place.  Someone with 3 kids under 5 is more likely to need baby toys and car seats and strollers than someone with 1 kid under 5 and 2 over 8.  Someone who values (and commonly uses) all manner of kitchen gadgets is more likely to have a fully stocked kitchen.  You get the picture.

What are the items that are truly helpful and a true necessity?  Once this list is formed, it would be a lot easier to declutter and organize.  It is definitely easier to organize less stuff than it is to organize more.