The SIMPLE answer: Is it cluttered? I didn’t really notice. Must not bother me!
The more of my friends who find out about my developing simplicity /decluttering /minimalism philosophy, the more I hear the comment:
“You must think my house is SO cluttered!”
This makes me sad. The last thing I want is for people to feel self-conscious in their own homes because of me, and for that concern to be unwarranted in the first place.
So, please allow me to set your mind at ease. Here are…
Some Reasons I Don’t Notice or Care About Your Self-Alleged Clutter:
1. When I visit you in your home, I’m there to see you, not your stuff. Remember, I don’t care much about “stuff” in the first place. I would like to focus on hanging out and enjoying your company instead – and, usually, I do. :-)
2. I have no part in paying for, cleaning (up), maintaining, fixing, etc. your stuff. This journey is about finding what is most simple and practical for me, and your stuff does not affect the simplicity vs. complexity of my life one bit. Unless you’re planning to leave it all to me in your will. But, if you’re here reading this, you know that would be a bad idea. :-)
3. Along with being extremely practical, I am really not a “decorator.” If there is something that looks “nice” in my house right now, there’s a good chance it’s because a friend switched it all around for me. So in general, I’m not highly tuned in to the aesthetics of your home.
4. We all notice more things about ourselves than other people would ever notice about us (because, by definition, we’re all too busy worrying about ourselves). That’s junior high school lesson #1, right? Same goes for stuff. Selfishly, I’m much more concerned about my own stuff than yours.
5. I am not espousing what I think is the “right” way of life for everyone. We all have our own values, priorities, and quirks. Many pure minimalists (which I am not) still keep collections of certain things they value. So anyway, keep being you. I like you. I won’t pick on you for your extensive miniature elephant collection if you promise not to pick on me for leaving the thermostat at 70 degrees 24-hours-a-day-year-round.
6. This one’s difficult to explain, but I’ll try. When I visit an art museum, do I feel like it’s too cluttered with paintings? When I walk into a well-stocked library, do I suddenly get the urge to purge? No. In my mind, places and things do have a practical, useful, and even beautiful purpose. But in my mind, that purpose is usually pretty cut and dry. The library is where the books live. The art museum is where the art lives. Amy’s house* is where Amy lives. Your house is just that - your house. It’s one complete package. It’s that simple for me. Beyond that, I’m not all that interested.
Ok, I suppose if you are a full-fledged hoarder, I might notice. Otherwise, unless you point it out, I probably haven’t noticed. If I did notice, it didn’t bother me.
Simple as that!
*I used the name Amy because I happen to have (too) many friends named Amy. But not to worry, Amys, I have no intention of decluttering you!