I’ve always had a lot of stuff. Bins and boxes and drawers full of stuff. Stuff crammed into closets and stacked in any spare corner. I wouldn’t say I was a hoarder, but I had plenty of things I didn’t use and didn’t need.
The last few years I’ve been working on having less. I bought into the idea of minimalism in theory, but actually living it wasn’t happening very quickly. Then we moved into an RV with 303 sq. ft. (28 sq. mt.) of space. That’s less space than the rather small one car garage we had in our last home! Minimalism went from being a nice theory to a necessity of life.
Clutter has been an ongoing issue in our marriage. Early on I had no idea how much it bothered Lori. It didn’t bother me, so I had no empathy for her suffering. Even when I gained some understanding, I didn’t realize how much it cost her.
Now that we live with far less I’ve started to see things differently. There is now less clutter, but I’m much more aware of it. I think there used to be so much I just tuned it out. Perhaps it overwhelmed me so I just ignored it. Now I see it. Not as much as Lori, but I really do see it – and it bothers me! I clean up because I see a mess and don’t want it there – something I never did before. I sometimes go get the broom and sweep the floor because I’m aware it needs to be swept. In the past, I occasionally swept because I knew a dirty floor bothered Lori, but I was rarely aware enough of the need to do it.
Part of the reason for the change is doing cleaning is no longer a huge undertaking. The floor for the kitchen, dining room, living room and office combined is 13′ by 8′ (4m by 2.5m) and it takes very little time to sweep it well. Dishes don’t pile up because there’s no place for them to pile up. Some things get washed before the meal is on the table, the rest right after. I suspect I often didn’t do things in the past because the time and effort required were beyond what I thought I had. I was overwhelmed by the scope of the mess so I just ignored it.