Clutter-Free Home Part 1
My husband and I were recently looking for an investment property and toured various open houses in the Santa Monica and Los Angeles area. I enjoy attending open houses because I love to look inside people's homes and to see how they live. Generally, when people put their home on the market they make an effort to clean it up and get rid of the clutter. There were two homes we toured, however, that... (how shall I say this delicately?) did not! The display of clutter was so shocking in these homes I left bewildered and turned to Mr. Connoisseur saying, “I just don’t know how people can live like that!”
These two homes stand out in my mind like something out of a horror film (or at least out of that reality television show entitled 'Hoarders'). They each were so massively cluttered with stuff- everything you can imagine from books, to paperwork to Christmas decorations to clothes to miscellaneous junk. Every counter top- every space was filled with something. The effect made my skin crawl.
You would think seeing these overly cluttered homes would make me feel better about my own clutter situation- which quite honestly pales in comparison- but not so. I started to think, what if these homes started off like mine, with only little pockets of clutter? An unorganized junk drawer here- an overstuffed coat closet there...
For the first home we toured, the actual owner and not the real estate broker, gave us a tour (I’m still not sure why this happened- but it did). The woman was probably in her mid-sixties and warned us about the clutter before we entered the home. She said, “You will see there is a bit of clutter- it’s just the state of my mind right now”. I remember thinking, how true that statement was.
Clutter is a definite reflection of our state of mind. This woman’s house was overcome with clutter- she must have been going through a hard time.
It got me thinking. In my house I have small pockets of clutter- but clutter, nonetheless. I try to keep the main rooms and surfaces clear, but there are corners or piles where clutter just naturally forms. So what does this say about my state of mind?
As I have mentioned before, Famille Chic not only didn’t have pockets of clutter- they didn’t even have an ounce of clutter. Madame Chic's clutter-free home continues to act as a model and motivator for me- I know it can be done!
As a side note, last year I befriended a French couple that lives in California. They graciously had me as a guest in their home and gave me a tour of their beautiful and modern living space. I remarked with amazement that I didn't see any clutter in their home. They laughed knowingly and shrugged their shoulders. I think they might have heard that before from previous American guests. Which makes me wonder- do they teach a mandatory course on clutter management in the French school system? Or is maintaining a clutter-free home merely in their blood?
The de-cluttering process I’m going through in my own home is rather thorough. My plan is to eradicate clutter for good and I am happy to report that I am making breakthroughs. I have surmised that the pockets of visible clutter exist because our hidden storage spaces (any closets, drawers, etc.) are also cluttered, thereby not providing the proper space for our things. Our clutter pockets are symptoms of a greater problem- the general lack of organized systems in our home.
Next week, in part 2, I will explore the de-cluttering process further, including my personal experience with banning clutter for good and musings on the necessary mindset behind having a clutter-free home.
I would like to know... do you have issues with clutter?
The bust of the young woman above is in marble and dates back to A.D. 120 - 130. She is thought to be from Cyme which is now present-day Turkey. Her braided hairstyle was popular during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, who ruled between A.D. 117 - 138. She can be found in the Getty Villa, Malibu.
The Daily Connoisseur is now available on Amazon Kindle