One Bag Nation

Building a Fortress of Clutter

Posted on: April 29, 2008

I’ve recently been doing some consulting for an organization I worked for several years ago. Back then, one of the senior managers always handed out tons of paper at meetings: big, thick packets of stuff stapled together. Those packets caused me so much anxiety!

A couple of months ago, I saw his office again. Although the piles and piles of paper were all very neatly stacked – and I’m sure very well “organized” – I instantly recognized that he was creating safety with all that stuff. He was literally surrounding himself with a fortress of paper!

I’m sure you can guess where this is going . . . no doubt some of the stuff we buy, save, and move from room to room and pile to pile is stuff that we don’t need, except that having it provides some sense of safety and security.

Seems to me that before we can really let go of the clutter and the mess, we need to figure out another way to feel safe; how else to achieve order, serenity and peace of mind?

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3 Responses to "Building a Fortress of Clutter"

A very interesting perspective… one i’ve not considered before. I’ve always uncluttered when i was feeling too harried, too stressed, but i never realised that i am also probably feeling strongest at those times. It’s when a bad period has got to the end of the worst part, i suddenly unclutter. So perhaps when the trouble is nearly over, i find a sense of safety again and can use that to unclutter and therefore de-stress. While things are bad i am normally very messy – my room looks like a bomb hit it!

Very cool observation.

I agree with Camilla. You are very insightful. Clutter can be a form of defense. bareness can feel empty and exposed. Thank you for another interesting thought!

Thanks Vered and Camilla. It’s funny, I’ve never seen my own piles as protection, but when I saw that office, I just knew!

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