Katie Trotter: On why clutter is a state of mind

Clean out your wardrobe and make room for the new.

Clutter is bad. But then so is the whole de-cluttering industry. Why? Take a look in the self-help section of a bookshop (and I know you have, even if you were pretending to be on your BlackBerry).Because what you will find are about 30 books on how to de-clutter, which all seems a little ironic: "Hey you over there, come on over here and buy a load of more useless stuff."

However, I did have a good old read and admit to learning a few things. When it comes to hoarding, psychologists use the term "loss aversion" to describe people who prefer holding on to the things they have, rather than acquiring items.

This, in turn, stunts our ability to redevelop and accept change. But then it all gets a little flowery: "Think of oneself as a suitcase and our soul is our baggage. If your suitcase is full, the past is simply weighing us down."

It all sounds a little hysterical to me. While clutter is probably to do with poor time management or overspending, I am not sure it equates to any deep psychological disorders. In fact, most of these "tidiness experts" themselves look and sound like they could do with a bit of help.

But let's face it, clutter nags. We all have "that cupboard". A nice mix of tea towels, recipes torn from old magazines, perhaps a few candles or a packet of extra- long matches we never use.

Yet our wardrobes are the biggest offender. Ask yourself the following questions: have you worn it in the past six months? Is it so precious to you that you will miss it? Does it fit? (more on this later). Another good one is to take a step back and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Would you buy it again now if the cash were in your hand or would you invest in something better?

Your first step should be getting rid of things; then there will be less to organise. Holding on to things that "might" one day be useful is just a future ticket to procrastination.

Coming to terms with your shape is also essential. I have heard the words "oh but when I lose a stone" so many times I could have made up the whole of North America in body weight. At the least, put anything that doesn't fit away in storage boxes. It is not helping anyone to have clothes that no longer fit sneering every time you open your wardrobe.

We often think it is our belongings that make us belong, but remember that, as time passes, we also move on and the things that are important to us will and should be different. Life never stops -it's important to make room for the new.



This week's highs and lows

RICH LIST Alessandra Rich's new collection gives us yet another reason to shop at Symphony.

CELEB ENDORSEMENT Kanye West donates to Central Saint Martins College of Art, then collaborates with MA fashion course director on a new range. Coincidence? Doubtful.

CANDICE SWANEPOEL First Tom Ford, now Versace (above) - this model is taking the fashion world by storm.

GARETH PUGH FOR MAC Let's take a wild guess: Black eyeliner, lipstick and nail varnish?

BJÖRK She's back and this time her designer of choice is Michael Van Der Ham.

Published: August 6, 2011 04:00 AM


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