If you don’t look at the underlying thoughts beneath the desire to declutter – then you may just end up a serial declutterer – Lianne Raymond
Last week I read this article from life coach Lianne Raymond about the dark side of decluttering. It’s actually a piece she wrote over a year ago but I found my way to it via the wonderful Marianne Elliott of Zen Peacekeeper.
There is a dark side to decluttering.
I now know that for some people the act of purging their possessions can border on the obsessive. Lianne’s description of her own history with decluttering are quite extreme. Reading about them gave me a new perspective on what I’ve mostly considered a positive pursuit.
I’m not obsessive about decluttering and while I spent a lot of time and energy radically downsizing my possessions, I’ve been quite casual about the upkeep of it. There are a few areas, my husband’s closet, ahem, that I’ve let be for months even after making plans for a big purge. A few toys linger in a box in my son’s room, toys he is no longer interested in and that I haven’t quite decided to keep or let go of.
While I was once quite ruthless about decluttering, I’ve since found a comfortable spot with our level of possessions. What we focus on now is making good choices about items that come into our home. We are quite slow to buy something even after we’ve identified that we want or need it. If I’m leaning toward an obsession with my moderate minimalist lifestyle it’s an obsession with not bringing things into our home.
Of course, I have other areas of my life that I’ve been obsessive about at one time or another. So reading a piece about the negative side of getting rid of your possessions was a good eye opener for this keeper of a decluttering blog.
I don’t want to be the cause of anyone going to a dark place with purging their possessions.
This blog is meant to be a bit of inspiration, how-to and a supportive community. If you feel like decluttering is controlling your life, that your happiness hangs on how many bags you can take to the Salvation Army in a month, it’s time to take a step back. Take some time away from reading about minimalism and turn your focus to other areas of your life for a bit.
Another argument from this post that grabbed me was that minimalism and decluttering are anti the feminine. Lianne delves into the dark side of decluttering as being a masculine pursuit.
… part of a subtle backlash against the re-balancing of the feminine and masculine. It asks us to detach from our inner feminine knowing and give in to a higher authority. Many of us (me included) buy into this without even realizing what that we are giving away a part of ourselves.
I’m torn on if I agree with Lianne’s argument. I think this is due to the fact that I’m not an obsessive declutterer and that I practice (and preach) a moderate approach to living with less. I still feel there is room to create a beautiful home, one that is warm and inviting, while owning less stuff. And what Lianne views as a demand to detach from “our inner feminine knowing” I see as a chance to detach from the rampant consumerism of our peers.
I’m interested to hear what others think of decluttering as an attack on the feminine. Do you feel that trying to live with less clashes with a desire for warmth, comfort and beauty? Is anyone out there of the obsessive nature and are you struggling with too much decluttering?