Some great advice on decluttering

If one of your goals for 2017 is to declutter your home and/or conquer your hoarding tendencies, you might find it helpful to read the clutter-themed blogposts by by LiveJournal’s Issendai. I particularly liked a post from January 2010 entitled 2009: What I Learned About Stuff; or, Killing Clutter with Fire. The practical tips in More Cluttering Advice (also from January 2010) are useful too.

There’s a lot of internet advice about decluttering, but it seems to fall into two unhelpful categories. There’s lifestyle-y advice aimed at averagely tidy non-hoarders who want a minimalist living space (or who want to dream over pictures of other people’s minimalist living spaces) and there are resources on what to do if someone in your family is a hoarder. The assumption is usually that the hoarder themselves won’t seek help. (I sense a linked assumption that hoarders don’t have any self-awareness.)

It’s so refreshing to read something written by someone who admits they’re a hoarder and understands the psychological stuff behind it. When I had my revelation about the link between decluttering, microdecisions and the draining of cognitive resource, I thought I was maybe the first person to get it; but in 2010 Issendai wrote:

Making decisions is hard. It takes energy. Studies show that there’s a specific area of the brain that handles decision-making, and it can make only so many decisions a day before it gets tired. If you clutter or have hoarding tendencies, there’s an excellent chance that part of the problem is that that part of your brain tires unusually fast. Work with it, not against it. When you feel decisions getting harder or you start getting frustrated more easily, stop.

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