The way I see it, decluttering is an exercise in stepping outside one’s comfort zone.

You see, I don’t think we really would accumulate all this “stuff”, if we didn’t think we might need it some day. Or if the piles of it didn’t somehow insulate us from that cold harsh world out there.

Let’s take clothing, as an example. All those outfits that are in our closets – in all the various sizes (smaller than we might be currently) – provide the comfort of knowing absolutely that one day we will fit into them again. Mind you, we may not be able to see them for all the other clothes we might have had to purchase in our current size. But, they’re still there, and that’s comforting to know.

Or what about all those piles of paper? I absolutely “know” that I’m going to want to keep all my French exams from high school, even the ones on which I didn’t do so well. Because, French exams. I took French one day. So I must have been a scholar. And maybe even slightly intelligent.

And all that paper that is blank on one side. One day I’m going to have a game of Rummy with someone, and I’m going to need something for keeping score! What? Nobody plays Rummy anymore? Or at least, not with humans?

And weren’t all these computers supposed to provide us with a paperless society? But what if my computer crashes? I’d better print everything out so that I can keep it. After all, those emails from twenty years ago are really important. And all those magazines! I can’t let go of them! There might be important information in there! (Does anyone want specs for a Vic 20?)

Yes, I’m really comforted having all this clutter around. Now, if I could only deal with this overwhelming sense of anxiety of having all the piles fall over…