Q: Why do you hate the word “decluttering”?
A: Bunch of reasons, really.
- It’s unnecessarily cutesy.
- It describes a pretty superficial act. “Decluttering” brings to mind a very specific type of cleaning: getting rid of extra items, but is often used as a synonym for “cleaning,” even though it excludes most of what cleaning actual entails.
- Aspirational home and “lifestyle” magazines use it a lot. I’m not a fan of aspirational magazines, because I think they create unreasonable and often damaging expectations.
- Because I’m somewhat of a linguistics nerd and I think that “clut” might be one of the ugliest combination of sounds in the English language. I know that directly contradicts the “cutesy” thing, but I contain multitudes. I’m a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Magic Eraser.
I get that people need to get rid of their extra shit; it’s a pretty fundamental part of the whole unfucking process. I just really hate the term “decluttering” to describe it, because I feel like it trivializes the process, which can sometimes be stressful and emotional and painful, and it makes those whose cleaning issues are deeper and more serious than just some extra stuff around the house that needs to be dealt with. When you’re looking around at a task that seems daunting and overwhelming, “decluttering” kind of brushes off the magnitude of what you’re facing.
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