Contagious Clutter

Have you ever heard of kipple?  “When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you to go bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up there is twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.” Philip K. Dick in his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which was made into the movie Blade Runner) said this.  Sometimes I feel like this is not some futuristic possibility, but the reality we all face today.

It’s not independent of our behavior though. When I was in my first apartment, I would often need to spend a day or more picking it up and cleaning to be ready for my dad to visit. (See, I wasn’t always an organized person!)  I’d plan that it’d never get that bad again, yet in that tiny studio apartment, one area would slowly start to collect clutter.  Before I knew it, the other areas would be infected with other clutter.

Some of that was that there was nowhere in there that you could not see the rest of the space.  When just a little bit of clutter starts to accumulate and you let it sit there, you are less likely to avoid dropping more clutter around.  Just the sight of a little clutter lowers your response to adding to it.  “It’s just a little more – and I’ll deal with it quickly later.”

And so it starts.

On some level this is unavoidable.  We all have the pending stuff we’re trying to deal with – it can’t get put away completely yet, so you set it off to the side.

Do you then see the piles begin to build up?  Whether it is from yourself or others in your home, it’s human nature to get a little “lazy” about adding to the piles.  Some of the most organized people I know struggle with this phenomenon – and often they berate themselves for it.

The multiplying kipple can be that much worse for those who share their home, with a spouse, children, even a roommate!  We all organize and manage our things differently, these differences can lure us into allowing the clutter to accumulate before our eyes and before we recognize it.

It comes down to maintainence.  I’ve accepted that a certain number of piles will appear over the course of a week – though the sizes vary.  What matters is what I do about it and what I tell my clients to do – make time weekly or even daily to deal with it.  I also make a point to evaluate what is getting piled – What types of things are there?  Do they have a home?  Do they need a home?  Am I frustrated with the things (and therefore not dealing with them)? Is there a better way?

Do I wish that there were never any piles?  YES!  We are not perfect, and at least according to Philip K. Dick, kipple is unavoidable.  Therefore, I’m determined to limit the kipple and encourage others to keep their own kipple under manageable levels.  ☺  Good Luck – don’t look away for too long since it does multiply when you’re not looking!

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