Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
Imagine a big city, a huge, bustling city with no advertising, anywhere. The Brazilian city of São Paulo turned this imagining into reality in 2007. According to the Major:
“The Clean City Law came from a necessity to combat pollution … pollution of water, sound, air, and the visual. We decided that we should start combating pollution with the most conspicuous sector – visual pollution.”
Visual pollution, considered equal in importance to the physical pollutants of water and air. Amazing.
A Brazilian reporter noted that with the advertisements down, all sorts of ills in the city were being seen, virtually for the first time, since they were literally covered up with advertising before.
This got me thinking about my own house and my own life. I know if there are too many sounds around me, especially multiple conversations or a conversation and the TV, I get confused and feel irritable. Many odors such as air fresheners, scented candles, lotion and cologne are malodorous as far as I’m concerned. (An old boyfriend called perfume “stink” and I have to agree.) I’m probably not even aware of the impact that a big pile of clutter, or even being surrounded by stuff, has on my mood.
I was looking for photos of houses that had a bit of visual clutter, but were not really messy or deeply cluttered. Not easy to find. I did find this prize website, UglyHousePhotos.com. Let me tell you what, if your refrigerator is still covered with magnets and papers, this website will show you the error of your ways.
The first photo is a kitchen that most people would feel proud of. It is clean. It is functional. But it has a refrigerator that looks like a box of magnets was thrown on it and then the box and all its friends went to live on top. The counter on the left side is cluttered, as is the area between the microwave and the refrigerator. Just the stuff of everyday life makes a messy look.
The second photo is eye-popping child’s bedroom. Look how neat the closet is! Look how organized the shelves are! Yet do you feel like you drank six cups of coffee with extra sugar when you look at it? I do! Organized, not decluttered, and aggressively visually cluttered.
Looking at the photos of São Paulo and then the photos on the Ugly House website, I was struck by two things. The first is that visual clutter is disturbing, jarring, off putting and insidious. The second is, as Colleen and I have said before, a photograph is worth 1000 words. Think your home is peaceful and clutter free? A photo will tell you whether you’re right, or whether you’re deceiving yourself.
You can read a great article on São Paulo’s advertising ban and see photos here. Be sure to read through the interview with newspaper reporter Vinicius Galvao.
Today’s Declutter Item
Today’s mini mission was to declutter and item of clothing that no longer fits someone in your home. This is my offering, another item of clothing that no longer fits my thinner husband.
Yesterday one of my readers, Snosie, had a scooter accident. I am grateful that she wasn’t seriously hurt. I hope your shoulder heals fast Snosie.