Writing Prompt Story Starter: Clutter

Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov © Three piles of clothes. One titled "Keep", one "Donate" and one "Discard".

This week’s Story Starter is about Clutter.

A short chat with Angela this morning prompted this story starter. I felt inspired and who wouldn’t: it is a very relatable issue. I present: clutter and the way we deal with it.

Horder or minimalist?

Everyone is different, some people thrive in a minimalist environment, with counter top constantly empty and very little decorations. Others, keep pretty much everything “just in case”. Because we never know when we could need it again.

What happens when two people with the opposite mindset move in together? How do we agree on what to keep, what to give and what to throw? For example, you could think of young couples moving in or well-meaning friends and family members helping one moving to a new place.

Boomerang clutter.

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re constantly trying to get rid of your clutter, only to see it reappear the next day? Is moving an object from one place to an other, really a way to declutter? Quid of our ever fuller cupboard and loft spaces?

Could this boomerang effect come back to bother your character?
Is there a parallel to be made with their life? Ever-repeating situations, patterns?

Messy place, messy mind?

Some argue that the tidier your place is, the tidier your mind feels.
With this in mind, what would drive your character to do a big clear out of there space?
Would an event in their life influence their decision? A moment where they finally decide: “This is enough, I need it to go?”

Keep it, Give it, Bin it.

Google “Tidying up” and you’ll find a plethora of advices on getting rid of your clutter. You could decide to keep only thing that sparks Joy following the famous Marie Kondo Method. Else, you could follow the Minimalist 90/90 Rule or the 5 Items Rules. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that it is likely to be an emotional journey.

What would trigger your character emotions? What type of objects would they be more likely to hold onto and why? Why would it be so hard for them to throw away a specific mug, their children drawing, a box full of… what is in that box?

Finally, if you struggle with inspiration, one drastic way to get a full sense of your character wrestle could be, hear me out, to declutter your own house? In anyway, we’re looking forward to reading your story!

To choose another “Friend” Story Starter, click here.

Manon Gandiolle