When the mountain of paperwork and other clutter on her desk approached Mt. Everest proportions, Amelia would “organize” by sweeping it all into paper bags and boxes that she stashed in closets and under tables.
George didn’t even bother stashing his clutter. The obstacle course from his front door to the rest of the house meant friends and others generally just didn’t come over. He had grown increasingly isolated.
Kathleen kept her house pretty clutter-free, but her garage was loaded top to bottom with boxes of things she hadn’t used or read in years, including a box marked “RIP” filled with “mementos” of her divorce 20 years earlier.
All three individuals tamed their clutter by examining what drove their clutter habits and enlisting a few friends to help sift, sort, organize and release. One baby step at a time, miracles began to unfold.
- Sorting through papers, Amelia discovered the name of a colleague whom she hadn’t spoken with for years. The following week, the colleague called out of the blue and offered Amelia an irresistible business opportunity.
- George fell in love within a few months of clearing his clutter and later married.
- Kathleen found herself suddenly presented with much-appreciated opportunities for international travel, something she hadn’t done in several decades.
Clearing clutter is one of the kindest and most precious self-care practices.
Excessive physical clutter and weight can be closely connected to unresolved stressors on the mental/emotional level. Taking steps to eliminate the physical excess often has the unexpected effect of easing your sense of mental/emotional burden. Conversely, reducing mental/emotional weight can fuel clearing on the physical plane as well.
Decluttering in any aspect of your life helps you get unstuck, reclaim your power and recapture your zest for living—moving forward into a life you love.
An uncluttered life is characterized by greater efficiency and effectiveness. Your lightness of being translates into a sense of liberation in which you feel more present, confident and capable. You trust your intuition and reason knowing you can rely on yourself to nurture, encourage and delight yourself in healthy ways.
In her book Organizing from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern reveals that creating and sustaining any optimal system requires identifying, understanding and overcoming our mental and emotional obstacles to a clutter-free environment.
Here are a few of the most common obstacles.
- Need for accumulation. People who need to keep a lot of everything around them may be trying to combat feelings of scarcity, depletion and deprivation..
- Unclear goals and priorities. Organizing is about defining what’s important and setting up a system to reflect that.
- Fear of success/fear of failure. Disorganization may be a convenient way to hold back.
- Need to retreat. Clutter can be a protective shield to keep others at a safe distance.
- Fear of losing creativity. A common myth is that creative, “right-brained” people need to work in chaos to produce high-quality work. Balderdash!
- Need for distraction. Clutter can provide a convenient excuse to avoid uncomfortable issues or unwanted tasks.
- Sentimental attachment. Infusing objects with personality, emotions and meaning (“That vase will be sad if I throw it out.”) can result in living with enormous clutter.
- Need for perfection. Some people won’t deal with clutter until it can be completed perfectly. Translation: it will never get done.
Identifying these obstacles and other obstacles can help you create an effective, lasting solution to clutter that sets you free.
Author’s content adapted under license, © 2008 Claire Communications
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