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Less is the New More

How Physical, Mental and Emotional Clutter distract you from realizing your dreams.

When visualizing clutter what do you see?

My first thoughts are...An overstuffed closet with outdated clothes leading to a shortage in hangers and more clothes on the floor... Miscellaneous objects on every surface in the house... A refrigerator with overdue leftovers and outdated items. Dysfunctional drawers with dissimilar contents... A car cluttered with wrappers, crumbs and a glove that is missing it's mate...A bathroom counter with toothpaste on it, a curling iron and a hairdryer with cords that are tangled together... Mugs, plates and bowls in bedrooms, living rooms and on stair banisters.... water bottles without their lids... Trinkets that mean nothing but fill space... un-filed papers... un dealt with mail... books that have been read multiple times and are no longer read or have never been read and never will...scratched dvd's when there is no longer a DVD player in the house... charging cords that have no master... broken things that haven't motivated anyone to fix that are orphaned... stray game pieces... things that were not put away after an outing or adventure.

The physical clutter listed above anchors the mind and soul. Yes this describes the clutter that I personally struggle with. It prevent's me from getting simple things done quickly because I can't find something when I need it and while I'm looking for the tool or container, container lid, etc. I am distracted from my real mission (which if it is challenging at all might welcome and encourage distraction) as I clean up the clutter or organize the offending space.

This is stressful.

There are more interesting things to get stressed about.

As I wrestle with the extra decisions I have to make to circumvent the things that are out of place and the things that I can't find, I use mental energy that could have been used to create and to do... such as playing dolls with my daughter, writing that blog post, organizing work systems, painting, hiking, planning a trip, reading, making out with my husband, journaling, writing gratitude letters to friends, praying, meditating.

Physical Clutter is not the only clutter that detracts from purpose. What about energetic clutter such as relationships that don't serve us and internal dialog that plays in the background of our mind? What about time clutter? Meetings and tasks that aren't necessary... or inefficient systems at work or at home? Mindless entertainment? What about excess nutrient devoid food that serves only to fill the hole in our soul that is often caused by lack of clarity?

My theme word for 2021 is #DECLUTTER.

It is easy to say that we intend to reduce clutter. But if we don't have an action plan this intention is just another form of life clutter. It is "to-do list clutter".

The mantra "Declutter" is helpful. However, action is necessary. Here is what I am trying this year.

Physical Clutter:

  • Build a weekly habit to donate, sell, give away, throw away or label and archive 20 items ( I use an app called HabitHub to schedule this)

  • Make sure that shopping is intentional and not impulsive. Ask myself.. "Do I love this?" before I buy it. Sell, Give away or Donate a similar item if it exists.

  • Process mail immediately

  • Make quick decisions, don't overthink or reminisce about the items to put away.

  • Create logical places to put things once a common category emerges. Label these places if they are not logical to everyone.

  • Share the "declutter" mantra with family members... maybe incentivize

  • Strengthen habits that are attached to daily actions. For example, when getting out of the car, bring everything in and put it away immediately. The energy required to do this immediately seems to be exponentially less than the energy it takes to do it later.

Mental Clutter

  • Journal daily: It helps to have at least an outline at the beginning of the day and to download the day after it happens. I love the apps: The 5 Minute Journal and Day One

  • Meditate: This helps to view my thoughts objectively and prevents cyclical thoughts that take up time and energy without much return.

  • Keep a Paper and digital calendar. This is just something that I have found works for me. By physically writing down my planned events each month and week, I have a better recollection of what to expect. I transfer these to my digital calendar because when things pop up in the middle of the week, I don't always have my paper calendar. My digital calendar becomes my dynamic working compass throughout the week.

Emotional Clutter

  • Consciously choose input and re-evaluate regularly. What do I listen to? What do I watch? Who do I hang out with?

    • Notice How I feel after these interactions. Do I feel a charge or do I feel sapped? If I feel sapped... why and is it worth pursuing the input anymore?

  • Allow for margin in my days, weeks, months and years. This gives me space to reflect, to breath and to pivot.

How do you de-clutter?

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