Clutter is both a cause and a symptom of stale, stuck energy. It blocks the smooth flow of chi through your space, weighs you down energetically, and keeps you stuck in the past.
Clutter makes it very difficult to make changes, take advantage of new opportunities, or welcome new friends and experiences into your life.
The Impact of Clutter
Scientists have conducted research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools to map the brain’s responses to organized and disorganized stimuli. Their research led to an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience, which concluded that if you want to focus to the best of your abilities and process information as effectively as possible, you need to clear clutter from your home and work environment. The research also proved that uncluttering and organizing your home and office can help you to be less irritable, more productive, and distracted less often.
Dealing with clutter means dealing with our own difficult emotions:
- Getting rid of clothes we’ll never fit into again means accepting our current shape and level (or lack) of fitness.
- Getting rid of an expensive item we never use means admitting that we made a poor decision when we bought it.
- Getting rid of books and magazines we don’t have time to read means accepting that we will never have enough time or attention to explore every topic that’s of interest to us.
- Getting rid of possessions remaining after a loved one has died means coming to terms with our loss and grief.
Clutter’s Side Effects:
CLUTTER IN THE KITCHEN
The kitchen has been called the “heart of the home,” and with good reason. Here we are nourished and provided for, even if we are dining on a frozen entrée zapped in the microwave rather than a homemade meal lovingly presented by Mom. An untidy and disorganized kitchen makes it hard to nourish yourself and others, on both physical and metaphysical levels. How you care for your kitchen is a clue about whether you are giving proper attention to your own nourishment and sources of abundance. Cleaning up and de-cluttering your kitchen opens up space for you to receive the support and comfort that you need in life.
LIVING AND DINING ROOM CLUTTER
These are spaces where you mingle with and honor your relationships with family and friends. Here you engage with the world while being at home through watching television, reading the paper, or arguing politics with old friends over dinner. Clutter can turn these social spaces into dens of isolation, especially if the mess is so bad that it has been years since you’ve invited people over. Look around your living and dining rooms to see what they say about your relationship with the rest of the world. Are you hiding your true self from others, burying it in clutter, or putting it on display here?
Hallways are the arteries and highways of your home. Think of clutter in your hallways as a traffic jam that prevents important connections between different areas of your home and your life. Look at your hallways to see how you feel about your life’s path: are they well lit and easily navigable, or do they trip you up? If you feel a disconnect between work and family, self and others, what you need and your obligations, it may be time to give your hallways a good clearing out.
Bathing and anointing the body is a preparatory ritual for many religious rites both ancient and contemporary. On a daily basis we use this space to prepare ourselves to meet the world. Clutter in the bathroom can indicate a devaluation of self-worth, a lack of attention to self that goes beyond the physical. A clean, well-decorated bathroom can become a tranquil sanctuary for rejuvenation and self-care. Scented soaps, attractive accessories, and fragrant candles have a place here. Beautifying your bathroom by eliminating clutter and disorder and transforming it into a place of refuge will bring a sense of the sacred into your morning and evening personal-care rituals.
CLUTTER IN THE BEDROOM
Adults’ bedrooms are for sleeping and intimacy, and they should function as places of renewal for self and relationships. Clutter in the bedroom is enervating without being restful. If you feel “wired and tired,” creating order out of chaos in this most personal space can help you relax and let go of the stress of the day. Then you can get a good night’s sleep or enjoy some special time with your partner.
Closets represent things that are hidden, unknown, or unrecognized. When we fill our closets with clutter, we stifle our ability to be intuitive and insightful. Cluttered closets can indicate problems that you may not be consciously aware of but which impede your progress through life, work, and relationships nonetheless. Keeping the closet door closed is not an effective solution.
ATTIC AND BASEMENT CLUTTER
A cluttered attic creates a feeling of being under pressure. It’s hard to feel optimistic about the future when there’s so much stuff “hanging over your head.” Ancestor issues reside up there, along with all those boxes and chests holding the detritus of generations. And the basement and other below-ground storage areas are considered abodes of the subconscious, so watch your step and get that clutter cleaned up!
CLUTTER IN YOUR GARAGE
Think of your car as a symbol of your mobility, independence, and ability to be self-directed in life. If there’s so much stuff piled up in your garage that you can barely fit the car in there, you may be hampered or overly cautious moving forward in life as well.
You can get a pretty good idea of the benefits of clutter clearing simply by imagining your life free of all the negative effects of clutter: lack of focus and clarity; feelings of being professionally, creatively, spiritually, and/or romantically stuck; insufficient time and attention for self and family; increased stress, irritability and depression. Wouldn’t it be great to be free of all these?
Steps to Eliminate Clutter
It’s time to eliminate what is old, unnecessary, or doesn’t reflect who you are any longer. This system for clearing clutter will help you create better energy flow and help you feel more productive and less stressed.
- Begin with something small, like a drawer.
- Consider how much time it might take to complete the task and set a timer. Having a finite amount of time for the task will help you stay focused.
- Take everything out of the drawer and then create three plies:
• The first pile is to give away
• The second pile is to throw away
• The last pile is to keep
- Make sure you keep only what you want or need. Otherwise, place the item in one of the other two piles.
- Placing your kept items back in the drawer in an organized and easy-to-identify way is as important as deciding to keep them.
- After finishing this short project, take a moment and check how you feel inside. Put your hand on your heart and take several deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to settle the mind. Taking the time to check in with yourself allows you to experience the subtle energetic effect of clearing clutter.
Ask yourself: Do I feel lighter, calmer? Do I feel more energetic? Do I feel inspired to continue?
- If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, consider moving on to the next drawer and eventually to bigger tasks like shelves, cabinets, and closets. At this point, you may be ready to organize larger projects: the garage, your basement, or a storage room.
Clearing out your clutter creates space for possibility. You may find yourself deciding to go back to school, change your career, start your own business, go out on a date, take up painting or singing or ballroom dancing, try out for a part in a play, or… what’s your dream? No wonder clutter clearing can be a little scary! Suddenly there are no more excuses for why you can’t pursue that dream.