Clearing Clutter Opens the Mind

open mind

I do a lot of writing about home improvement and environmental issues and one of the most important topics I find everyone can relate to is clutter.

Clutter can be a heavy burden that confines and suffocates. Like the interesting phenomenon of a pet taking on characteristics of its owner when they’re out for a walk, we often take on elements of the mess around us without even knowing it.

Whether in the kitchen, basement, yard or ‘all of the above’ in some way everyone has clutter and when it begins to rule over a certain rhythm in our lives it affects personal relationships and slows our ability to move forward. In essence, it closes us up instead of opening our hearts and minds to our dreams.

I can tell you from my own past experience I’ve had mental blocks or turned down opportunities to do X or Y because of the clutter in my life.

  • I can’t host the party, too much clutter
  • I can’t expand my imagination, too much clutter
  • I can’t go out because I don’t want to come back to so much clutter!

So the question is what to do about it?

For me the answer became a personal management issue, which I eventually solved on my own with a lot of effort. In retrospect I’d break it down into in the following four points:

Take the initiative

Sometimes we get into work funks, writers block being a good example. We spend hours or even days trying to meet a deadline or finish a project and in the meantime everything around us falls to smithereens. It once took me two days to clean up the apartment after a week long assignment which included a few all-nighters.

I can’t emphasize this enough but don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re completely overwhelmed. Each day take a break for just 15 minutes, preferably in the morning, and clear the space so it doesn’t end up closing you in more and more until the creative energy just won’t flow.

Make clutter zones and stick to them

If necessary, select clutter zones such as a box by the desk, bed, or near a closet where the disorder can have a temporary home. Adhere to those boundaries as much as possible and sort it out on the weekend.

Even if a mess develops in various places use that 15 minutes in the early part of the day to transfer it to its selected zone. Just don’t forget to set a time for making the zone itself clutter free.

Talk to Yourself

Really. I’m not kidding. When you run a race you have to keep telling yourself “I can do it, I can do it.” In the same way I’ve found that when we speak things out it somehow registers differently. For example, as you’re about to take charge tell yourself:

  • I want to pick up all the cloths I see
  • I want to organize the paper separating trash from important forms
  • I want to bring dishes to the kitchen
  • I want to dust and sweep the floor
  • I want to get it all done in 15 minutes!

Say it and make it happen.

Consider your health

Realize that part of staying healthy is being in a clean environment. Clutter exposes us to all kinds of new problems like dust allergies and even mold and mildew when moisture is involved. It affects our breathing, increases stress which in turn causes sickness, and robs us of the strength we need to achieve our goals.

That’s why when it comes to clutter consider the health effect.

Also, remember the point of all this is inspiring us to change our reality into something better so the ideas we bring into the world will flow with abundance.

If anything, we need our health to accomplish this.

Photo by jnyemb

12 thoughts on “Clearing Clutter Opens the Mind”

  1. Thanks for this TIMELY message. I’m a student and I think accumulated clutter was the number one reason of why I felt so distracted and disorganized toward the end of the semester. I have a short break, and I am determined to organize my space so that I can think better – because my ideas are NOT flowing abundantly or otherwise!

  2. I like this:) I used to be terrible for clutter, but when I moved recently I decided it would be different – I now have one small tablke as my ‘clutter zone’. It is a mess but every where else is clear surfaces and I feel so much better for it!

  3. taking initiative is so important!

    I just got back from a weekend wedding last night and this morning I had all sorts of things on my bedroom floor. I could feel it all eating away at me. I just finished cleaning everything and now I feel like I can get a hold on things once again.

  4. I agree, clutter is so draining. I do my best, but with two kids, it’s amazing what accumulates.

    I have made a pact with myself, that every day, I try to get rid of at least 6-10 things that just tick me off. Whether is’t files from the filing cabinet, kids socks, or even my socks that might have a hole in the toe, :-) – or just a mug or a toy – regardless of how big or small.

    Also when I buy a new item to wear, I get rid of two…in other words, one in, two out! so far the house feels a little lighter!

    Thanks for your suggestions. i will be talking to myself tomorrow!


  5. Jakob,

    It’s a very true statement about clutter. I have managed to be a person who get’s rid of stuff that I no longer need. Clutter creates energetic blocks in our bodies.

    Another place that I must focus on is removing mental clutter.

  6. Hi Jakob,

    A method that has worked well for me to clear up the house has been to strictly clean for 15 minutes per day (depending on house size 10-40 minutes might be required). During 15 minutes you can get rid of most of the clutter.

    Since my wife spends about 15 minutes per day cleaning as well that means one can take care of the clutter and the other can do a little more thorough cleaning or organizing.

    The important thing is continuety. If you do it every day you find yourself mostly cleaning the days clutter which isn’t that much.

    1. So true and yet sometimes so hard to accomplish but I’m happy to hear you guys try your best to stick to a routine that works. Continuity is the key!

    2. This is also my technique.
      If start thinking that i have to sped 1 or 2 hours i never start.
      On the other hand if i start with 10 or 15 minute plan, in most cases finally i spend more than this time frame and finally do much more!

  7. I’ve been thinking about our relationships with clutter and ‘stuff’ in general – I come to the conclusion it’s quite a complicated thing.

    I’m a pretty tidy and organised person, and I can’t properly relax or concentrate on something else if there are piles of junk/clutter around – I feel the need to deal with them before I can focus on something else. But lots of people just don’t feel the same way.

    Got to be something about having control hasn’t it ?

    Our relationship with ‘stuff’ is something that interests me a lot. I’d be interested in reading more of your thoughts about it.


  8. Talking to yourself is SO important!! You feel like a bit of an idiot but it definitely reinforces and reminds you of the task at hand.

    I have to come up with various mantras every time I have a challenge in front of me (a trick I also learned from running) and they really are helpful!

    I’m doing a blog series about decluttering/minimizing all my stuff and I love these tips.

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