Clutter. It drives us all mad and if you're like me, the harder you try to deal with it, the worse it gets.
All that extra “stuff” in our lives does harm to our brains and our wellbeing. It’s a hot topic and for good reason. As a society in the western world, and the US in particular we have more stuff than ever before.
Our houses are bigger, our closets are bigger, yet every closet, the spare bedroom, and the garage is full of stuff. There's now an entire industry that’s grown around helping us deal with our clutter from stores that sell organizing solutions, to organizing and decluttering consultants, and even storage units that allow us to keep even more stuff that we don’t have room for.
If nothing else, all this clutter and all this extra stuff can be very distracting.
When was the last time you spent more than a couple of minutes trying to find something among all the extra things you’re keeping around “just in case”?
Think about all of the time you’re wasting each and every day searching for stuff or shifting things around to get to the item you need. That’s time you’re not getting back.
Even when you’re not actively looking for something, the clutter can be very distracting. You may not think that you’re noticing it, but you are.
You’re keeping mental tabs on everything around you and that can be quite distracting. It’s much more relaxing and a lot easier to focus in a relatively clean and clutter-free environment.
Clutter can even physically hurt your brain. It’s much harder to focus on anything from simple household chores to doing your taxes, finishing up an important report for your boss, or writing a paper if you are surrounded by clutter. Your brain has to work harder to process information so everything that’s going on around you in a cluttered environment takes a lot more brainpower. That in turn leaves you with less energy for the fun stuff.
Clutter can be a coping mechanism that keeps us stuck in the past. It's often why we hang on to so much stuff in the first place. Some things we keep because of the memories attached to them. Others we hold on to because it causes us too much pain to let them go.
Most of us have an old t-shirt or stuffed animal hidden in the back of the closet that we’ll never wear again, or snuggle with. We hold on to it because it reminds us of our childhood or youth. You may hold on to other things that either remind you of your own past, or that belonged to a loved one that you can’t make yourself part with.
Letting go of things and getting rid of physical items that we’ve grown attached to can hurt us. But sometimes facing that pain is part of the overall healing process. We hold on to notebooks and paperwork from that failed business opportunity, or the treadmill we bought to get into shape. Letting go and getting rid can feel as if we’ve truly given up on the idea.
I’m sure you’ve noticed this yourself and it’s the reason most mediation or yoga spaces are sparcely furnished and never cluttered. We’re a lot more stressed when we’re living in a cluttered space.
I’m thinking part of it has to do with the fact that we have to keep mental tabs on all the extra things surrounding us. Add to that the mental and digital clutter we’re dealing with on a regular basis and it’s no wonder we’re so stressed out!
With that comes all sorts of stress-related illnesses including an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Who knew that part of the solution could be something as simple as decluttering?
Decluttering can be hard. It’s physically and mentally taxing, but it is well worth it when you get done and find yourself taking control of the spaces you occupy. It’s well worth it for the peace of mind and time savings you’ll find in a cleaner, more organized place.
Don’t let clutter rule you.
I hope you're inspired to examine the spaces you live and work in and that you will think about how comfortable you are in those spaces.
Start today and make a choice to only surround yourself with items that you love and that make your life easier, or more pleasant.
Remember, less is more.
If you need support decluttering, watch out for an exciting announcement coming soon. I'm here to help you have a clutter-free home - and life.
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.