Clearing Clutter* to Honor the Self
Clutter (noun) \ˈklə-tər\ middle English first used in 1556, Cloterne: Clot
We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. —Tao Te Ching
There is a link between a disorganized home or office and the messy thoughts that can muddle well-being. Clutter is not just the physical stuff in our homes but a metaphor for our lives; it robs us of becoming our best selves. Clutter is anything we don’t need, want or use that takes time, energy or space and destroys our serenity.
Household and office clutter can be a pernicious drain on our energy. If you walk into your home and feel besieged by what needs to be done, do not feel alone. There are highly visible signs that unmanageable possessions are pervasive in the US:
- The Department of Energy reports that ¼ of people with two-car garages have so much stuff they can’t park a car.
- One study reported getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.
- It is reported we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items.
- Harris Interactive reports 23 % of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them.
- If you rent a storage facility to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry – bigger than the Hollywood film business.
- 80% of clutter is from disorganization, not lack of space.
Clutter has a stealth quality. Some us may dream of getting rid of the clutter so we could go on and do great things. Yet, that may be the very reason we hold onto it…. An excuse for not living up to our potential. Some clutter stems from a deceptive lack of acceptance that a moment has passed, such as hanging onto college English papers in hopes of becoming a writer, without ever putting in the time to realize that goal.
Clutter matters, because it takes up space in our psyches. I recently witnessed a person de-clutter her house room by room and her energy and mood change was dramatic, the effect profound, instantaneous and enduring.
What does de-cluttering have to do with wellness? It helps you be more generous with giving to yourself and to those around you. These are profoundly important reasons to de-clutter.
If you have free time this holiday season consider how you can un-encumber yourself, notice the dark places and remedy it with simplicity using these three guideposts:
- Everything you own should have value, be functional or beautiful or you love it.
- Every item needs a place where it lives.
- Focus on one thing at a time.
Great ideas on how to de-clutter go to Becoming Minimalist