Clutter is anything and everything – known and unknown – that is blocking you, or preventing you, from achieving your highest potential and from living your most authentic life.
Clutter is what we tend to avoid – a sign of procrastination – a sign of fear. It magnetizes and festers most often within our closets, our garages, but more harmful within our hearts and within our minds. Clutter is twofold – physical and abstract – and we all carry some aspect of both.
Simply put, physical clutter is the “mess” visible around you – outside of you – the extensions of you: within the room you wake up in, the kitchen you cook in, the car you drive, the workspace you show up to each day, your email inbox, your social connections, and your junk drawer.
Abstract clutter are the concealed obstructions within you: unhealed trauma and pain, fears and worries about your future, insecurities and self-doubt, unresolved conflict, guilt and shame you carry. The stuff that keeps you awake at night.
From the time that I was a child, I have had a natural ability to optimize organization and space awareness – with respect to eliminating the physical clutter around me. However, it was only a few years ago when I finally pushed myself to begin to genuinely acknowledge and clear the abstract clutter that was slowly suffocating my soul. Clutter that I had been neglecting for years. Trying to avoid. Hoping it would just go away.
Here’s the funny thing about clutter. It doesn’t just magically go away. In fact, most often, the opposite happens. It multiplies and grows until it appears unsurmountable. At which point, we ask, where do I even begin, and typically just scroll through Facebook or Netflix instead.
True transformation begins by working through your abstract clutter first – the emotional and mental baggage you carry and traditionally work to avoid. If you start there, at your core, the added layers of your life (the physical spaces around you) will directly begin and continue to shed and realign as you heal from the inside out.
Comparable to setting a fitness or health-related goal, decluttering success comes from a wholesome approach and consistent effort. And requires a foundation within. If you spend hours at the gym each week, sweating and pushing yourself to transform into a healthier version of you, but then find yourself in a fast-food drive thru, finished with a bag of Oreos once you get home, then what’s the point?
Clutter doesn’t reveal itself overnight. And it doesn’t dissolve overnight, either. It requires consistent effort. Consistent commitment. And recommitment and willpower. And and understanding that it won’t be easy. But that your efforts will be worth it.
A tree can survive and thrive and continue to bud each year, even with a broken branch. But a branch cannot thrive and continue to bud each year, without a healthy tree [its core]. A healthy organized life begins within. At your core.
People often tell me that the conditions of their physical environments have little to no impact on the quality of their lives. But where do those people go on a hot summer day?
Whether you realize it or not, our physical spaces and our internal clutter play a significant role in our journey through life. We are impacted by cold weather and rainy days. Our moods often shift when the sun shines. When the laundry is done. When our desks are clear. When our emails are read. Imagine going for groceries in a store that decided to skip the implementation of designated isle categories? It would take you hours to find eggs, milk and bread – if there were no “egg”, “milk” and “bread” sections. Your environments do matter.
Getting started is the hardest point. And if you are here, reading these words, then you have already begun, and have already made progress. I am proud of you and am cheering you on.
Keep asking yourself what additional slight adjustments could be made in your life. Adjustments that will better serve you in the life you want to leave behind. A life that brings you genuine joy and purpose.
It starts with you.
It starts within.