Balance Or Chaos – Clutter Talk

I’m too busy with more important things. That’s my self-talk when I look at certain organizational tasks that seem just too overwhelming. But one thing I’ve learned, and still haven’t mastered, is that organization is not a one-tier kind of thing. Clutter can start from the inside and spread like a virus to the outside. What I mean is sometimes if we haven’t released ourselves of past emotional clutter, those issues can affect our physical world also.

I’m a list kind of girl. I make lists for everything. I make lists of different exercises for my exercise routine, and lists for the tasks around my house, and lists for the articles I want to write, and lists for my long-term writing goals. And not to forget lists of things my kids need, I need, their school needs, and lists for groceries, books I want to read etc… That’s a definite start and a real release of sorts — cause then you feel more organized — but not until you actually do some of those things on your lists are you really sorting through all your clutter or better yet — accomplishing some of your goals.

Prioritize

What’s most urgent? What’s holding us back the most? If my kitchen’s a sty, I have no motivation for cooking a healthy meal. So first on my list would be to clean the kitchen, or whatever else is in dire need. From there, I could plan healthy meals or decorate my kitchen to my heart’s delight. I usually try and jot down the night before what needs to be done the next day — and in order of priority. I think about my emotional, physical, spiritual balance. Is my exercise regime waning? Are my feet sticking to some unidentifiable blue goo on the kitchen floor? Or do I just need to make that time to read a good uplifting book to stir my soul and get me back on track? If all three, then those would be my priorities for the day. But the first step, even before prioritizing, is knowing what kind of clutter is holding us back. Our job is to acknowledge our clutter and intentionally begin the process of eliminating it.

Different Kinds of Clutter

Clutter can masquerade as many things. So let’s identify those different kinds and which ones pertain to us personally.

  1. Overweight. We’ve all heard of emotional eating, and emotional eating comes from emotional clutter. It could be things we’re hanging on to from our childhood or a past relationship that hasn’t been resolved. I think about the beach ball scenario — where we try and shove the ball under the water. It doesn’t work though, it just keeps bobbing to the surface. We either need to accept it’s there, bring it to the surface and play with it even if it’s not fun. Or we can let it go, allowing the ball to blow behind us and disappear.
  2. Depression. We may have destructive beliefs from our past that can affect us on many levels. Instead of eating to comfort ourselves of unresolved emotional clutter, we beat ourselves up and attack our psyches.
  3. Bad Habits. There can be a broad range of these. It’s important that we evaluate our habits and decide if these habits are beneficial or just assisting us in stagnating. They can be as simple as an addiction to watching television to more serious addictions that can harm a number of people including ourselves.
  4. Material Clutter. This is what most of us think of when we think of clutter: Magazines stacked on our dining room table, ten different pairs of shoes at the front door, a closet that spews out clothes from twenty years ago.

I’ve listed the many faces of clutter but haven’t really given advice on how to attack it. There are so many resources out there, depending on what our needs are. Let’s choose to eliminate the unnecessary elephants in our way, that’s the first baby step, and then seek out the readily available information.

Life is about choice. We choose scrambled or over-easy, paper or plastic, and healthy or super-size me. Beyond our preferences at restaurants and check-out lines, we choose whether we want to be an active participant in our own life or whether we’ll allow life to take its toll and pull us any which way. I’ve found in my life, there’s a wide range within each of us from teetering on the edge of insane chaos to anal-retentive obsessive compulsiveness. Finding the appropriate healthy point within this broad spectrum is a personal and unique experience. This is our only life so let’s grab it, embrace it, and have fun with it, but most importantly — choose it. And while we’re eliminating our various clutter, let’s keep reminding ourselves that it’s the process that’s important.

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