By accident (serendipity!) today I came across an article online called "Clutter-Clearing and Your Authentic Self" by Stephanie Roberts. With such an intriguing title, it had to be interesting. Clutter is one of my visible weaknesses. (As an aside, I want to quote another article, specifically about cluttered desks: "Northeasterners are more organized than their Western, Central and Southern colleagues." I guess my desk et. al. was never told we had moved from Tennessee to Maine.)
The article by Roberts focuses on feng shui, which I know little about, but this part speaks to me so clearly that I must quote it:
Have you ever felt so discouraged, your life so out-of-control, the universe so unresponsive to your needs and desires, that you couldn't help it: you just had to clean up? By paying attention to these impulses we recognize the deep connection between our personal environment and our innermost selves. It's as though by shifting the arrangement of our belongings we hope to rearrange the molecules of our emotional lives as well.
Feng shui teaches us that our spaces both reflect and affect our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. When our homes become cluttered and disordered, other aspects of our lives tend to feel gridlocked as well. It's a chicken-and-egg kind of situation. Not only does a cluttered home reflect a distracted and cluttered mind, it also makes it hard to focus and think clearly. It gets easier and easier to stop making the item-by-item decisions that could put you back in control of the mess
and help you to feel more in control of your life.
Eventually, we give up. The task seems overwhelming, and the clutter is so pervasive that we can't figure out where to begin. We slog through our days thinking "someday when I have the time I've got to clean this up." Clutter clearing becomes an abstract goal that awaits a mythical future time when our calendars will be free of obligations, we will awaken one weekend morning well-rested and energized, and mysteriously through some unseen grace we will have acquired the focused clarity and enthusiasm that will finally inspire us to dive in and get it done. We wait for the moment to be right before we begin, so beginning never happens.
We're approaching the clutter challenge backwards when we think this way. Regaining a sense of clarity and order is more easily achieved by putting our space in order than by trying to order and control our thoughts in a disorganized space.
Clutter saps your energy and erodes your spirit. Clutter makes it difficult to get things done, enjoy peace and quiet, or spend time the way you really want to. It adds to your stress, slows you down and drains your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. Clutter is disempowering.
The words saps and drains are only too well known to our generation. Does the expression "It sucks the life out of you" have meaning in your life, too? Energy is as precious a gift as time to us. For what is time without the energy to make use of it?
We have an effect on our environment, and it has its effect on us. I can read the statistics that state those who have a messy desk are more likely to make big money, and the messier the desk, the greater the genius. I am not a genius, however, and so far I don't see that a messy environment has afforded me any benefits.
My rationale is that I have too many interests, the accoutrements of which account for a majority of my clutter. My hobbies of piano and harp force me to acquire large piles of music.
My hobbies of quilting and sewing and cross-stitch similarly require accumulations of books, fabric, and other accessories. I receive several magazine subscriptions which I wish to save for other family members to read, so they have to sit somewhere. The newspaper, coupons to clip, bills to pay, papers to file - all pile up. And at my age, if I file it somewhere or "hide" it, I will definitely forget about its existence. "Things to do are things in view." That's my personal motto.
On top of all that, I am studying for the Certified Medical Transcriptionist exam, so I have that material sitting in a few handy places.
Oh, yes, I have rationales, but I have to cut through them because "it just ain't workin' for me."
The Roberts article goes on to talk about clutter in this way:
Opening the dictionary we see that "clutter" derives from the Old English word "clott", which means: "to cause to become blocked or obscured." Like a blood clot blocking circulation in our veins, clutter prevents energy from circulating through our homes and our lives.
That's pretty clear, and as a medical analogy, exceptionally understandable to me.
Well, it's one thing to work on while my computer is gone....