Usually when we think about clutter, we picture a room full of things strewn everywhere with no purpose and nowhere to store them. Organizing TV shows like Clean Sweep, NEAT, Life Laundry and Mission: Organization come to mind.
However, clutter isn't just physical. People can also clutter up their thoughts and their emotions. And if we really want to get physically organized, we need to de-clutter our minds and emotions first, or the physical clutter will just keep coming back.
Let's take a closer look at the three types of clutter and some ways to clean up and organize in each case.
Is your mind always buzzing about with thoughts? If I were to ask you to answer right away what you want to do with the rest of your life, could you tell me? Would a million ideas pop forward? Or would I hear crickets because nothing came to mind?
When we have too many thoughts going on at once we don't know what we really want to do. Having no ideas about the future means that you're not opening yourself up to the idea of ambition and growth. You're blocking yourself from dreaming.
Sometimes it feels like we have a million possibilities open to us or none, but the root cause is the same for both. Our mind is full of everything but what we want to achieve.
To clear out mental clutter, you want to become aware of your thoughts. Many people live life on autopilot, focusing only on getting through the day without paying any attention to the future. The mind fills itself with details and the grand thoughts, the ones that address hidden dreams have no chance to reveal themselves.
By becoming aware of the stream of thoughts running through your head you can shut down the detail chatter and start listening to the deeper thoughts that will actually lead you to your dreams.
Fear and apathy are the two main causes of emotional clutter that block us from living life as we want to. For example, when I moved to France to pursue my dream of writing I chose to live in a very small village to avoid distractions. I spent a lot of time alone to give myself time to write, but instead of writing I often procrastinated. I would go for a walk, hang out with my cousins, watch TV, talk online, and play computer games. I would even clean! All because I was afraid.
Clearing out emotional clutter is probably the most difficult task. You may want to talk to a professional - a coach or therapist of some sort. You may find that like clearing out the mental clutter, you can organize your emotions just by being more aware of what you're feeling and what's triggered it.
No matter which path you choose to clear the emotional clutter, remember this: just as with a physical decluttering project, de-cluttering your emotions may create temporary chaos. Instead of running away from it, see the chaos as a sign of progress and move towards it instead.
We all know what physical clutter is, but why would it block us from our dreams? Well, think about it. If we are surrounded by too much stuff, what do we see? The stuff. And because we are such visual people, what do we focus on? The stuff.
Our possessions influence our decisions. We can't decide to move forward and fulfill our dreams because we're too bus looking at each possession and coming up with a reason we might possibly need to in the future.
Once you have your mind and emotions organized and decluttered you'll likely find the physical clutter falls away quite easily. You'll know what you love and what you need and the rest will lose importance. When you reach that state, it's therefore just a matter of booking time to go through the house room by room and getting rid of what no longer fits with your cleared out dreams, thoughts and feelings.
At some point in our lives, we all suffer or have suffered from each of the forms of clutter. In particularly serious cases, our lives our completely stagnant as all three varieties weigh us down too much to move forward.
Take a look at your life - what types of clutter affect you? What choices will you make to clear the clutter and accomplish your dreams?