Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clearing Clutter: Beyond the Stuff

I'm With Stupid t-shirt

Clutter - the word brings to mind the overstuffed closets, the boxes of stuff sitting in the garage, the paper that seems to be everywhere.

But as Peter Walsh's latest newsletter points out, there are more types of clutter to consider. To quote just a bit of that newsletter:
Clutter can also be the way we constantly think about something that routinely trips us up; or the way we speak to a partner or friend that we know we should change but just can’t seem to do; or the bad choices we make, and make, and make again. Our bad habits and repeated negative behavior that we’d love to change (but can’t or don’t) is a form of clutter that we all experience and find tough to get rid of.

When it comes to RELATIONSHIPS there is a ton of clutter that needs clearing out.

- our bad attitudes.

- our past experience that we can’t forget.

- our unreal expectations that our partner can never meet.
Other writers touch on the same subject. Katherine Gibson, in Unclutter Your Life, writes about emotional clutter: "Unfulfilling activities and the self-defeating thoughts and feelings that keep us from our highest potential."

And the ARTrepreneur wrote about different types of clutter, including mental clutter, emotional clutter, relationship clutter and health clutter. To quote just a couple choice parts:
MENTAL CLUTTER: Sometimes the chatter in our minds is constant and difficult to decipher. Other times there are the same boorish and loud messages over and over again - messages like "You can't do it!", or, "You're no good!". ...

EMOTIONAL CLUTTER: Emotional clutter stems from the same pack-rat habit of not wanting to let go. Instead of hanging onto an old sweater missing a button, it's hanging onto an old emotion. Once an emotion is over, it's over, unless we choose to hang onto it. That's a powerful ability we have - to either stay enraged, sad or anxious over something that happened three days ago, or three YEARS ago, or let go and give ourselves the freedom.
I'm not an expert on clearing the clutter of unhelpful thoughts, attitudes, and expectations (although I do know some wonderful people who are). But it seems that working on the physical clutter and working on the non-physical clutter sometimes go hand in hand; make progress on one and it's easier to make progress on the other.

Related Post: Letting Go of Spiritual or Emotional Clutter

[t-shirt from OneHorseShy]


Michele said...

Thanks for pointing out Peter's newsletter. It seems like a useful idea to apply the concept of clutter to non-physical things.

Angelia said...

I took that first step :) I have "finished" reorganised/decluttering the kids playroom.

and I can tell you it feels GOOD. One cupboard at a time. Got the kids to help. Everything's in a box/plastic drawers and labelled.

Since Im teaching our youngest how to read, I figured we will teach him what's written on the boxes, so he knows where to put them and read at the same time :D :D

Jeri, you (and Oprah too!) have been a great inspiration with tips etc and listening. Well, Oprah doesnt quite "listen" to me LOL but I do watch her shows when I can.

Now.. to the next cupboard!

Jeri Dansky said...

Congratulations, Angelia! That's indeed the way it gets done - one cupboard at a time.

It's great to involve the kids; if they get a chance to give suggestions, you're more likely to come up with something that works for them, and that they are willing to do - because they had a say in it. And they may as well learn good habits early on!

You could always label containers with a combination of pictures and words, if that would help the youngest one.

One caution: Plan on going back an reorganizing the playroom pretty regularly, because as your kids grow their playthings (and therefore the organizing answers) will change.

Angelia said...

thanks Jeri! :)

my hubby has been asking me "am I ever going to find a time where I can come home and the house isnt rerranged".

I said no. LOL

I gave myself a year to finish the "reorganising" cos I know there will be circumstances/life that will slow the progress down sometimes. but we plod on :)

The youngest has learnt to read some of the words there and he's very proud of himself. He says he doesnt need the pictures (this is the same three year old who tells people that he's 5 years old cos he's taller now LOL)