Where have you allowed clutter to invade your life?
When you hear the word clutter, what pops into your mind? A desk with piles upon piles of paper? Your kid’s bedroom? Your bedroom? The kitchen sink? The backseat of your car? The garage? Your sock drawer? The bottom of your closet?
Often, we associate clutter—mess and disorganization—with material stuff. And as the short list above attests, such a connection can be apt. Any number of physical locations can become black holes for the condition I call “drop and leave.”
Clutter can cost us in time lost looking for something, money spent (for items we thought we had lost), money lost (because of wasted productivity) and stress endured dealing with the overwhelming mess that feels like a hurricane about to slam ashore.
And it can interfere with our true priorities as it distracts us from the important things in our lives.
Clutter seeps into our lives in so many other ways. And each can create stress, lost productivity, and strained relationships (personal and business). Where has clutter been allowed to invade your life? Consider that our days can easily become cluttered with:
- Acquisitions (obsessed with buying—while unused items get lost in the back of the closet?)
- Appointments (does a full calendar really equate to a meaningful day?)
- Choices (distracted by things that do not get you to your goals?)
- Financial worries (overextended and underfunded?)
- Global anxieties (constantly paying attention to “alerts” and “breaking news”?)
- Health obsessions (neurotic about calorie counting or time on the treadmill?)
- Numbing agents (one more latte, wine or hour of television?)
- Promises to others (can’t say no?)
- Promises to yourself (do you overestimate what you can do in a day, week or month?)
- Relationships (success and connections measured by the number of social media “friends”?)
- Technology (three devices going at once and thus not really where you currently are?)
What else clutters your life?
If you want to de-clutter, start with by asking yourself some straight-forward questions:
- Is all this stuff making me happy? How do I know?
- What are my core values? Does the clutter add to or detract from these values? One of the most poignant gut-check questions I read recently was in a post about balanced life: “Why did we have kids if you’re too busy to see them?” Ouch!
- Are you holding on to stuff because you “might” use it in the future? Really? When was the last time you used that set of dishes or golf clubs?
- Look at the list above (and anything else you added to it). What small clutter item can you start on today? Then, where can you move to tomorrow? Think large and long-term. Act small and short-term.
If you can’t get a handle on your clutter, find a coach, mentor or expert who can. A friend (and former student) of mine has created such a business where they act as “personal trainers for your stuff.” Find a trainer for your situation.
Whatever it takes, wrestle control of your life back to where it belongs—with you.
Video recommendation for the week:
Delbert McClinton sings to us about the challenges of too much stuff!
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.