Clear some clutter, clear your mind

Outer order contributes to inner calm.

I’ve read this numerous times on J’s blog, in Danielle LaPorte’s guest post, and quite a number of times on Gretchen Rubin’s blog and it made me start contemplating.
For the longest time I haven’t actually thought about the reasons behind starting cooking, baking, crafting or cleaning when I was upset. It felt right, so I did it.
But after I’ve read this simple statement, this little six word sentence, it rang so true.

Another thing I’ve noticed as I started thinking about this, was the immense amount of clutter the human mind can hold on to and process for the longest time.

These past few weeks haven’t exactly been the best, nor the easiest ones I’ve lived through so far in my life.
So, as I like to clean when my life is in disarray, I’ve found myself cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen, my room, my closet, drawers, and as to provide further evidence of the mild case of OCD I have, I even helped clean other people’s rooms. (My work area is sometimes a "creative mess," but that’s an exception.)
New lookIt’s vital not to get overwhelmed and only tackle little things. So these smaller tasks were perfect… for small happiness boosts and getting energized.

Regardless, over the weekend, I’ve decided to move my room’s entire content into my mom’s room for a day, move around all my furniture keeping nothing in its old place, then throw away everything that seemed like junk and only keep/take back the essentials.
It gave me a concrete thing to focus on. Being surrounded by disorder makes me feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and depressed, and straightening things up even a little bit makes me feel more in control.
While it may sound as a distraction and some people did call it (including myself at one point before realizing it really wasn’t) distraction because of the immensity of the task I’ve taken on, I (now) simply call it clearing out and letting go.

While I was tackling all this, throwing away boxes and bags of stuff I’ve found I could live without, and some of which I wondered why in the world I’ve kept for so long, stuff which I most certainly won’t need ever again, my mind was in a different place entirely.

I took pictures of that advent calendar hanging on the wall covering a huge hole where I tried to once hammer a nail after we moved into this house fourteen years ago. I took pictures of the vase and of the plastic flowers my friend and I painted more than ten years ago before she moved away. I took pictures of the pretty colorful striped flower pot I broke, then glued back together when I accidentally knocked it over last year.
I took pictures of a lot of things I won’t ever admit to having held on to for this long.
Then I threw them all out.

And at the same time of clearing all the clutter my room once held, I somehow managed to clear my mind.
Although emotional crap isn’t as easy to let go of, nor to overcome in just one weekend, and while I know this is far from over – as I let go of many things I’ve collected over the years, I could more easily let go of the clutter I had going on in my mind as well.
I “took pictures”, then I threw them all out…

The result? My room looks brand new, incomparable to its old layout and infinitely better.
I don’t feel like I can’t breathe anymore. I have a wonderful new writing space!
And most importantly, I don’t feel like I can’t think anymore.

I think choosing to clear some clutter, letting go – both physically and metaphorically – is the best way to start a new chapter!


So, any of you in the mood for de-cluttering after reading this? Do you find yourself doing the same when life gets too demanding?


14 Responses to “Clear some clutter, clear your mind”

  1. I have just read this quote and felt it so appropriate to share here at the end of this post –>

    “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go & holding on.” ~ Havelock Ellis

  2. Both my mind and basement are a mess right now. I know exactly what you mean. As my stress has increased all I want to do is throw away or donate things I don’t use and, same as you, create a nice writing space for myself. You are not alone! :)

    • I know what you mean, and that’s just what I did, threw away, donated everything I could.
      Have fun cleaning, and hope you find it useful too. And, I hope to see pictures of said basement and new writing space! :)

  3. Oh, this is very good.. I think, too, that de-cluttering gives us a sense of control when we feel we can’t change other things and it also gives us a sense of accomplishment when maybe we can’t move closer in resolving other issues.

  4. Oh, Estrella! This was so good for me to read, because I’ve been doing similar things, myself! Clutter drives me nuts and does make me stressed, anxious, angry, etc. And most of the clutter in my home right now, is all MINE! Which is something I never thought would be the case. I’ve started taking small steps, too, and it’s already helping. I gave away a bunch of clothes that no longer fit…for way too long, etc.! I’m tackling one room at a time. It really began when we lost our Tiger-Gal. I had to keep busy, physically, to keep the sadness away. Then, I like you, have had some worrisome things going on, and again I turned to cleaning! Thank you, dear friend, for always leaving me the sweetest comments. And I apologize for not always taking the time to stop and leave you some of the same! Hugs to you!

    • Keeping busy is always a good thing, though you may not want to rely on this theory just because I said so, as I personally couldn’t live too long a period without being busy all the time :) (which makes procrastinating so much easier unfortunately…)

      You’re more than welcome for all comments, and don’t even worry about not commenting often over here. I know you read my posts :) (and I know how useful Google Reader is for reading things and not commenting, so much faster)

  5. out with the old, in with the new. Right there with you Estrella. Keep on keepin on.

    [I linked to my micropoem from 1/7/11 – we’re obviously on the same wavelength]
    HUGE hugs!!

  6. I never would have thought of taking photographs to keep, then discarding the actual item. Fabulous idea, Estrella! I agree with you 1000% that physical clutter takes a huge toll on our lives – physically, emotionally, mentally. I’m glad you have an “uncluttered” space for yourself now. I love you! ♥

    • Well it was time for drastic measures (not really, but since I thought of it, I decided to do it) instead of keeping all these things for another number of years and have them take up space. The result is far from perfect of course, but many things got thrown away, donated, etc. and I love the idea that the pictures take up so much less space – which is also virtual space instead of physical space.
      And… same goes for our minds as well.

      Love you too, honey! ♥

  7. Really enjoyed this, I think clearing a cluttered mind is extremely helpful and necessary.


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