What’s worse than feeling anxious?
There’s a suffocating sense of overwhelm that undoubtedly accompanies any clutter in my life. Whether it’s clutter on my office floor, in my makeup drawer, on my desk or in my mind, the clearest shortcut to stress lies in cluttered space. For me, another biggie is tabs. …Yup, tabs. As in, browser tabs on the internet. Granted, I’ve gotten a whole heckuvah lot better recently than I had been in past lives, but ask anyone who knows me well – it’s not unusual to have at minimum 150+ tabs open at one time (in separate windows, of course). …YUP. Ridiculous. It got to the point where my computer would crash because it just literally couldn’t take the memory space anymore.
My clutter got destructive.
At first, I’d have a quasi-panic attack as all of the open things I thought I desperately needed were lost into cyberspace. Then, I realized it actually felt HELLA GOOD to start fresh, clean, and new. The same kind of cold shock happens when you throw out all of those clothes you haven’t touched since high school (remind me again why they’re still in your closet???), or you clean out the fridge of its expired cheese and pickles from 2012. Same goes when you sever ties with toxic “friends” or let go of past habits. At first, it might feel hard – even anxiety-inducing – to let go and part with the mess. But after…it feels oh so good.
It’s time to…
But I’m not just talkin’ physical mess. While that’s def important to address, the real culprit here is all in your head.
When you have too much going on in your physical world around you, it can manifest itself in your head as a big mumbled jumbled out version of life. Similarly, too much up there can come out in the world around you, leaving you with double the mess. Not controlling the amount of stuff in your brain – not prioritizing or organizing it, and not sifting through the important vs. very much unimportant things – just leaves you with too much.
And that “stuff” becomes mental clutter.
It becomes hard to creatively brainstorm, dream big, imagine possibilities – heck, it becomes hard to think straight, period – when we’re just sucked into a cluttered mental vortex. We’re consumed by mental to-do’s, driven by anxieties, propelled by fears of failure or forgetting important things…all instead of being the CEO of our own lives. Ridiculous, amiright??
It becomes a literal swirling hodge podge of nutso in our heads and on our hearts that just leads to stress and anxiety and worry and exhaustion and allllll of those no good very bad symptoms on the fast track to burnout. And ain’t nobody got time for burnout.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re just “busy” when the clutter really points to being unproductive or overworked.
And don’t trick yourself into thinking you HAVE to live a certain way to achieve a certain lifestyle or status. LOOKING busy doesn’t mean you’re actually busy, the same way that looking like a million bucks doesn’t mean you HAVE a million bucks. Having a cluttered mind doesn’t mean you’re failing, nor does having a cluttered space mean you’re inherently messy. But it’s important to dig deeper, figure out the underlying cause o’ clutter, and then CLEAR IT OUT to make way for the bigger and better.
Learn to goal-set strategically. Having 34 goals is okay – but it can make yo’ pretty lil’ head swirl. What’s better? Sit down and prioritize effectively. We talked here about the importance of being specific, strategic, and smart with goals: “write a book” isn’t nearly as effective as “Edit chapter 3 and start writing first draft of chapter 4.” Mental organization leads to increased productivity. And as they say, Rome was not built in a day. OCD goal-setting causes clutter. Clear out the clutter.
Learn to worry less. Being reasonably nervous about a big task at hand is normal – and a small bit of stress could be a useful fire under the bum for some. But more often than not, worrying clutters your mind, heart, and spirit with fears about the future that may not come to pass. Worrying about tomorrow’s possible problems robs joy from today. Face what is in front of you today. Don’t clutter your brain with projections and predictions. Worrying causes clutter. Clear out the clutter.
Learn to set aside time to de-clutter. The same way you set aside 10-15 minutes per day to pick up loose ends around the house, wash the dishes, or hang up some clothes in your closet, set aside some time fo’ yo’ brain to get back in shape, too. Sit and think, pray, meditate…whatever it is ya gotta do to get everything back in action working smoothly and refreshed. Not taking time for you causes clutter. Clear out the clutter.
Learn to nix gossip, criticism, and comparison. The trifecta! We live in a world driven by the three – the trinity of toxicity that does nothing but clutter our paths. When was the last time that endlessly scrolling social media left you feeling genuinely uplifted and inspired? Lord knows I WISH that were the case, but more often than not, our Instagram-age leaves us feeling insecure in our own ways. We chatted about it in last night’s #CURation (missed this one? No problemo – never miss one again by signing up here), but no one else’s successes or blessings in any way, shape, or form dampen your own. The scrolling causes comparisons that screw us over from today’s joys if we let them; they cause jealously, self-criticism, and CLUTTER if we forget our own good things and focus on other people’s. Comparisons, criticism, and gossip causes clutter. Clear out the clutter.
When it DOES come to the physical clutter, set clear but realistic goals, then just START already. “Clean out the entire house this Saturday afternoon” is not a goal – it’s a dream. Tackling a massive project like that all at once is likely to just leave you frustrated and exhausted, and you’re better off just watching a Hallmark Christmas Classic and calling it a night. Start small, acknowledging and enjoying your progress one kitchen cabinet at a time before moving on to the next little victory.
What small step can you take this week to clear out the clutter in your own life?
I wanna know. Drop it in a comment below, and let’s vow to inspire and encourage each other on the roads to clutter recovery, aiiiiight? Aiiight!
P.S. A giveaway dropped on the ‘Gram last night – ICYMI, there’s a HELLA good prize pack being raffled off to one lucky lady for fall!
P.P.S. There’s still time to take the fall CUR Reader Survey! Your responses thus far have been GREAT and oh so helpful, so stay tuned for some fun tweaks in the near future to reflect errrrrythang you said!