Do you feel overwhelmed by never-ending clutter? Whether it is a cluttered desk, a cluttered closet, for us gals a cluttered purse, or for any of us a cluttered mind…clutter can inundate and engulf us. It seems to slowly creep into our lives without us even realizing what is happening. It becomes apparent at certain times like when we are selling or turning in our lease on a car (and trying to clear our stuff out), or digging around in our big fashionista bag for our keys, or when it is nearing tax time and all the receipts and files you need are in cluttered disarray. You know what I’m talking about...
There are many reasons we collect things. Some of the things we hang onto have sentimental value, others though unused for years, are items we think we will definitely need one day in the future. And who wants to feel silly for just having thrown out something you haven’t used in years or maybe even ever…that a week later you finally need?
It can certainly be a struggle to actually rid ourselves of that clutter. Scientists have even shown that when we let go of something to which we feel attached, the two areas in our brains associated with physical pain actually light up. So that unsettling discomfort when purging these things is real.
But…did you know that it is more detrimental to keep it all? Clutter can have a very negative impact on our brains. It impairs our ability to focus and think cognitively. A study was done at Princeton University in which neuroscientists measured the performance of people in an organized versus an unorganized setting. What they discovered was that the amount of clutter in our surroundings affects our performance because it pulls our attention away from the task at hand. Excess belongings in our environment result in less effective performance and a higher level of induced stress.
The physical clutter surrounding us causes our stress levels to spike as it overloads our senses and distracts our minds. Our ability to think clearly, be creative, and complete projects are dramatically affected by physical clutter.
But clutter doesn’t just come in physical form. The physical is the clearest to see, it is apparent to everyone who walks by your desk, gets in your car, or comes into your home. But it is the mental clutter that has exploded upon us as of late. The Facebook notification, the latest Twitter feed, and our addictive tie to our cell phones is just an example of the mental overload we feel. It is digital clutter and it is everywhere!
When we are mentally overwhelmed by our schedules, the compiled to-do lists we store in our heads, or the relentless pull of social media, our minds are not able to fully engage in the creative flow or the process of synthesizing our thoughts. Our thinking becomes splintered as we try to mentally multi-task. Our brain feels divided and our memory, ability to stay on task, and thought processes suffer. Physical and mental clutter have the same negative impact on our well-being.
In light of all this, what we inherently need and should actively strive for is clarity…
This is my mantra:
Clear the Clutter
Clear the Chaos
Clear the Chatter
When I am designing a space, whether it is an entire home, a kitchen, or even a small workspace at home, I strive to create a clear place for everything. I like to include a built-in space to charge electronics, a drawer with perfectly placed outlets at the vanity for the blow-dryer, curling iron, etc. a cabinet with a pull-out drawer for the coffee pot so it doesn’t clutter the counter, a laundry chute that lands right into the laundry room so no hampers needed, etc. Anything I can think of! The more thought out, the less clutter later.
“Clear the physical clutter and you make room for simplicity and ease.
Clear the mental clutter and your soul makes room for inspiration and joy.” –K.O.
So I invite you to free yourself from the clutter surrounding you, whether it be physical, mental, or even emotional. Clear your mind from all that doesn’t serve your dreams and aspirations. Create the space for newfound happiness.