Recently my son and his family moved from the Philadelphia suburbs back into the city. As we got the last of their stuff into the apartment, Eli looked around at the chaotic mess of boxes and stuff filling up the living room. With a slight panic tone in his voice, he said he needed to get everything in order as soon as possible. So, even though he was tired, he got right to work. A short while later he says, “Mom, I’m just like you. I need to have everything in order and in its place”. My comment back to him was, “Yes, and you’re also a Capricorn”. If you know any Capricorns, you may have noticed that they like order.
Later that day while driving home, I thought about his comment. Yes, he is a lot like his mom, but there’s another reason for his need for order and why clutter affects him the way it does. He’s very intuitive like me and sensitive to the flow of chi (energy) in his space. If chi can’t move easily through a space, the effect on us can be negative, even if you don’t think of yourself as intuitive.
It makes no difference if the clutter is on our desk, kitchen counter or in your closet. All that excess stuff in your surroundings can have negative consequences on your ability to focus, be creative and process information.
A group of neuroscientists at Princeton University in 2011 found when they examined and compared people’s performance in a well organized environment versus a disorganized one, the results showed that the clutter competed for their attention. The result, a decrease in performance along with increased stress.
Clutter isn’t just physical stuff. It’s found in your computer files, notifications that there’s email in your inbox, also Facebook, Twitter and anything that dings for your attention throughout the day. This creates a digital clutter that eats away at your ability to focus and perform creative tasks. All those “bells & whistles” distract your brain from fully allowing your creative juices to flow.
Clutter comes in all shapes and sizes and more. For example sounds, that mass of computer files on your desk top, or the dings you hear every time an email or text message arrives. It all comes down to one thing, the flow of chi in your surroundings as well as in your body. We are all intuitive whether you realize it or not and the flow of chi, or lack of it, does have an effect on us. How much that affect is on each and every one of us does very. But you may not realize how much until you make some changes.
I invite you to try these tips on your environment.
Then see and feel what altering the flow of chi has on you.
1. De-clutter: Take 5-10 minutes a day or a few times a week to clear the stuff on your desk or work space. You know that saying by Benjamin Franklin: “A place for everything, everything in its place”.” Figure out those places and use them. Putting it off until later usually doesn’t work. Right? Three weeks later you can’t find it because you didn’t put it away!
2. Control your impulses to buy things (including apps) unless you absolutely need to use it right now…not maybe next week or maybe next month.
3. Clean up computer files daily, weekly or somewhere in between. What ever works best for you. I only have seven folders on my desktop. Everything goes into one of those files. I have a few folders within those seven and that’s it. About once every few months I do a quick look to see if there’s anything I don’t need or forgot I had. It couldn’t have been very important if I forgot all about it. So, it goes right in the trash bin. I’ve never missed anything I’ve deleted.
Story-time.…A few years ago I was watching my cousin look for a saved photo for me on his computer. The entire desktop was one huge mass of file folders and documents. It made me dizzy just looking at it. Needless to say, he had a hard time finding what he was looking for and he got very frustrated in the process.
4. Stand at the door way of your office or workspace and close your eyes. Ask yourself, how does this space feel? If the room you’re in is cluttered, you may not feel so good about it. Clutter = Stuck chi = stuck mind/body/spirit. It’s just that simple. So, like your desk, take baby steps to clean out the clutter. Start small with a drawer, closet or corner. Give yourself just 10 mins. to de-clutter, stop, clean up and then notice how you feel. Lighter? Make the time to do this until it looks so fabulous you’ll want to take a photo. (I would love to see before/after shots!)
5. As you de-clutter, ask yourself these questions to help you in the deciding process…Do I love the object and/or use it? Then keep it. If not, it goes in a box to be donated or tossed out. Anything broken? Fix it a.s.a.p or toss it. If you can’t decide on an item, put it in a box with other undecided items, tape it up and date it. Put it away in the attic, basement or where ever you won’t see it everyday. If in six months or a year you haven’t gone looking for that box, out it goes.
***Be careful…if you say to yourself, “but I might need….some day”. That some day is now, let it go. If you say, “but my grandmother/aunt Tilly/etc. gave it to me, so I have to keep it even though I don’t like it or use it”. Let it go. All this inner talk isn’t clearing or freeing and that’s what you want.
There is so much more I could share with you about de-cluttering and reorganizing your space, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. However, I would like you to try one more thing. After all the de-cluttering is under control and you’ve gotten your environment looking and feeling good, stand at the doorway and say a blessing, a prayer or set an intention for what it is you would like to be better in your life. It could be in any area, your career, relationships, family, etc. etc. Write down those words and put them where you’ll see them everyday.
For example: “I turn my can’ts into cans and my dreams into plans.”
The intention you set for yourself is the most powerful act you can make in achieving and reaching your goals.