Cleaning out the clutter

Clutter of all sorts can be distracting and stressful without your being fully aware of it.

by Sue Meyn — 

Have you ever had that anxious feeling when you just could not look at the clutter in your closet one more day? The resistance may be strong initially, but then the urge to clean takes over you. It must be taken care of immediately!

It feels so good to give away those pants that don’t fit anymore and the blouse someone gave you, but you never really liked. Simple steps like picking up shoes off the floor and eliminating extra hangers make a big difference when it comes to neatness. It is always a relief when the task is complete and the Goodwill bag is ready for drop-off.

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, is an excellent book geared toward increasing your creativity and aliveness (yes, they go together). One of the tasks in her book is to literally clean out a closet. Pair up cleaning the closet with the belief that you are cleaning out your mind as well. It is fascinating how they work together. I am always more focused and get more work done after clearing some space.

Clutter of all sorts can be distracting and stressful without your being fully aware of it. After cleaning out the closet, notice how much more relaxed and at ease you feel. But you can also collect clutter in your head, like those commercial jingles that repeat over and over.

Or you might dwell on a comment made by a coworker the day before or you may find yourself worrying about something as inane as a character on a soap opera. So there must be a way to deal with mental clutter.

One way mental clutter can be managed is in a journal. Just pull out your pen and begin the clean sweep. Dump anything that is in the way of your being present, happy and alive. You can write for as little as five minutes or, as Cameron suggests, for three pages. She suggests “morning pages” as a daily ritual to help clear away a lot of internal clutter. It isn’t important to read what you have written, at least not at first. That would be like going through the bags left for the Goodwill. Just enjoy the clearing process. If three pages seem like too much, then go with five minutes when you can. Taking action and owning your power are what is really important.

I hope you will take the time to clear and clean the closets of your house and your mind. Let me know how it works for you.


Sue Meyn, L.P.C., has been part of the counseling field for 30 years. She facilitates groups for The Wellness Community, an organization that supports cancer patients., or 480-945-9180.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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