Spirited Communication

Tag: clutter

Reducing Emotional and/or Spiritual Clutter

Emotional and/or spiritual clutter isn't as apparent as physical clutter, but they can be even more harmful.

Emotional and/or spiritual clutter isn’t as apparent as physical clutter, but it can be even more harmful.

I shared seven tips for reducing physical clutter in my previous post. As I said in that post, it is easier to hide clutter when it is emotional or spiritual in nature. It also is a more complex matter than is reducing physical clutter such as straightening a closet or desktop.

Physical clutter is an undeniable reality to most of us. Even hoarders can be convinced that their chosen lifestyle needs to change.

That isn’t necessarily the case with people experiencing emotional or spiritual clutter. Emotional and spiritual clutter can lead to negative and damaging behavioral choices, but it isn’t always clear that someone’s struggles are rooted in emotional or spiritual clutter.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, clutter is “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.”

Emotional and spiritual clutter can impede movement or reduce effectiveness of one’s career or entire life. Think about friends or coworkers you have known over the years who seemed to “sabotage” relationships or jobs. They may have had an overabundance of emotional clutter that overwhelmed them and led to their acting irrationally or inappropriately.

Don’t get me wrong: I know that we all are emotional beings, and can have a momentary emotional “meltdown.” I’ve had plenty of them! I’m suggesting that we all gauge our level of emotional clutter, through self-examination and feedback from trusted individuals such as friends, family, or a counselor. We want to look at the possibility that we are impeding our growth and effectiveness because of emotional clutter.

Spiritual clutter is more difficult to discuss here, because my audience includes people who identify as Atheist, Evangelical Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Humanist, Wicca, Agnostic and Whatever They Read This Week.

Someone who doesn’t have or accept spiritual beliefs won’t see the need to remove spiritual clutter from their lives. Most of us, however, have considered questions such as,

  • “Where did all matter come from?”
  • “Do we have a spirit, a soul, an essence that continues after our bodies die?”
  • “Is there one or more divine beings that created and rule the universe?”
  • “Why do evil, death and decay exist—and can they be reversed or eliminated?”

Spiritual clutter occurs when someone allows their thoughts and minds to be filled with scattered thoughts that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.” To me, that would include people who spend way too much time reading, talking and thinking about the many religions and belief systems known to mankind–without ever weeding out those that don’t make sense, or demand belief without evidence of believability.

As a Christian, I believe that God is manifested in three equal, distinct parts—one of which is a Spirit. I believe that the Spirit indwells believers and can provide guidance and understanding. No, I do not have scientific evidence that this is true. I say it to show why some people seem to be able to cut through the clutter of spiritual questions. We have help.

Consider reducing your spiritual clutter by taking time to list out your beliefs, and stop investigating religions or belief systems that don’t bring you a sense of peace, or that just don’t make sense.


7 Tips To Reduce Physical Clutter

In my previous post, I suggested that we look for ways to remove clutter from our lives. That clutter could be physical, emotional, spiritual, or some combination of them all.

Knowing that this will be easier said than done for some of us, I’m allocating the next couple of posts to specific tips for reducing clutter.

Today, let’s take a look at physical clutter.

We may be able to hide emotional and spiritual clutter from people around us, but physical clutter tends to stand out. Unless we keep people away from our desk and surrounding office space, closets, garage and basement storage area, we WILL be found out.

A close family member and his spouse continue to rebuff my suggestions that they invite me to visit with them at their home. He is clear about the reason: they have too much “stuff” scattered throughout their home, and he doesn’t want to:

  • Clean and organize it
  • Deal with the reaction of visitors like me, if we would see the “mess.”

When I point my finger at my relative, I absolutely have three fingers pointed back at me. My wife and kids have commented several times regarding the number of boxes and bags that I have filled with notes and reference material for books and other projects that have not yet been completed (or started, in many cases).
Here are tips that I’ve found helpful, as I’ve begun to remove physical clutter from my home and workplace:

  1. Admit that you have a clutter problem. Because most people don’t spend time seeking out individuals who might require an intervention from a clutter issue, face reality if more than one person comments about the clutter in your workplace, car or home. Accept that your clutter is particularly noticeable—and that you probably could benefit from reducing it.Ask yourself: ”Would I feel less stressed and more efficient if I were to reduce the clutter in my life?”
  2. Get help—from an “accountability buddy.” At a minimum, you will achieve more if you ask someone to serve as an objective voice of reason and accountability. As you begin to decide what to keep and remove, this buddy will keep you focused and help with difficult decisions. The accountability buddy also will provide encouragement as you achieve small successes that you might not otherwise consider worth celebrating.
  3. Take it one step, one closet, one box at a time. I began my decluttering project recently by emptying one of the many bags that I have stored in my home office and basement storage area. I put aside a few items that were important and useful, threw away or shred many documents that were unnecessary, and made digital memories of items that I want to remember, but don’t need to keep.
  4. Digitize! I have accumulated a great number of trophies, certificates and knickknacks from my participation in professional organizations including Toastmasters and the International Association of Business Communicators—as well as from work-related conferences, workshops and promotional events. I’ve begun to scan the documents that I want to remember (drawings made by my kids when they were preteens are particularly valuable to me). I use my iPhone or a digital camera to photograph bulky items such as trophies. Then I either find a place that accepts those items (like the Nationwide Trophy Recycling Program), or I dispose of them.
  5. Donate. In addition to old trophies, look at other items to donate to worthy causes.
  6. Organize. Once you have cleared a shelf, a closet or a desktop, only put back items that are necessary, and be intentional about how you use that space, so that you aren’t tempted to put something there that doesn’t maintain the space’s primary purpose.
  7. Repeat. Understand that reducing physical clutter is not a one-time event. It is a daily necessity. Use discretion as you make choices regarding whether to bring new items into your work or living spaces.

Have you used any techniques for reducing physical clutter? I’d love to hear them. Either comment here or send me an email.

Next post: Reducing emotional and spiritual clutter

As Part of ‘Spring Cleaning,’ Remove Clutter

Physical, emotional and spiritual clutter can take a toll on us!

Physical, emotional and spiritual clutter can take a toll on us!

“It’s interesting to see that people had so much clutter even thousands of years ago. The only way to get rid of it all was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up.”
― Karl Pilkington, An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

What would an archeologist dig up 1,000 years from now if he or she found your home or office?

What would a counselor dig up if he or she talked with you about the physical, emotional and/or spiritual “clutter” currently in your life?

Use today as an opportunity to begin to remove clutter from your life.

“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.”
― Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

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