In Get Organized, Life Management, Time Management, Tips and Tools

“Clutter is anything you own, possess, or do
that does not enhance your life on a regular basis.” 

–Kathy Paauw

Next week is National Clutter Awareness Week.  In preparation for that, here’s something to think about. Clutter is not just something in your physical environment.  Clutter takes many forms and often it is camouflaged to the point that you may not even recognize it as clutter. If you think you have a clutter-free life, think again.  Here are several places that clutter likes to hide!

Your Schedule/activities: Do you have too many things on your “to do” list?  Remember that every time you say “yes” to someone or something, you are saying “no” to someone or something else.  Since you cannot possibly do it all, focus on what’s most important.  Have you said yes to activities that no longer enhance your life if you choose to continue doing them?

Your “I’ll do it later” List: What have you been putting off that is important to you?  Some things are worth taking action on immediately, and some things are worth scheduling so they are not done at the last minute when you’re under pressure, or not done at all.

Your E-mail Inbox: Do you have an inbox with several thousand email messages in there?  If so, this is not a very efficient way to manage your electronic information. Clutter in your Inbox will deplete your energy, and you’ll waste time looking for information.

Your Thoughts: If you are on mind overload, perhaps it is time to clear your head.  I offer a tool to assist you with this.  I call it a RAM Dump.  Click here for instructions on how to do a RAM Dump and what to do with everything once you’ve “dumped” your thoughts on paper.

Your Storage: What are you storing in your garage or attic or in off-sight storage? Are these things you love and use?  Do they enhance your life on a regular basis?  If they disappeared would you miss them?  Do you even remember what is in there?

Your Past: Do you have books on subjects that are out-of-date or that you are no longer interested in?  Do you have your grandmother’s heirlooms decorating your home. things you don’t even like?  Do you have photos around of an Ex whom you’d rather forget?  Clear this clutter from your environment and notice how your energy changes.

Your Current Relationships: Are there people in your life who drain your energy?  What is it costing you?  What do you have invested in staying in relationship with these people?  Perhaps some of those energy drainers are close family members.  How can you take care of yourself when you are around them?

Be ruthless when it comes to de-cluttering.  If it is in your environment, your schedule, or your thoughts, it will still be affecting you until you get rid of it!

Next week, I’ll provide you with ideas about how to de-clutter any space.



It arose one morning from the bowels of my desk, a formless mass that spread and covered itself over anything I was looking for. “Who are you?” I asked.

“I am Clutter,” the mass answered, “and I am here to confound your life. I am the things you refuse to throw out though you haven’t used them in six years, the miscellaneous papers, phone numbers, business cards, and chatckas you accumulate and don’t put away. I am the inevitable manifestation of your sloppiness. I am Clutter.”

I grabbed Clutter and moved it from one end of the desk to the other. Clutter chortled. That’s my favorite pastime. Moving from one end of the desk to the other. “What do you want?” I asked.

“To frustrate you. I will resist all attempts to remove me, reduce me, or otherwise eliminate me. It’s my purpose to hide whatever important piece of paper you need, whichever phone number you must call.”

“I’m throwing you out,” I stormed. Clutter shook his untidy mass sadly, as in pity.

“Not without looking me through me to see if there’s anything you really need,” Clutter answered. “The odds are slim, but you won’t take that chance. And while you’re sorting through me, I’ll re-form in another pile.”

“But you’ll be smaller, more manageable.”

“Not really. You’ll decide to keep 90% of me, as you always do. And soon, new papers, numbers, documents will gather, making me more obstructive than ever.”

“You won’t ruin my life, Clutter! I’ll start a filing system! Put bits of you where you belong.” Clutter gazed at me contemptuously.

“The last time you tried that, you created my cousins, Chaos and Disorder. It’ll never work.”

Clutter had me and I knew it. Attempts in the past to file things alphabetically had only created 26 piles of mess instead of one. IHidden Clutter was desperate, so I decided to bluff. “I’ll take a time management course,” I threatened.

Clutter quite rightly ignored my remark. I wasn’t dealing with an idiot, after all. “Then I’ll buy a computer and store you on my floppy disks!”

“And within a month your disk-filing system will be in total disarray, plus you’ll have another pile of papers waiting to be entered onto disks. Face it, you can’t win.

Exasperated, I ran to the closet. “I’m getting some air.”

Clutter had been to the closet before me. Shoes were scattered, shirts were unhung, clumps of pants and underwear lay strewn next to towels and a lawn chair. Socks congealed in small piles, looking like the waste product of some nylon-eating monster. Cliff notes from A Tale of Two Cities lay atop the heater.

“Clutter,” I yelled. “You have crippled my productivity for the last time. No longer will I be late, no more will I miss appointments, never again shall I be overwhelmed by your size and withdraw into reading old magazines. I am going out to the store to buy a paper shredder.”

I looked around for a long moment. “Now where did I leave my keys?”

Clutter burped.

Click here to access my free report, 7 Strategies to Overcome Overwhelm.


Did you like this article, Hidden Clutter? What type of non-physical clutter did you most relate to? Please comment below.

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