Clutter: To run in disorder; to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness
Chaos: A state of utter confusion; a confused mass or mixture
Do you ever feel that there is just too much stuff in your life?
Do you feel disorganized, or overwhelmed or that you could be more effective than you are?
Well, you are not alone.
Clutter creates chaos, which leads to confusion.
It is amazing what people will live in, or create. In the TV show Designed to Sell, a real estate expert reviews properties to maximize their selling potential. Each room in the house is usually floor-to-ceiling-full of stuff. At first, individuals protect their clutter because there could be something of value in there, even though they have ignored it for several years.
In every case, the expert recommends “de-cluttering.” Once the chaos is reduced, the homes take on new appeal.
Why don’t we tidy up—whether or not we are selling our home? Maybe we don’t acknowledge that clutter reduces our enjoyment and effectiveness.
You might argue that clutter does not have a negative effect on you, but let me challenge that thought.
Imagine you are going to see your doctor, dentist, or medical specialist. His or her office is clean but cluttered with files and instruments that reflect a state of general chaos. What is your confidence level for that professional? Not very high, right?
Or you are flying away on vacation and notice the pilot is dressed shabbily and his papers are in disarray when he pulls them from his case. Do you feel confident he will be a good pilot?
In the outside world, we view order as a sign of competence, so we need to establish this expectation of order in ourselves. Being organized will make you feel more together and capable.
Now comes your challenge. How can you de-clutter your life?
These examples are from the past several years of my life.
- After 3 truckloads of stuff when we moved the CRG office it was apparent we needed to reduce our clutter. We needed to get rid of old chairs, computer parts that were stuffed in drawers, files with no current purpose, and old inventory that would never be sold.
- During a recent vacation, when purchasing new attire, I recalled the words of an organizational specialist. His de-clutter rule is do not bring anything into your living space until you remove something first. So that new outfit requires getting rid of a current one in your closet. There will be some exceptions, but what about all those clothes you have not worn for years? Others in need could use them more than your closet.
- If you have a storage unit or area, when was the last time you looked at what is in there? If something does not have a current application, get rid of it! Garages can quickly become dump sites.
- We cut down two trees a few summers ago that were overgrown and cluttering our yard. The new openness and space is refreshing.
- Let go of the past to allow the future into your life. Several years ago, I had placed some of my college t-shirts and jackets in storage. I have had to struggle with myself to let them go. Quite frankly, when I am 80, who will want them? I never looked at them unless I was re-loading storage boxes.
- What about magazines that are 6 months old or older? Create a file for storing pages of articles you will need for a project—otherwise get rid of them. In the online world, storage is virtual, you can use the cloud instead of your desk to keep important research.
- Do you have old books about topics where new information now makes the books’ information outdated, like computers or health? Do you really need a 10-year-old book on Windows 98?
- Last year I went through my library which had over 600 books and almost 100 audio albums. Hey when was the last time I played a cassette or even a CD-ROM. I threw 90% out of them and felt the clutter and chaos feeling lift.
- What’s the other side of the chaos coin? Remove all obligations or responsibilities that contribute to confusion or mental clutter for you.
So what about you?
Do you have personal or work space that needs to be de-cluttered?
Have you cluttered your life with more obligations than you feel comfortable handling?
I have learned how to say No to multiple volunteer opportunities so that I can focus on a couple, and do them well—without contributing overwhelming stress to my life.
Though it won’t tell you what you need to de-clutter, the VPI will assist you in making the right decisions and the SIHP will help you confirm your level of stress and where chaos is contributing to your stress levels.
Do not underestimate the benefit of de-cluttering and reducing the chaos in your life. When I loaded two bags full of my old clothes and took a trunk-full of odds and ends from our garage, and took the time to clean up my office library I was euphoric! Don’t delay. Start right now!
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!
Ken Keis, Ph.D, President of CRG, is considered a global authority on the way assessment strategies increase and multiply your success rate. In 26 years, he has conducted over 3,000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. He is the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? – Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of the brand-new book Deliberate Leadership – Creating Success Through Personal Style. He has also co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and written over 400 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations to realize their full potential, and to live On Purpose! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.crgleader.com to learn how we might be able to serve you.