Clutter affects the environment and energy of your house. What appears as simple overabundance of physical objects triggers energetic and emotional responses.
Often you walk in from the garage, and an automatic to-do list hits your mind. Jackets need to be hung up, dinner made, and laundry sorted. Just once you would like to grab a cold drink and head out to relax on the patio, but distractions beckon. With increasing irritation, you notice the hall filled with shoes thrown off haphazardly, or the bathroom floor covered with scattered towels. You would like to sit down and enjoy a moment of peace on the patio, if the mess would just go away.
Each moment has its share of joy and frustrations, but there are moments in a parent’s life when the aggravation of clutter is overwhelming.
For example, Janie was so preoccupied with finances that she allowed clutter to build in her house, only adding to the stress. When we reorganized her duties, she listed items that accumulated into clutter such as mail, magazines, plastic leftover containers and last season’s footwear.
She resolved to sort, recycle, stack and put away these items.
I cautioned her, however, that clutter sometimes indicates emotional attachment. If the emotion is still present, the clutter will simply reappear. It is a symptom, having an emotional hold on a memory, fear or hope.
Clutter stems from the psychological effects of life lessons.
Perhaps as a child, you learned from your parents to squirrel away the food, dishes, and even your own socks, for the future was uncertain. Perhaps you learned that a bare kitchen meant you lacked the money for basic necessities. Or perhaps the many gifts and trinkets that fill your shelves remind you of how far you’ve come in life. Either could still be true for Janie.
In each case, clutter is a symbol for something both deeper and greater than the items themselves.
For a collection of items to release its emotional hold on you, take five minutes to consider what having those items means to you.
If someone were to take them all away today, how would you feel? What memories would this stir up? Allow yourself to keep these memories, but release the emotional control they have over you.
Simply say, “that was a difficult time in my (or my parents’) life and I’m feeling some anxiety about it. I allow myself to feel anxiety, but it no longer controls how I feel about the present.” Don’t fight your feelings, instead, let them go.
Or, “it reminds me of my grandmother, whom I was extremely close to. Giving it away feels like I don’t care.” Notice your feelings of love for your grandmother and allow them to stay, but let go of the guilt associated with this object.
Once you understand what the clutter in your life symbolizes, it will no longer be a burden.*
How does clutter affect your life? What changes can you make to clear clutter, and clear your mind?
*Another short excerpt from Leigh's forthcoming book. To receive notice of publication, sign up on the blog email list, top right corner of this article. Or follow MetaphysicalLife on facebook