It happens to all of us. Things pile up around us. We carry more and more papers with us. The feeling that I need this or that continually pesters us. More to do. Moving fast. The clutter slowly builds.
There is little time to sort through it. A disorganized office or desk was a badge of honor. For I felt that the work I was doing was too important to waste time on clean up. My most creative work seemed to occur when I was least organized. Or so I thought.
Pick your location. Your garage. A basement. The kitchen. A closet. There are far more areas where clutter collects than simply an office or your work space at home. We all have a “junk drawer”. Why there is even the physical law of entropy that states that all physical systems go from a state of order to a state of disorder. So it appears that clutter is normal.
What happens though when clutter begins to disappear? Magic happens. The feeling of being overwhelmed vanishes. Grabbing hold of your surroundings brings with it a sense of control that was missing. Most importantly, slowly a clarity emerges around what is important and what is not.
Moving towards zero clutter is not an exercise in perfection but rather a triaging event that save us from ourselves. Helping us find a meaningful path amongst the many weeds sown by busyness. By clearing the way so we can begin to see what is more important and impactful.
But clutter doesn’t go away easily. It’s the result of who we are, how we think and work. So for there to be less clutter going forward in our life, we need to change in some way. What was missing for me was an understanding of what to do or where to first put things that ended up being clutter. As well as stopping more often to “gather myself” while clearing the clutter around me.
Clutter can be overwhelming. So can the thought of zero clutter. Both can be oppresive even though they are made up of inanimate things. That show no emotion nor bias.
None of us can achieve zero clutter for very long. But understanding how clutter can degrade our performance is critical to taking care of it when it first appears. By managing its presence from spreading quickly, so that we don’t get discouraged by everything we still need to get done.