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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Do You Savor or Squander the Valuable Time You Have? | What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v15 »

How to Use This Mindfulness Invitation to Better See Your Clutter

Are you at the point where you have clutter in your life, but you no longer see it? Have you become clutter blind? Yet even though you may not notice the clutter, you can feel its weight and burden. There's a nagging sense that your "stuff" needs to be decided on and edited, but just not yet. Clutter decisions are on your "someday" list.

With one of the guided mindfulness practices that I do, Jon Kabat-Zinn explains that the meditation can be done in a seated or lying down position. Some intentions for mindfulness meditation are to remain aware, alert, and awake. Kabat-Zinn cautions that one of the potential downsides of meditating while lying down is that you can easily fall asleep. To encourage our awareness, he invites us to "fall awake."

With this idea in mind, I invite you to "fall awake" too. Instead of postponing decisions and remaining clutter blind, engage in curiosity accompanied by action. Notice your clutter. What do you see? How does it make you feel? What would life look and feel like if you had fewer piles, closets with breathing room, and clearer pathways. What would it be like to have just enough, no more and no less?

Having recently made progress on a few cluttered spots in my life including my thoughts, garden, underwear drawer, and some areas in my mom’s home, it was wonderful to prune, clear, and let go of some non-essentials. I feel wonderfully lighter and less burdened.

Facing our clutter is a process. It begins with noticing and with being aware. Take one small step. Remove your blinders. Let that lead you forward.

Have you or someone you know experienced clutter blindness?  What have you noticed? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (11)

I love your idea of falling awake and of having no more or less than is necessary. These are great concepts. I think these are easy to understand intellectually but hard to put into practice emotionally. If we can place our emotions on hold and look at our things without the blinders of our emotions then I think we can more easily cut the clutter and be content.

May 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

When we moved here (and possibly in our previous home) we had a lot of photo albums in a bookcase in the living room. A few months ago, we had to remove everything to get our new flooring installed. When it was time to put it all back, I decided that the photo albums looked cluttered, and put them in a bookcase in a less frequently used room instead, freeing up space in the living room for more attractive items. I couldn't believe what a difference it made, and how long I'd looked at that clutter (well over 10 years) without even seeing it.

May 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Great reminder to fall awake! Clutter that hangs around the home is so easy to forget about. Humans are habitual people so awakening yourself often is perfect. I recommend doing this once a season in different areas of the home and especially when they feel busy and overworked.

May 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

Wow - "falling awake" is a powerful image. I love the relaxed nature of this expression, as opposed to forcing yourself to take a difficult action. Mindfulness is more of a leaning in... a way to relax into seeing things that hurry and stress and pressure often keep us from seeing. We often become blind to things we see every day, even if they are undesirable. I love that you mention the underwear drawer; it seems like a small thing, but it is the insignificant spaces we touch every day that can have the biggest impact on our state of mind!

May 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Wonderful to hear all of you voices! I hope you're enjoying the holiday.

@Diane- You bring up an important point...that our emotions are often tied to making decisions about our things. When emotions play a strong role, it can be helpful to enlist the help of a trusted friend, family member or professional. As a professional organizer, I am sure you are often in that position to sensitively help your clients sort through their belongings even when they have strong emotional attachments.

@Janet- What a great example of clutter blindness...and a great solution that you came up with too. It's funny, but I too recently moved photo albums that were crowding a living room cabinet into another room. Now the albums have proper breathing space and can be better enjoyed.

@Sabrina- I love your idea of "awakening yourself" each season...kind of a like giving yourself a personal home assessment. Life IS busy and it can be so much easier to ignore things than to take a fresh look at what's going on. Clutter has a way of collecting and overstaying its welcome. But it also becomes ignorable. Falling awake changes that.

@Seana- There is something so inviting about the "falling awake" you said it's more relaxed and engaging, rather than forceful. Being mindful encourages us to be aware of the present, to pause to notice, to see and feel and hear what we might otherwise miss. So yes...that underwear drawer is a small space and seemingly insignificant. Yet it's one that I "touch every day." Doing that small decluttering work made opening the drawer so much more pleasing. I am enjoying this clutter-less, stress-free drawer.

May 29, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

My VERY FIRST clients (sisters sharing an apartment) suffered from clutter blindness, which I hadn't yet realized was a thing. We were going around their place discussing problem areas. On one wall was a sideboard that, when I asked about it, they said there was no problem. I looked again, hesitated, then asked, "But what about all the clutter?" They looked at the sideboard, then at me, then at each other. Then we all burst out laughing! They truly had not seen the clutter until I pointed it out!

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHazel Thornton

@Hazel- What a great story and illustration of clutter blindness. I love how you were all able to see the humor in the situation too.

May 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I was just discussing clutter blindness at a presentation this week! Using mindfulness in this way is a great suggestion!

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Haworth

@Nancy- What a funny coincidence. I'm glad that you like the mindfulness/clutter blindness suggestion.

May 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I like your reminder to take off the blinders. Recently we celebrated my son's birthday and I took pictures at the party. It was eye opening to see some areas of my space that needed some fine tuning through the lens.

May 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Soboleski

@Sarah- Happy birthday to your son! What an interesting discovery you made about seeing differently through your lens. Wishing you all the best as you fine-tune your space. And now that you have your photos in hand, you have your visual guide.

May 15, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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