4 Ways Clutter Holds Us Hostage

When clutter invades my life, I am always thrown off my game. I’m a little less productive. A little less focused. A little less happy. I will sit down to work only to find myself distracted by how messy my desk is – and what better way to procrastinate than a little workspace organization?

Or sometimes I will really want to do something – like relax with a book or do some journaling, and find myself unable to do so, because there is too much mess to tackle. The laundry has piled up again, the sink is full of dishes again, the table is topped with bills and random knick-knacks that have no place again.

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I realize, as the clutter grows like a weed snaking its way through my house, that having my space overtaken by things that don’t belong does more than just make my home a mess. The excess stuff that is bursting through the seams (and onto my countertops) takes me hostage and seriously holds me back from enjoying multiple areas of my life.


When stuff starts to pile up around the house and become permanently displaced, the first thing to suffer is my physical space. No one likes to dodge dirty laundry when making their way from their bed to the bathroom, or shove aside junk mail on the dining room table just to clear some room for eating. Living in cramped quarters because you can’t seem to find a place for everything is a major sign that it’s time for some decluttering.

TIP: Set aside a special donation box that is easily accessible, so whenever you find an item you’re ready to donate you can drop it in the box. Once it’s full, make a quick trip to drop off your donation instead of trying to remember all the things you’ve been meaning to get rid of.


Having an invasion of unwanted paperwork looming on my desk isn’t just an eyesore, it’s a brain-suck too. Clutter takes a mental toll, especially as all the tidying tasks start to pile up in my head alongside all the actual work I need to get done. A busy workspace makes it harder to focus, and having trouble finding things is a whole different distraction. Getting my mise en place would give me some much needed mental relief.

TIP: Don’t wait until it’s time to work to do some organization (aka procrastination). Set aside some pre-work cleanup time so when it’s time to get down to business your mind and desk are clear.


Some people aren’t bothered by a messy house. I am not one of those people. Having a less than clean home amps up my anxiety and fills me with general malaise. I want my space to feel like a retreat – a place I want to be, rather than simply becoming a cleaning job I’m constantly dreading. Keeping up with my clutter gives me a visually calmer environment that helps put me at ease.

TIP: Make one surface in your home a clutter-free zone. Designate your dining room table for eating only or make sure a certain countertop is a no-go for leaving keys and unsorted mail.


Not all clutter is physical. All too often, I litter my mind and spirit with my excessive media consumption. When I’m mindlessly clicking on articles or watching really bad reality television, I tend to lose sight of my spiritual priorities. I’m not growing. My heart isn’t focused on empathy or kindness. It gives me a negatively skewed view of the world and those around me – and usually puts my focus on the worst the world has to offer. Cutting back on the junk I allow into my spiritual life is a necessary act of decluttering also.

TIP: Set limits on the amount of time you spend consuming media and be more mindful of what you’re allowing into your heart and mind. Another major plus? Less time wasted in an internet black hole means more time for decluttering the rest of you life.

Originally published on Apr 5, 2017.

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