Why Clearing Your Clutter Doesn't Work and What To Do About It : Imagineering Notes
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Why Clearing Your Clutter Doesn't Work and What To Do About It

by Ginni Stiles on 07/13/13

So many of us live with clutter in our lives: on our desks, in our closets, drawers, cabinets, on our computers... We live in an almost constant state of overwhelm. Well, I've been helping people clear their clutter for ten years now and I have come to an upsetting realization: Clearing clutter doesn't work. I've realized something profound about the nature of clutter - something that will allow you to live without it for the rest of your life - and I'm going to explain it to you.

I've loved helping people clear off their messy desks, purge their overstuffed closets, clean out their pantry cupboards... the list goes on. We spend a few hours, attack the problem area, get it all edited and organized, find responsible outlets for the discards (sale, gift, donation, recycling, trash), and step back with satisfaction to appreciate a job well done. It's rewarding work. Clearing clutter releases trapped energy, so both my client and I often feel rejuvenated more than exhausted at the end of the work. So what's wrong? Why do I think clearing clutter doesn't work?

Because it keeps coming back!

Here's Sue's story...

Sue is not happy. Her job stresses her out. The people there annoy her and she doesn't feel respected. She isn't interested in or challenged by what she does there anymore. She doesn't dare leave her job though, because it feels secure. She is divorced and has been seeing her current boyfriend for two years but she isn't sure where that is going. She would like things to move forward and start living together, but they seem to be in a holding pattern. She's been carrying around an extra 20 pounds for about 10 years now and her weight is slowly climbing.

Sue struggles with anxiety and depression. She often feels guilty about what she eats, but she is usually so rushed that she can't manage to eat healthier, or she just wants to eat something yummy at the end of a hard day so she scarfs out on really bad (but delicious!) treats. She likes to get together with her friends for happy hour after work. They have a really good time and she feels like she can totally relax and enjoy herself when they are out drinking and laughing. Her problems disappear for a little while.

Her house always feels messy and out of control. She usually has at least one load of clean (maybe even folded) laundry that needs to be put away, but the closet and dresser are so crammed that it's hard to find places to put it all. She has a spare bedroom that she uses an an office, but she doesn't go in there all that often because her desk is piled with papers: unopened mail, papers that need to have something done with them, stuff that just needs to get filed, receipts, and somewhere in there is that name change document from her divorce that she needs in order to straighten out her electricity account, but she can't find it.

Sue wants to lose weight. She wants to go to the gym regularly after work but she never seems to find the time. She wants her house to be clean, but she can't seem to stay ahead of all the work. She wants to have a neat desk and an office she can use, but there's so much to be done in there and it feels too overwhelming to even start.

Sue finally decides that she will work with a professional organizer and calls me to come out one Saturday and clean up her office with her. We work for about three hours and we get her desk totally cleaned off, her papers filed, and the things she has to do are left in a nice neat pile on one side. Even the name change document surfaces! She feels great about her office and is looking forward to staying on top of her papers from here on.

But it doesn't work out that way. Six weeks later, her desk look worse than it did before she worked with me. She still hasn't sent the name change document in to the electric company and now she isn't sure where it is again. She is embarrassed and ashamed to let her boyfriend see what happened to her desk after she hired me to come help her. She doesn't tell him, but she has me come out again and we get her desk cleared off again and she tells him that she did it herself. Ugh.

What went wrong? I made a big mistake when I helped Sue. I worked with her on her clutter – and her clutter was not the problem!

Here is what I've realized about clutter:

Clutter Is the Mess Your Mind Makes.

Clutter is like the wake that a boat makes in the water.
The rush of your life out of control is like the speeding boat that leaves the wake behind it.

Clutter is like a huge pimple on your face.
The confusion in your mind is like the cheese fries that gave you the pimple.

Clutter is like the flies that swarm around a pile of garbage.
The constant state of chaos and overwhelm that you live with every day of your life is like the pile of garbage that keeps growing, rotting, and attracting flies.

The mistake I made when I tried to help Sue (actually, Sue is not one real person - she is many real people) was that we worked on her clutter and not her mind.

The secret to ending clutter in you life
is to end the chaos, confusion, and overwhelm
that leave clutter in its path.

If you can successfully master your life so that you are living consciously in each moment, you never build up the back log of deferred decisions that become clutter. You truly live clutter-free. If you don't master you mind, you are forced to react to solve the problems that have mounted because you didn't deal with the issues when they first arose. Your life quickly starts to pile up over you, ahead of you, on top of you.

Now I work in a completely new way with people who are ready to master their lives and end clutter forever . I have a new 20-30 minute process that I can apply to anyone's specific situation that helps them get the clarity they need to release clutter from their lives.

The foundation of these techniques is based on these three things:
- A specific realization that brings total clarity to your situation
- A new mindset that helps you feel differently and stay completely in control of your life
- That realization and the new mindset, together work to help you consistently be organized, feel calm, and totally master your life!

People who live clutter-free have peaceful minds, better connections in their relationships, better health, and satisfaction in their life's path. The alternative is an unending treadmill of letting papers and other “stuff” pile up, having it drive you crazy, then spending hours struggling to purge and sort all the old business that wasn't dealt with at the time it entered your life.

I hope that this insight I have shared with you will kick-start you into a completely new way of living.

If you want to work with me on clearing up you mind (and let your desk keep itself clear from now on), then schedule a complimentary Clutter Release Conversation with me. We'll identify your challenges and literally change you way of living in less than 30 minutes. (And I'm happy to record the call, because really great ideas will come up, and you can have the MP3 to keep.)

Let me know if ending clutter and being organized for the rest of your life is something you'd like to do. Click this link to reserve a time right now. 

Talk soon,

Ginni Stiles
Life Designer

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