Getting rid of clutter leads to finding peace within.
Years ago I wrote about being mindful of the interrupting thoughts that come up when you’re doing boring housecleaning jobs like folding laundry or vacuuming and dusting. Using “make the bed” as an example of a boring job, I set my stopwatch and began making it, ready to catch that first mental interruption. Six seconds in, the thought came, ‘there’s pie in the refrigerator.’
In the course of the four-minute job, my mind came up with 17 suggestions of other things to do! Here’s a similar result from Debra Biddle Linn, one of my readers:
Pam, I did the experiment of starting a boring job and seeing how quickly my mind was interrupted by wanting to do something else. I was folding laundry, the whites. I suddenly wanted to go online and find some T-shirts and order them for my husband to replace some of the old holy ones he has. I made myself stop those thoughts and keep going. Then I thought of a trip some friends went on recently, and wanted to go look online and find information about a tour for ourselves. (Stopped that one too). I think it will really help to start becoming aware of how my mind acts when doing routine housework.
Next I started thinking of a Why. Why I want to change. My reason this past year is that I want to get my house in order for when I have grandkids. Hopefully that won't be long from now. I want my daughter to feel good about my grandkids coming over and hopefully even spending the night. I don't want them to think of Grandma's house as one that is always a mess.
Debra Biddle Linn
I’ve found the best trick to staying on task comes from good ol’ Tony Robbins. Choose a disgusting horn noise to make, and make the noise every time you catch yourself with a thought that would pull you away from the job at hand. I found that air horn sound you hear at basketball games works well for me. It’s offensive to my ears and it hurts my throat to do it. That’s all it takes to shut that part of my mind off and it leaves me in peace to finish anything I start.
Knowing, now, how powerful your mind is in sidetracking your focus from within, can you see how clutter plays a role in sidetracking you in the same way? Let’s say you set out with a certain intention, like fix dinner and as you head to the kitchen you see the blouse you left in the chair because it needs a button. It wouldn’t take much for you to end up in the car on your way to the mall to buy a new one, forgetting about making dinner.
That’s why a mess keeps you from finding peace. Much of the clutter is depressing. In The Joy of Being Disorganized I wrote that it has a voice. The stack of old magazines cries from under the end table, “Read me.” The unfolded laundry on the couch says, “Fold me and put me away.” The dirty dishes whine to be put in the dishwasher, and the pile of papers beg to be filed. Before you know it, the contents of your whole house are screaming at you to do something!
Getting rid of clutter both inside and outside of your head leads to finding peace within. Just five minutes a day decluttering is enough to keep your home streamlined and peaceful. If you haven’t been doing that daily, of course you’ll have to spend more than five minutes a day getting rid of what you no longer like. Flylady says 15 minutes a day will do it.
A clutter-free home is heaven. Just think, there are no storage units in heaven, so why do we need them here?
P.S. I would love it if you write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I promise I will write back.
This book will help you find peace and joy in your home
no matter what stage it is at.