In the April 2012 issue of Experience Life, life coach Laurie Gerber describes clutter as anything that’s distracting you from the important things in your life. She stated that clutter can be a variety of things from disorganization to worrying, debt, overeating, even gossiping.
I have plenty of clutter in my personal life, the most significant being worry. I worry about everything. I worry about my parents, my siblings, my future, my debt, my image, my health, my relationship. Catch my drift? Everything. My dad always tells me, “quit worrying about it.” So simple, right? Wrong. That comes from the same man who tells me stories about how as a kid he would lose sleep at night worrying about what he was going to feed his pet rabbits. Like father, like daughter I guess.
I have little to no clutter in my work life. My email inbox has folders for everything. I pride myself on never being able to scroll down in my main inbox; emails get put in their appropriate folders immediately after they’ve been tended to. I have highlighters, color coded post-it notes, file folders, tabs and labels on all my work. Oh and the alphabet, the alphabet is my best friend!
As the office manager at Experience Life, I like to keep the office looking tidy and neat. That includes the conference rooms, kitchen, mail station and even a storage room downstairs with archives that no one goes in to but me. Experience Life recently moved into this beautiful new office. Somehow during and after the move the bookshelf up front, a main focal point of the office, was slightly neglected. It’s a gorgeous bookshelf and I couldn’t allow it to be the exception to my tidy and neat expectations.
Because this project was going to take significant time, I wasn’t able to tackle it as soon as I would have liked. In Jessie Sholl’s article, “The Emotional Toll of Clutter,” Vida Ghaffari notes that “clutter is just stagnant energy and where there’s clutter in your home, there will be clutter in you — either physically, mentally or emotionally.” I experienced exactly that as the bookshelf project was low on my priority list while I learned my new position. It was keeping me from most efficiently working on other tasks; the bookshelf clutter was taking a toll.
Ghaffari states that she was delighted with the psychological payoff of decluttering her life. “I’m freer now,” she says, “and clearer, and more focused. I’m ready to do things in life, and I’m no longer held back.” Again, I can relate. Don’t get me wrong, the bookshelf wasn’t stopping me from doing significant things in my life; I could wake up each morning and go on with my day. However, I knew that once the project was complete, I’d feel a lot less anxious at work and I’d be able to give other projects and tasks my undivided attention.
Although I am a self-declared perfectionist, I don’t believe that organization is about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and the obvious, reducing clutter. I’ve learned in my own experiences that clutter has an ugly, ugly domino effect. On the surface, an unorganized bookshelf of magazine archives probably doesn’t seem worthy of any discomfort. However, I’m willing to bet that you’d have a different opinion if you and said bookshelf stared each other in the eye all day, every day.
Now, the bookshelf is so pretty and easy on the eyes. It’s also made searching the physical archives a lot easier and more streamlined for the rest of the staff. I was instantly relieved of my anxiety at work once this project was complete. It helped me reflect on the clutter of worrying in my personal life too. I have vowed to make a conscious effort to declutter my worried mind- allowing me to think more clearly and stay focused on things that need my full attention- versus worrying about the unknown or things I can’t change. I’m looking forward to the same sense of freedom and clarity that Ghaffari experienced by decluttering. Here’s to decluttering- physically, emotionally and mentally!
The unorganized archives. Those aren’t Runner’s World magazines in that file on the left and the months of the year don’t go in that order.
The variety of unmatching magazine files were donated.
Ahh, matching magazine files and labels underway.
It’s looking so pretty!
Ta da! The final product.