So you might be asking – what is clutter and why should I care about it? Clutter is essentially anything you don't need, don't want and get no joy from seeing. There might be 100's of items in your home or office right now that could be cleared away.

The cost of having a lot of clutter around you is that it:

~ Takes up physical space and energy (consider the energy it
takes to constantly walk around a pile of clutter or clean up a spill caused by balancing a glass on an uneven pile of

~ Takes up mental energy (it's much easier to think of new and creative ideas when you have a clean slate around you and within you).

~ Takes up emotional energy (it's difficult to feel excited and hopeful when a pile of clutter is in your line of sight!).

What will you gain from clearing clutter? New ideas and a fresh perspective, not to mention less stubbed toes and lost phone bills! All kidding aside, in my own life it's been proven that in order to start something new I need to make space for it. It was only after I cleared the clutter from my home office that I made my commitment to become a coach and enter into coach training.

Though I'd had the idea for awhile I was "stuck" and found that I couldn't seem to move forward with it. Karen Kingston's book (see "Resources") helped me create an environment here that got my life, and me, moving forward.

5 Tips on getting started

1) Imagine the finished product – draw a sketch or just close your eyes and picture your uncluttered space looking just how you want it. Imagine what you'll do in this space and how much more effective and happy you'll be. Know what you're working towards and why.

2) From the Fly Lady (see "Resources") – you can do anything for 15 minutes at a time! Work for 15-minutes and then stop before it gets overwhelming.

3) From the Fly Lady (see "Resources") - pick out the hot spots that really drive you crazy – your mail table, your kitchen drawer - and focus on those. Getting those areas cleared will give you the most satisfaction and motivation to keep going.

4) Fill a bag (or several!) to give to your favourite charity. Your clutter can mean a lot to someone who is in need. You get to feel twice as good once you've opened up space in your home as well as in your heart.

5) Keep up with your clutter - spending 5-10 minutes at the end of the day putting things "back in their place" will save time, space and energy later on.

Now that you've read this article about clutter, are you ready to take action? What can you do differently this week to turn your clutter situation around?


On the Web: The Fly Lady

From your bookstore or library: Kingston, Karen (1999). Clear your clutter with Feng Shui. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-0359-5.

Copyright Linda Dessau 2004. All rights reserved.

You’re welcome to reprint this article online as long as it
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Author's Bio: 

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach helps hundreds of people every month improve their self-care and make healthier choices. To receive her free monthly newsletter, “Genuine Self-Care”, subscribe at