Take a look around your home or your office and notice what's there. Is your space clear and open, ready to support you in the challenges you set for yourself? Or are there things lying around that disturb your sense of peace and well-being, distracting you from your daily goals? Perhaps there's some unfiled papers piling up by the phone. Are your closets and drawers filled with clothing, but you feel you've got nothing you love to wear? How about one of my favorites - hundreds of great photos of your loved ones, stuffed into shoe boxes or an old shopping bag? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are high that your life energy is being sucked away by these seemingly innocuous piles of clutter.

Cancer is a terrible disease - cells multiply out of control in your body, throwing you out of balance and eventually draining the life force out of you. Proliferation of clutter in our lives operates very much like a cancer growth. It can start out small, but if left unchecked, clutter will grow to the point where you feel unproductive, distracted and unable to move forward towards your goals.

Clutter can be present in the external world, which is the focus of this article. There's also internal clutter that can accumulate in your life, in the form of resentments, incomplete communications with others or unfinished business (but that's for a future issue!) In either case, clutter creates stress, embarrassment and can impair your ability to function. Our consciousness is such a potent creative force, but when its operation is tied up with guilt or resentment about clutter it's hard to create inspiring results. It's astonishing the number of people I've spoken with that have experienced a major life improvement that followed a de-cluttering effort!

I decided that to rise to my next level of personal and career goals, I had to reclaim the energy and creative juices that I could feel were being tied up with clutter. So, a few weeks ago I engaged the services of a professional organizer to work with me for a long weekend - and it was the best investment of time and money I could have made! (Ulrike Lechert-Lombardi, Professional Organizer - http://www.lechert.com/) She provided the catalyst I needed to break my log jam, take back control of my space, and reclaim all the energy that was being tied up in managing around the clutter I had in my life.

Whether you use the services of a professional organizer or take on the challenge yourself, I encourage you to clear out the old and create the space for new experiences and energy in your life. You deserve it!

Clear Out the Old, Make Way for the New

Here are some easy tips to get you started to de- cluttering your way to new success!

1. What's Clutter-bugging you? Take 15-30 minutes to create a list of what drains your energy in your physical environment. Go through your space methodically and write down anything that bugs you when you walk in the room. The first step is simply to become aware of where your energy-sucking clutter zones are.

2. Create some Time Now that you've got a list; give yourself the gift of your own time and attention. Whether it's 15 minutes a day or an hour once a week, put it in your calendar just like it's an appointment and start attacking your list. You'd be amazed how energizing it can feel to know your socks match or that your bills have been filed!

3. Beware of Incoming Clutter! Set up some parameters for yourself to manage the amount of clutter that comes into your space in the first place. Get yourself off direct mail lists. Don't feel compelled to print out hard copies of all of your emails. If you haven't worn something in a year, decide that you'll garage sale it or give it away and let someone else have fun with it!

4. Enlist some help Enroll your spouse, your children, or your co-workers in helping you to maintain a clutter-free zone. Delegate appropriate items to others. You can institute a scavenger hunt with your children to sweep the house looking for things that are not in the right place. Have some fun with it! Then you'll all be more likely to keep up with your de-cluttering process.

5. Have clear expectations The key to success is "a place for everything and everything in its place". Do you know where you want your places to be? Do you want household cleaning products in the laundry, the kitchen, or decentralized in each bathroom? The people sharing your space aren't mind readers, so create a map of your space of where you'd like your things to go. This will save not only a lot of time, but avoid a lot of resentments as well.

6. It's a Marathon, not a Sprint De-cluttering your space is a process, not an endpoint. Many of us set ourselves up for disappointment thinking that once we make that big push our space will stay organized and pristine only to discover being awash in old clutter and habits again six months later. Building in some ongoing maintenance time and attention will help keep your space clutter-free.

©2007 Carolyn B. Ellis WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Author and coach, Carolyn B. Ellis, is the founder of Thrive After Divorce Inc. Through educational products, coaching and trainings, the company helps separated and divorced individuals improve relationships, increase self-confidence and save time and heartache. She is the author of the forthcoming, “The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid So Your Children Thrive After Divorce.” If you want simple life-changing tips for single parenting, visit http://www.thriveafterdivorce.com to receive a FREE report now.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn B. Ellis is the Founder of Thrive After Divorce, Inc. A Harvard University graduate, Carolyn is also a Certified Master Integrative Coach™, Teleclass Leader and the first Canadian to be certified as a Spiritual Divorce Coach. She is also a part-time staff member of the Institute for Integrative Coaching at John F. Kennedy University in San Francisco, CA, and has been trained personally by its founder, NY Times best-selling author Debbie Ford. Carolyn’s book, "The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid so Your Children Thrive After Divorce" will be published in early 2007. Her three amazing school age children and bouncy labradoodle dog are her daily sources of inspiration and joy.