Clutter can creep into our lives and consume valuable energy. It can show up physically as paper piles on desks or kitchen counters, clothing flowing out of closets and drawers, or bins full of toys the kids no longer play with. There is also mind clutter, which can consume your thoughts. Physical clutter and mind clutter are closely connected. Have you ever noticed how challenging it is to think, be productive, or relax when your physical environment feels cluttered?
In the same way that I begin writing with a blank page, I engage more successfully in daily life when my space is clear with few distractions. For example, when I’m about to cook, I prefer the kitchen to be clean with uncluttered surfaces and an empty sink. When I work on a project like writing or developing a workshop, I focus better when my desk is clear of paper scraps and other projects. At night, I sleep better, getting into a made bed with clean sheets. Being in a clear, uncluttered place can be energizing or relaxing.
However, when our mind clutter is dominating the internal conversation, what can you do? There are five effective strategies I regularly use for calming mind clutter. Some of these simultaneously address physical clutter.
5 USEFUL STRATEGIES TO CALM YOUR MIND CLUTTER 1. Get Out! Yes. You guessed it. To clear the mind, getting outside for a walk is highly effective. Even a small dose of fresh air, be it five, ten, or sixty minutes, can do wonders for the cluttered mind. It’s even more beneficial if you can walk in nature. The fragrances of spring are intoxicating- lilacs and Lily of the Valley scent the air. 2. Free Write Grab a pen and your favorite journal or pad of paper, then download the swirl of thoughts onto paper. Don’t worry about editing or organizing your thoughts in any way. Just allow them to flow. You might be surprised what comes out. Writing is an excellent way to unclutter the mind. “Writing is an excellent way to unclutter the mind.” — LINDA SAMUELS, CPO-CD®, CVPO™
3. Just Meditate
Practicing mindfulness meditation is a gentle way to work with a full mind. The idea isn’t to
empty your mind during the practice. The quiet allows a place to let thoughts float by without judging or engaging in the content. You can also experiment with focusing on the breath while meditating. This will calm the mind and switch you into the rest and digest mode.
4. Shred It! Shredding paper is so cathartic. As you release and shred physical piles and files, the mind unclutters too. The physical act of releasing enables the mind to also let go. Shredding is one way to unclutter. Any type of letting go of physical objects that have overstayed their welcome work wonders in releasing your mind clutter. 5. Take Care Having jumbled thoughts can be connected to sleeping too few hours, not eating nutritiously, or ignoring self-care. When was the last time you took care of yourself? What did that look like? It’s not selfish to take a bubble bath or extra long shower, get a massage or pedicure, or sleep for eight hours. Relaxation time is essential to reducing mind clutter. When your mind is cluttered, what strategy is most effective for you? I would love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation.
Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, CVPO™,is a compassionate, enthusiastic Professional Organizer and Coach, founder of Oh, So Organized!, Executive Mom Nest Advisor, author of The Other Side of Organized, and blogger on organizing and life balance. In addition to organizing virtually with clients worldwide, Linda presents workshops, writes, and mentors other Professional Organizers. Media features include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Woman’s Day, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, and Entrepreneur.com.Linda lives with her husband between two rivers 30 miles north of New York City, in a small, colorful home with a purple front door. They are empty-nesters as their children are in the world living their adult lives.