Clutter has been a normal state for me. Like many DaVincis, I am working on many projects at once, and I have a lot of “stuff” around to remind me of all I want to do. Not surprisingly, this causes some stress (not to mention making it difficult to have people over without a litany of caveats at the front door, and other inconveniences.) Ironically, I have at least half a dozen books on how to organize or get rid of clutter — which are creating clutter themselves! But one of them deserves a shout out.
Clutter Busting – Letting Go Of What’s Holding You Back is more than a book about how to go cull your closets of file your paperwork. The author, Brooks Palmer, explores the various emotional causes of which clutter is just the physical symptom. It is a surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking read. The books is also dotted with exercises that are both effective and often funny, as when Palmer suggests you invite a friend into your bedroom and try to sell her the objects in it (your enthusiasm or lack thereof is meant to show you whether or not you really love and need each object or are just keeping it out of habit, guilt or some other reason).
I was inspired as I read to get up and do one or two of the exercises, and am now the proud owner of a bedside table with exactly ONE book on it (how I slept with all those half-read books staring at me I will never know!) that now has room for a bowl of fresh flowers, and a desk which, while still not clutter-free, only has on it what I want AND has some empty space for actual WORK. The horse statue you see there is a prized possession I’ve had since I was 9, a gift from my first art teacher. It was buried on a shelf and now has a place of honor where it can inspire me to continue to be the artist he saw that I could be.
In the book, Palmer actually calls himself your coach (he does in person clutter-busting consulting for clients, and just by reading the book you become one of them by proxy) and if you’re like me, once you start reading, you will find yourself imagining him in your house asking you “Can we let this go?” about pretty much anything you touch. I am stunned to see how big a garbage bag I filled today without event trying. It really is freeing to have only what you love — and it makes me feel so much more creative and optimistic.
Definitely pick up this book, but beware…you will be getting rid of some things you never dreamed you could part with. All the better to have the space for what you love most — including your creative dreams.
How does clutter affect your creativity? Have any tips that have helped you tame yours? Post a comment below!