In the novel Dune, there's a Litany, a sort of mantra, a mind exercise about fear:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Clutter has the ability to obliterate you, as well. Here's my version for clutter.
I must not allow clutter.
Clutter is the mind-killer.
Clutter is the source of distractions that bring total obliteration.
I will eliminate my clutter.
I will permit it to leave me.
And when it has been eliminated I will turn to see its absence.
Where the clutter has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Clutter. Clutter has effects that are exactly that severe. Negative effects on health, attention, and stress.
Clutter leads to increased allergens, molds, dust, and unwanted inhabitants (from germs to rodents).
Clutter is associated (I'll explore this more later) with overweight.
Clutter is distracting. (clutter can be auditory and involve things like background TV or radio as well.) The lack of focus saps you ability to think, remember, and accomplish goals.
Clutter is stressful. Several studies show the results of stress hormones increasing when dealing with clutter.
Clutter can be caused by a lack of control in your life, holding on to anything you can. Which is self reinforcing as the clutter progressively removes your control and ability to have other things.
Clutter can also be time based. The difference between a car that you take for scheduled maintenance 3 or 4 times a year and a car that sucks your time with emergencies every 2 weeks? That's time clutter. It's distracting and stressful.
Removing clutter can be difficult. There is actual pain involved in admitting to mistakes in acquiring things, or in getting rid of objects one owns. The anterior cingulate cortex and insula, two brain regions involved in pain, activate when you give up things you have an attachment to.
Since clutter can be confusing and overwhelming, it can be difficult to find a place to start. Some of the big solutions include garage sales, storage units (until you can accept being rid of objects) , the dedicated room or garage/shed for the clutter, and finding one space to declutter and expanding on it.
My next project involves clutter, elimination, and simplicity.