Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity

Einstein, the genius, gets to simplicity through clutter-so can we

(Oh that’s a young and dapper Albert Einstein alright!) I was tidying up my office area last night and after I was through, I felt that familiar sensation of, “aahhhhh” coupled with a satisfying sigh.  That got me to thinking about why it makes me, and most other people, so gratified when clutter is annihilated.

I can tell you from my own experience that organizing and de-cluttering makes me feel empowered and in control. It also makes me feel like I have less to think about because the things I require to be aware of are organized conveniently in an area where my attention will be drawn, or tucked away in a place they belong (where I know I’ll be able to find them).

So I decided to look a little deeper to see if I could discover a more clinical cause of the happy sensation that runs tandem with tidying. I found an article online from a doctor named Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. She outlines the mental cost of clutter in her article titled, “Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons and Remedies”. So after reading through this gem, it was easy to see why it feels so good to pair down, find homes for things, and totally tidy up.

Here is a teaser of her article:

“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.

Why does mess lead to so much stress?

  1. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
  2. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
  3. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
  4. Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
  5. Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
  6. Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
  7. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
  8. Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).  “

I invite you to read on to discover some of her solutions.

Take it from a world-renowned and quite literal genius (talkin’ bout Albert here), you CAN find simplicity from clutter….ya just gotta go get it!

9 thoughts on “Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity

    • Thanks for the swell comments 🙂 I definitely agree with the politeness route too; when they get respected with polite gestures and conversations, they can turn into these super-helpers all of sudden. Sometimes I have to jump out of Sargent-Mom mode and just take a second to consider their attitudes and perspective before I go into telling them what to do or how to do it. Thanks for sharing your post!

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  4. My dad absolutely loathes clutter, and he has taught me to be the same way. I’m finding that with two kids age 2 and under it’s tough to keep the clutter under control, though. But your post has reaffirmed my belief that we’ll all be happier with less clutter around. Enjoy your SITS day!

    • Our dad was the same way! Our mom gave us the tools to manage clutter and stay organize but our dad was the motivation to keep it that way for sure 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by!

  5. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for
    me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

    • Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting the dialogue going and since there are so many options for pretty much any organizing task, one you hit on something that makes sense, the pieces begin to fall into place. Baby steps in the beginning are always wonderful. Just try a very little something and put a short timer on it and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by what you achieve:) So glad you commented!

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