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When Clutter is More than Clutter

In 2019, I was intentional about taking my spiritual and personal growth to another level and hiredmyself a life coach!She encouraged me to journal my progress along the way. Although outside of my comfort zone, I shared on social media, calling these segments Journaling my Journey. Below is an excerpt from one of my first entries:

“On my journey, one of the first things I did was begin to declutter! I had multiple assignments from my coach, but I had this overwhelming need to declutter. It started at work (knowing I wasretiring soon), but then my closets, my dresser drawers, my car trunk, and files at home. I felt ready…as if preparing for a marathon and I was! According to decluttering experts like Tisha Morris and Tracy McCubbin, clutter is a physical representation of our emotional and mental blocks! When you declutter, you are evicting old stagnant energy and making space for fresh new energy, opportunities, and the things you really want in life! So out with the old and in with the new and begin decluttering your physical mental and emotional space!”

I know I felt a sense of freedom and newness back then, but my awareness of what physical clutter could represent was only on a surface level. Since that time, God has revealed this connection in my life on several occasions.

I reflect to 2016, when my marriage was what I would call “stale.” The love and connection were still there, but it was buried under a lot of “stuff.” We ended up getting counsel from a beautiful couple at our church who helped us see beyond and clean up some of the mess. During that time, I noticed that my husband, who is the G.O.A.T. of clean, had begun to let things go. The carpets and walls needed cleaning, drawers were overflowing with junk, and everything had lost its luster. As I was cleaning about an inch of dust off our ceiling fan, God (who I call the wise voice in my head) said, “this is what you let happen to your marriage!” That dusty old fan for sure represented what our marriage had become.

Fast forward to 2021, I began a self-led decluttering journaling challenge. God (that voice again) said start with your closets. I thought nothing of it and began cleaning out the closet in our family room. Several days later, my youngest daughter who was expecting her first child shared that she wanted to get some things off her chest before her baby was born. Well, dang…here it is again! God instructs me to clean out the “closet” in the “family” room while conversations with our daughter in therapy led to clearing the air and releasing old hurts and resentments.

I’m not saying a good old-fashioned Saturday morning cleaning with Stevie Wonder glaring in the background will heal your marriage or restore your relationship with your children. Sometimes clutter is just clutter! At other times, clutter is more than clutter.

We’ve already discussed how clutter takes up physical and emotional space with the old, blocking the fresh and new. It can also have a negative impact on your mental health. According to Mia Danielle, in her blog titled Massive Psychological Effects of Clutter, clutter can result in stress and increased cortisol levels that can become long-term, feelings of shame or inadequacy that can lead to depression, distraction from focus that kills our productivity, and negative behavioral effects for ourselves and our children. At other times, clutter may reflect an already existing emotional or mental health issue, like depression, that needs to be addressed.

As I write this blog, I look at the many old books that are taking up space in my office area and the decluttering in our family room closet remains incomplete. I dare say like most things in life, decluttering and maintaining a decluttered space physically, mentally, and emotionally, is an ongoing process.

Yours in healing,


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