We’re having a yard sale this weekend. Time to get rid of the stuff that piles up and gathers dust in life as kids get bigger, hobbies change and we focus our energies elsewhere. I’m practically giddy at the thought of all of it being gone. We’ve all heard Americans have too much stuff and I know in my own life that’s true. Still, compared to many (not that I try and compare myself to others often), my life is compact. We live in a small house and try and keep our stuff to a minimum and yet we still end up with an incredible amount of things we don’t need, want or use.
Too much stuff blocks creativity. Energy can’t flow when we have clutter lying on every flat surface and closets are bursting and when we keep objects out of obligation and not because we love them. You can’t create if there isn’t room for ideas to percolate, move and bounce around. If you’re a writer, it’s hard for characters to speak if all the bills are piled around you. If you cook but there isn’t any counter space for your cutting board, you’ll never develop that new recipe. If you scrapbook, you can’t get the pages of your vacation scrapbook finished when you surround yourself with photos dating back ten years. You get the idea.
I had a spare room I wanted to turn into a writing space but the amount of effort it would take to clear it out overwhelmed me. My coach asked me what was the minimum I could do that would make the space workable for me? I decided that if I could clear off the desk everything else would be to my back and I wouldn’t have to look at it. Ten minutes of packing it all into plastic bins and I was done. Suddenly, I had a space where I could write – and breathe. After that, I built in time each day to spend a few minutes going through those bins and cleaning out that room but it did not take the place of my writing time. As the room cleaned out, so did my headspace and my creativity flowed.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about living in an immaculate living space. Trust me- a small house with two creative young daughters and three furry dogs will never win a photo shoot in Better Homes and Gardens. It is about feeling like you can breathe in your own space. Creativity does not thrive in chaos. Try this: find one space in your home where you live your creative life – your desk, or the kitchen counter or the view from your bedroom floor where meditate every morning. Is it cluttered? Are there things in your view that you think, I really need to put that away, throw that out, go through those things? If so, they’re blocking your creativity. Spend 15 minutes today cleaning up that space- don’t overwhelm yourself with 6 hours of de-cluttering, just spend fifteen minutes moving that unwanted stuff out of the space and watch what happens.
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