De-Cluttering is Good for the Soul!

Last week, DW made a proposal to paint the solarium (our main social, computer, exercise, office room) and shift some furniture around. She had even gone so far as to draw up a nice little floor plan, perfectly practical……or so it seemed on paper.

This room has been the focal social area of our house for 22 years and much had accumulated……..stationary, books, magazines, family mementos, kids’ projects, electronic devices and on and on.

We were sitting in the solarium when we discussed this and as I pondered this idea and it began to strike me: this was not a “paint and move furniture” project, it was a “build an Egyptian Pyramid” project! In fact, this sudden revelation that this was not a 2 day paint job but a one week clutter job struck me as funny enough that I entered into uncontrollable laughter!

I love this room in our house, but deep down the clutter has kind of blocked energy for a long time. I am pretty sure that clutter in your house sucks your energy and your creative juices….I know it has done that to mine.

The psychology of clutter build up isn’t simple. DW likes to buy stuff, bring it home, and not let it go. For myself, I can be perfectly happy owning almost nothing, but things like office paper, I like to leave it out for easy access (another description for lazy!)…..and things that should be filed get built up.


As a builder and sometimes a designer, I pay careful attention to the freedom of movement in a house: feng shui, in which you remove as many obstacles as possible to the unfettered flow of movement and energy in the house.  However, once moved in, it is easy for occupants to put up all the barriers that clutter creates in physical movement and more importantly, psychological barriers

So now, a week later we have a newly painted and de-cluttered solarium with at least double the visible floor space…..partly reorganizing, partly giving stuff away, moving it to the local Reuse center or into the landfill. The room feels good, it’s good for the soul, and it’s easy to feel creative again!


2 thoughts on “De-Cluttering is Good for the Soul!

  1. Interesting and helpful suggestions, Bruce.

    Out of my experience came a sense that perhaps there are at least 5 levels to this uncluttering phenomenon:
    1. The un-cluttering in and of itself in our physical world that frees up space;
    2. The surface cleaning of physical clutter naturally frees up some space in one’s being for other likely more pressing real life concerns. Hence feng shui at work;
    3. As a former executive life systems coach, part of our role in a client’s life was to assist them in removing what’s commonly called ‘tolerations,’ that unavoidably clutter up our psychological space because they bug us at the edges of our consciousness. But once we deal with the toleration, it’s no longer something we are tolerating, but enables us to go on with more strength and resolve in our personal and professional lives;.
    4. As a psychotherapist, especially with traumatized clients, in the work the client always brought some meaty issue(s) to deal with that was holding them back in their healing process, that, incidentally, was only nudged into play by me, but which usually bubbled up out of their unconsciousness and presented itself for the session. Once we had dealt with that work, it entered the realm of the non-vital, and then of course the client over the next week processed, adjusted to, and integrated the new learning. I’d suggest that this work is the penultimate work in all of life.
    5. As a saint in Christ, the deepest and most vital work, as I respond to the call of the Spirit in the privacy of my home life out of sight and earshot of neighbors, is to process what the Lord would do in me and accept, in full repentance, what he would have me be and do. The clutter of my errings before Him for sure stops him from bequeathing in me the joy that is a main benefit in Him on this side of the grave. Nothing in our natural life even approximates the love of all things that flows out of getting rid of that clutter in our beings! Hence this the ultimate work, and therefore, paradoxically, the axiom, if you will, that what costs us the most becomes our greatest delight! Amazing! And infinitely worthwhile…!

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