Clutter Stress

This is the time of year when we go through our closets, files, and other places that tend to get cluttered throughout the year. Perhaps this de-cluttering ritual exists to prepare ourselves for the holidays and many more guests in our home. In any case, it is always so freeing to go through the ritual of de-cluttering and taking back our space.When we are surrounded with clutter, our stress levels increase making it more difficult to stay alert and committed to our goals and tasks. Clearing is so helpful for us to stay focused on our work and reaching our goals in the home stretch of this year. It gives us the white space literally and figuratively to work with clarity and without distraction.In today’s blog, I want to share with you a book that has helped me tremendously with this process. The book, Throw Out Fifty Things[1], author Gail Blanke suggests Four Rules of Disengagement.  I like the simplicity of her rules and have simplified them even more!  These four rules are a powerful guideline for un-cluttering.Rules of Engagement:

  1. How you feel: If the stuff in your space hinders movement, makes you feel bad, feels like it weighs you down, is in the way of getting to something, get rid of it.
  2. Addition factor: If the stuff just sits there adding nothing to your life, saps your energy, does not give you joy, get rid of it.  Remember that standing still is not really static, while everything or everyone around you moves forward, standing still is just another way of moving backward.  Get rid of the negative to make room for the positive.
  3. KISS principle – Keep It Simple Silly:  There is no reason to make these keep or toss decisions complicated.  If you have to think about keeping or tossing too long, get rid of it.
  4. Kick fear to the door:  You are reclaiming your time, creativity, and productivity.  You are reclaiming your life!  This is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, your time, your life.  You can’t afford not to un-clutter.  As Nike has taught us, Just Do It!

In Thursday’s blog I’ll share with you 7 steps to guide you as you move from room to room. Good luck!With love,Maria

Dr. Maria Church, CPC, is a leadership coach, speaker, and author of Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance and her upcoming book, A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Leadership, Love, and Life. Maria holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, teaches at several universities, and is CEO of Dr. Maria Church International LLC, a leadership coaching, development, and training firm. For more information, visit

[1] Blanke, G. (2009). Throw out fifty things: Clear the clutter, find your life. New York, NY: Grand Central Life & Style.