“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I confess, I’m a hoarder. I have boxes full of junk that haven’t been visited in over 10 years. There are ancient RCA, S-Video, Coaxial, and even Apple 30-pin iPhone 4 cables, just in case I ever need them again. I have broken electronics and computer parts for the same reason. My nostalgic tendency means I also collect piles of mementos from trips, photos, and even birthday cards. I love physical books and have shelves packed full of them. My digital life is just as bad. In fact, I don’t think I have ever really deleted an app. I collect them like souvenirs. Are any of you like that too?

Clutter. I’m sitting at my desk today in awe of the piles of things around me. Books, magazines, post-it notes, half-completed forms, empty boxes, and some left-over décor from the holidays. I was about to comment on the several coffee mugs sitting on the desk, but that isn’t clutter, that is essential equipment for survival. But still, so much clutter.

My mind is full too. I have to-do lists, incomplete thoughts, spurious worries about implausible events, un-actionable regrets, doubts, and a collection of unhelpful grudges in the corner. My mind is full. Time to relive that embarrassing moment? Worry about something? Think about something you can’t take any action on right now? You might have forgotten it or left something behind, time to worry about it. My mind keeps sorting the useless junk, going back and forth, wondering if it can collect more. It’s like trains of thoughts going in circles. Stop! 

The mental clutter is a bit noisy at times, isn’t it? It can be overwhelming. Do you ever have that? If so, it’s time to clean house. Yes, it’s time for some Marie Kondo magic of tidying up. Go through the clutter… Start with what is around you. What can be tossed. What needs to be kept? Start with what is in reach in front of you. As the haze clears, expand to the office area or room you are in. Be careful, it may get away from you! Don’t try to do it all. After all, we still need to visit the most important place of all. The mind palace. Those trains in your mind that are doing circles around each other, tell them to stop. Look around. Can you do anything about that thought? If not, cast it aside. Wrap up those worries, regrets, and grudges. Pack them in tight, thank them for their better days and ship them off to the garbage. Sweep out the useless fears and self-doubt. Is it getting better? 

Distill, reduce, minimize, and simplify. Clutter happens. In fact, it seems to collect around us like dust with little or no effort. It takes energy to remove it, but happiness awaits! I encourage you to join me in spending a few minutes this week purging the clutter, taming the thoughts, and sweeping out the mess that saps our energy. Find that clarity. Enjoy it and appreciate it! Oh, and set a reminder to do this again next week.

Have a great week!