It’s springtime when plans to organize fill our minds and Pinterest boards! There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about decluttering as a spiritual exercise and not just a practical one. I too read the hot best seller The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up which had me throwing every item of clothing I owned on the bed or floor and deciding whether or not it gave me joy. Recently, I decided to change my office from a junk repository to a room that inspired me. The process helped me to really understand that if organizing and decluttering aren’t a spiritual exercise, then I don’t know what is!
When I moved into my two bedroom home last June, I couldn’t wait to convert one room into my very own office. My previous office had been the dining nook in my 1-bedroom apartment, so this new set-up was going to be a dream come true. As happens, the 2nd bedroom became a staging area for boxes during the move and a collection area for anything marked “Other” or “Misc” after the move.
Over the months that I have lived here, I set up a desk and artist work table in my office, but I still navigated around piles of art supplies and homeless clutter on the floor and just shut the doors on a disorganized storage closet. Out of sight, out of mind!
Earlier this spring, I was bit by the cleaning bug and declared an end to office clutter. The room was functional, but barely. I survived with piles of papers on my desk and stuff on the floor, but I wondered what it would feel like to thrive and feel happy in this space.
At closer inspection, the closet looked large enough for all of my “Misc” and “Other” items like luggage and holiday decorations and everything for my business too. Everything living on the floor could have a new home in there. That’s as far as I went by myself; I enlisted the help of a professional organizer to make the plan happen.
Prior to organization day, my organizer warned me that we would be opening up every single box, cubby, nook, baggie, tchotchke bin and drawer. I didn’t think twice about it…until I had to do it. In every single box, cubby, tchotchke bin and drawer there was energy and an emotion. Keepsakes from Japan, funny trinkets from old friendships, coins from all the places I’ve ever traveled, a box of costume jewelry…Should they stay or should they go now? I felt like laughing and crying at the same time, but the organizer and I were on the clock and those bits and bobs needed a new home pronto.
My organizer and I cleared and organized my desk, work table and closet in four hours. My desk hadn’t been paper-free since I’d assembled it. The floor was liberated. Everything had a place. The energy in my new office was so light. It was joy to be in there and a joy to behold.
So what made this seemingly-mundane organization project a spiritual exercise? Here are the take-aways:
- Strive for high quality energy in everything. This was my a-ha moment: I meditate and practice mindfulness. I connect with Divine Guidance every day. I eat highly nutritious food. I run a spiritual business and my workspace should be tended with the same level of mindfulness and care as I would give myself. Boom!
- Moving clutter off the floor and off my desk in my office instantly shifted the energy in my office from chaotic to light. I put up with and functioned in the mess, but I feel happier and more efficient in my workspace now. I love to be in my office and I can only imagine that that can be felt in my work.
- Decluttering will bring up emotions. Be ready. Some things are easy to throw in the recycle or donation bag and some things will make you weep. Marie Kondo, author of the above mentioned book, advises holding the memory of the person or event in your heart and throwing the thing away. If that’s too much, keep the momentos, but make sure they have a proper home.
- Consider using a professional organizer. An organizer does not have the same emotional attachment to your stuff that you do and can actually help you see your project through to completion. This kind of an organizing project requires a tremendous amount of resolve, TLC when the emotions hit, and follow-through. If that feels like too much to face alone or if you feel your dream of clean might never get past the planning phase, a professional organizer becomes invaluable.