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The Synergy in Thoughts & Things; How and When To Let Go

balloons_opt-2As a Professional Organizer, I’m called upon to tour and evaluate your cluttered spaces. I’m in your closets and I’m in your intimate drawers.  I can see the physical overwhelm and implement manageable solutions. But what I cannot see, is what’s inside your head.  Your closets may be bulging but perhaps your brain is about to explode as well.

Thoughts and things go hand in hand, therefore the challenges and strategies of organizing them are very much the same too.  Here’s another way to assess them.

Consider your brain the “closet” that stores your thoughts. Take a look and ask yourself;

  • Is it crowded?
  • Is it disorganized?
  • Are you overwhelmed ?
  • Is it impeding on your productivity and life-balance?

What’s abundantly clear, is overabundance.  Whether it is physical clutter or mental clutter, too much is still too much.  Both can be paralyzing if you don’t routinely clear out these spaces.  The accumulation of outdated possessions is as much a burden as a brain full of to do’s or negative thoughts. When your life-balance is threatened, it’s the opportune time to consider purging.

Although the purging process of thoughts and things may look a little different, they both still need to be organized and managed.

Thoughts.  Write them down randomly as they emerge.  Out of the head and onto a piece of paper is a quality brain dump.  Think of it as a mind/body cleanse, like any healthy nutritional cleanse. Clean house and create space in the brain.

Sort and categorize your thoughts. Some thoughts might require an immediate call to action, others might be just an idea that needs to marinate, or perhaps it’s those nagging emotional road blocks that you’ve been avoiding. Beware that when left unattended, these thoughts tend to get lumped altogether in one big pot,  just like a messy junk drawer.  This causes the overwhelm to mount and that’s when the pounding headache emerges.  Recognize that all thoughts cannot be of equal importance. Everything can’t matter in the same way. Break them down and prioritize them.

Take a pause and look them over at another time. When you step away and revisit thoughts, your perspective may change. Give your brain a chance to process all that is on your mind. This will help segregate the minutia from the significant.

“Seeing” your thoughts on paper is a great way to really “look” at your brain, and even more-so,  a very effective method to organize it. A brain needs to be organized too.

Things.  Assessing the relevance of your things in your life today is the best measure to discern their value, and is an integral part of the letting go process. Faulty thinking can often interfere with this decision-making process so it’s always helpful to recruit an objective voice to talk it out.  This process is much more complex but inherently is guided by parameters of finite space. When your systems break down (or you don’t have any), it may be that “too much” is why you are losing control of your things. The less is more and use it or lose it principle will provide you with a life with less to manage.

As you see, thoughts and things are linked so closely and they typically slip and slide together.  Chances are that if your closets are overflowing and overabundant with clutter, your brain is experiencing similar chaos.  And vise versa, if your thoughts are jumbled, there’s a good chance that your spaces will reflect some evidence of disorganization.

So are your closets bursting at the seams? Does your head sometimes feel likes its going to explode? If you are overloaded with thoughts and things, try exercising that letting go muscle.  More room to breathe,  more life to live.

It may not be realistic to do a closet cleanse daily, but I would recommend a brain dump nightly at bedtime.  I promise you a more restful night’s sleep.  It really works. Would love to hear your thoughts about things.  What’s on your mind?


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How to Purge the Invisible Clutter

8417579244_optDoes your head ever get so full that you can’t think straight?  Is it getting in the way of your routine? You might chalk it up to, “it’s just one of those days,” but in the eventuality that it bleeds into another day or two, your inner voice begins to nudge. It’s impeding on your productivity.  You know when you know.  Something’s up.

Ironically, in some cases, this sense of overwhelm has nothing to do with the physical clutter at all. In fact, your home could be very orderly and closets fairly organized and yet, you are still distracted, and somewhat anxious.  You feel off. You’re more forgetful and definitely not on your game.

Chances are that if you not addressing your anxieties, they are likely to mushroom into a heavy cloud of emotional clutter in your head. This can be just as paralyzing as physical clutter.

When self-defeating thoughts invade, it not only clutters our brain, it drains our battery.  It can stop us dead in our tracks.  We can become both unglued and stuck at the same time.  In the attempt to ward off this uneasiness, many of us internalize the anxiety and bury it deeper through either avoidance and denial.  But if left unresolved, in time it will fester.  It will grow and build like tumbleweed.

Clearing emotional clutter is so very difficult and complex.  It’s not tangible yet it’s something we hold on to. We feel it deeply.  So how can we possibly toss it?

As with the clearing of physical clutter, there are some steps we can follow to begin the shedding process.


Acknowledge that you may be emotionally stuck. Pay attention to the signals.  Recognizing and admitting to the struggle is the very first step and will allow the buried emotions to surface.


Sort and organize your feelings, just as if they were things.  Too many contrasting thoughts swimming around in your head can compete for your attention. Try to write them down and pinpoint them.  Some emotional clutter can be clear and definable while others may be less conscious. You may be overwhelmed with negative self-talk, worry, guilt, shame, doubt, fear, or stress. Classifying your emotions and distinguishing your frustrations with all your life relationships (personal, family, and in the workplace) can be a very cathartic process. This process alone can provide some clarity.


Once you have sorted the emotions, you can evaluate how they are getting in the way of your “stuckness.”  Before you can purge the negativity,  you must find the pain.  Identify the source of the negative thoughts and feelings through honest introspection, or by enlisting help from friends, family, or a professional expert.  An objective eye is sometimes more accurate than self-talk.


Give yourself permission to feel the emotions but not to inhibit your daily productivity.  Confront your demons. Unburden. Look to resolve the conflicts in your personal relationships. It is unlikely that they will fix themselves.  Release and let them  go. As with physical clutter, by letting go, we can create more space for positive energy.


Now that you’ve sorted, evaluated, and purged the emotional residue, you’ve cleared the clutter and can move forward with an untroubled focus.

Understand that over time we all accumulate some measure of emotional clutter.  The more self-actualized we become, the more skillful we will be in managing it.  When it interferes with our life-balance , it’s time to repeat this process.




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