Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Clearing Clutter

A friend of mine recently told me that the clutter we live in our physical space is a reflection of our inner lives. I tend to agree with her.

Despite my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, neatness and organization have never been my strong suit. It doesn't help that I've always been something of a pack rat, and it almost causes me physical pain to throw anything away. The other reason why is probably because I have a high tolerance for living in clutter.

I've always wondered if my ability to live in what can only be called a mess is a reflection of how my resistance to change has allowed me to exist in the mess that was my life for so very long.

I recently took stock of the state of my personal living space - and I was dismayed to find that it looked like something had exploded in it. Tour brochures, illegible study notes, unopened letters, unsorted receipts littered my single bookcase, which was the focal point of disorder in a really messy room. My suitcases were still beside my bed, gathering dust and making it impossible to draw the curtains. The top of my wardrobe was home to empty boxes and plastic bags. Despite being only here for 6 months (yes, already!), I was obviously building up an impressive store of useless things at an awesome rate.

On that realization, I resolved to put some order into my room - partly because it was driving me crazy to see my shelves every time I'd come into the room, but mostly because I, the lover of metaphors, thought it was an apt thing to do at the end of an old year to prepare for the new one.

So, after a shopping spree involving storage boxes and organizers, I rolled up my sleeves and started sorting, putting things in order - and, yes, throwing things away. The end result was, as you can see above, something to be proud of. (I was planning on taking a "before" picture so you'd know what I was talking about, but I was so eager to get started plowing through the mess that I forgot.)

It would be so nice if I could clear out the useless ideas and concepts in my head as easily as I can put my physical space in order. Life would be a cinch to fix. I can make a list of inaccurate "truths" and limiting concepts that I need to rethink, re-frame, and even outright throw out, but of course knowing always doesn't translate into actual doing. Change - specially inner change - takes energy and entails all sorts of risk. To be honest, I sometimes think that it's easier to live with all these faulty ideas that I know than take a chance on something that is completely unfamiliar.

The good news is, if there's anything this year has taught me it is that it's possible to let go of what no longer works in order to embrace the something new. It's possible to throw out ideas that stifle me and uselessly take up space in order to make room for new, more positive ones.

And while I must admit that I'm still living in an inner world that is still very cluttered and very crowded with all sorts of negative thoughts, I've made some headway into putting things in order. And just enough so that all that much needed fresh air has finally manged to blow in some and some sunshine has managed to shine into it and brighten just that much more.

Isn't clearing up clutter a great way to end the year?

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve everyone! May the end of the old year and the coming of a new one mark your letting go of at least one bit of personal "clutter" you've been putting off throwing away. Be happy, be loved, and always, always be blessed.


Walking on Water said...

been clearing away some junk myself. i loved the year though, junk and all.=)
can't wait to see you again, claire. with or without the clutter.

ness said...

"the clutter we live in our physical space is a reflection of our inner lives..."

Ulk! Tinamaan ako. ;p

New year's resolution: I will clean up my room and closets. Pramis.

Tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow. A good way to start the new year.

Happy New Year, Clairbear!

Em Dy said...

I love decluttering but I need to do more of it. Thanks for the reminder. Decluttering is destressing too!

hotbeefinjection said...

So it's MD now? I remember reading your fanfiction from way back in 1998. Glad to see that you're doing well.