My favorite definition of clutter is “delayed decisions.”
Think about it – it’s the end of the day – you arrive home and grab the mail out of your box, or doorstep – there’s a mix of credit card solicitations, flyers, bank statements, perhaps a dental appointment reminder, a note from your out-of-state aunt...too tired to sift through it, you place it on a pile in the dining room table.
You pull off your coat and bag, that may have some shopping items from earlier, important papers from work, an invitation to a neighborhood party handed to you on the way home. You leave your coat on the dining room chair, pull out the items in your bag, which get placed on the mail pile. You’ll get to it in the morning…but, oh, you forgot, that you have a baby shower to drive to early, so the pile will sit…..
you flip open your laptop to check your email an there’s a slew of emails – everything from Facebook notifications, to an inspirational chain mail request to be forwarded to 10 friends, – you start, think of of seven names to add, can’t think of the rest, so you mark the email unread to finish later, do the same with a few more emails, and decide to go to bed.
In the bedroom, strewn across the bed are the three outfits you pulled out to choose to wear to the shower tomorrow, but hadn’t decided which – so you pile them on your bureau and crawl into the bed, where the pile of magazines lie – the ones you decided to unsubscribe to, becuase you never really get through them, but haven’t gotten around to unsubscribing. Next to the bed are three bags of clothes you did — hooray — pull together to donate, but that was months ago – and you haven’t called for the drop-off hours at the local church, or figured out when you have time to take them. Over time, you can start feeling pretty boxed in.
And this delayed decision-making can go much deeper and center on much bigger things that the day-to-day considerations of mail, errands and appointments –decisions in the realm of relationships, family, career, what direction do I want to go in in life, who am I choosing to become?
The difficult reality is that often the bigger picture of dreams and goals can get buried under the litter of daily indecision. The burden of clutter can become a mental obsession, a nagging obligation, and a constant barrier to moving forward. It seems like it must be tackled before anything more substantial can be addressed and before life can truly be enjoyed. It becomes easy to identify ourselves “as” our clutter, or at least ruled by it.
If this sounds like you, try this–in the next twelve hours – commit yourself to reach out to three people you’ve lost contact with who have been important to you. Let them know who they’ve been to you and why they’ve been important. Be open to creating a new possibility in the relationship. Connect. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Chances are this contact will reconnect you with something that deep under the piles of delayed decisions that have been accumulated. Chances are these new possibilities will cut through to what’s vital and essential to you – offering you an opportunity to create a shortcut through the path of clutter – if not physically, then mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Commit yourself to the task. Don’t let yourself delay. Set an alarm. Don’t let anything get in the way this time. Just do it. Take the risk; take the plunge….and see what’s on the other side of decision.