Clutter can come in many forms. For simplicity’s sake, I’d like to break it down into two main types. These are physical clutter and mental clutter. Each has a heavy impact on your stress levels. They both are likely to play a role in keeping you from having peace in your life. Therefore, I think it’s important to take a look at each type, definite it, and examine ways both can negatively affect you.
Physical clutter is easy to understand. This is the kind of mess you can see. It’s the piles of clothing, papers, dishes, and more that are strewn around your home. It’s the overabundance of things you’ve been holding onto for years because they’re sentimental or you might use them one day. Sometimes, we save things because we think we’re being good stewards and maybe in some instances, we are. But, many times, our good intentions only add to our “to do” lists (I should fix that, I could reuse those). And, our frugality can become idolatry when we become preoccupied with it.
Or, another way we can become idolatrous is by keeping things because of their monetary value even though we never use them (keeping old jewelry/albums/dolls). Evaluating our underlying reasons for accumulating physical clutter helps us let go of it. And, it is the first step toward ridding ourselves of all that ensnares us and keeps us from the peace Jesus offers.
And don’t forget another form of physical clutter: digital clutter. This comes in the form of the many tabs you keep open in your computer browser or the tons of media you consume each day. It can also be the unorganized way you deal with all those e-books, printables, and other digital media downloaded on your computer. Many people inadvertently purchase the same product twice because they couldn’t find it on their computer.
These are many examples of things can be seen. They consume large amounts of your resources such as time, space, and money.
Mental clutter isn’t as simple to define. It involves the overload of information, along with nagging emotional issues, that overwhelm your mind. This type of internal congestion can include your long to-do list, negative thoughts, toxic relationships, unforgiveness, or bad habits. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Identifying the source of our mental clutter helps us toward this end. The source of such mess usually lies in emotions like fear, regret, worry, guilt, or shame. Throughout this challenge we will work on addressing these issues so you can purge yourself of them.
Effects of Clutter
Ridding yourself of clutter, both physical and mental, can truly increase your feelings of joy and calm. It can lead to less stress and overall greater well-being. Most importantly, you address the root issues that keep you from enjoying the peace Christ offers.
The negative effects, both spiritually and mentally, of too much clutter are astounding. Decreased mental health is one of the biggest issues that develops from surrounding yourself with all sorts of clutter. Studies show that mental hygiene is improved when physical clutter is kept under control, both in the home and in the workplace. Too much physical clutter impairs visual processing. It can be incredibly distracting to see lots of piles and messes in your surroundings. This can lead you to miss cues regarding people’s emotions and other important information. This only adds to your mental clutter. In addition, excess clutter adversely affects your cognition and clarity of mind. You simply can’t think straight when you’ve got a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head.
This is merely an overview of the ramifications that come from physical and mental clutter. However, the information above should give you some insight into how important it can be to clean things up in both your physical world and within your mind. Doing so can lead to tremendous benefits in your spiritual walk, in your relationships, and in your overall health.