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Demystifying the Mess

Five Metaphysical Practices for Managing Clutter

by Carolyn A. Romano, Bliss Healing Arts
January 2008

I am perhaps the last person who should be giving advice about clutter. Let me rephrase that. I am probably the best person to be giving advice about clutter; I am an expert on clutter. I am, therefore, the worst person to be offering suggestions on how to achieve a clutter-free existence. I beg your indulgence, however, and ask for a little willful suspension of disbelief while I air some metaphorical (mostly!) dirty laundry and share some metaphysical “cleaning tools” I find I cannot live without.

I often blame my small home for the reason my place stumbles toward entropy, but that’s not entirely true. Closer to reality: I have too much stuff coupled with a virtually impenetrable ability to justify why I have to hold onto my belongings. When my mom or sisters show up to help me with home projects (at my behest), I am at once grateful and panicked that they will pressure me to part with _____ (you name it!). 

Mired in Mess
It bothers me that I’m like this, and I’ve spent considerable hours studying the issue. I even have a pile of books on how to de-clutter. When I’m not reading them, they spend their days cluttering up my bookshelf! In my studies, I’ve found that there are four main reasons I am up to my eyeballs in stuff:

1.  I might need it some day!
2.  I might forget I did it or owned it!
3.  I might be overcome with guilt for getting rid of a perfectly good whatever!
4.  I might forget where I put it! 

I think these reasons are self-explanatory so I won’t clutter up this article by expanding on them. See, I’m trying! Maybe I’m just not wired like most people, because the traditional de-clutter techniques simply do not work on me. These include:

• The Time Rule:  If you haven’t worn it, used it, thought about it, etc., in a year, get rid of it.  This makes no sense to me. Why is a year the magic number? Twelve months seems rather arbitrary. Why not 18 or 24 or 6? For someone like me who spends time exploring the idea that time doesn’t exist, well, you can see why I haven’t been able to embrace this rule.

• The OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. Nice in theory, but despite the best intentions, I can’t go from one room to the next to look for a stamp without starting three projects along the way. It may seem inefficient to the outside observer, but it’s all part of my master plan. At least that’s what I tell myself.

• The Location Rule:  A place for everything, and everything in its place. While the Time Rule above makes no sense to me, the Location Rule makes all the sense in the world. And I do work hard to have locations assigned to my belongings. In fact, I’m good with stowing about half of my possessions, having organized them into loose categories. For instance, clothes are mostly in the closet, food is mainly in the kitchen, and books are generally piled everywhere. In addition to sticking with my loose categories, the Location Rule also works for me if the “place” is somewhere I can see. I am a visual person, and if I can’t see it, it might as well not exist. In fact, one of my most popular phrases when I’m looking for something is, “Oh, THAT’S where that is!” referring, of course, to something I was looking for last week but couldn’t find.

Mess-worthy Metaphysics to the Rescue
Believe it or not, there are areas of my home and life that are in good—even impeccable—working order. How did this happen?  Easy.  I decided to work with my strengths.  I embraced my love of metaphysics and designed an approach to ridding the clutter from my life around this passion. Here’s what works for me:

1.  Honoring the spirit in all things. It is easier for me to let go of a possession, if I feel like I am giving it a chance for a new life in someone else’s keeping. Allowing something of mine to be of service in a more meaningful way than it can be stored in my closet inspires me to relinquish it. 

2.  Practicing non-attachment. “You can’t take it with you” is a phrase that has had significantly more meaning since I helped sort through some of my dad’s and grandmother’s considerable belongings after their deaths. I am committed to making sure I own my stuff and not the other way around!  Why?  Because stuff doesn’t matter. People do. Those things I’m saving for a rainy day? Out they go. When the rainy day happens to be my own passing away, I don’t think I’m going to need three hairdryers, four sets of dishes, and the last 5 years of O Magazine. (OK, that last one is debatable!)

3.  Releasing what no longer serves me. Many of my belongings were in the right place at the right time.  They did their tour and served me well. I must be brutally honest with myself and decide whether it is now time for me to let them retire or be reassigned because I have outgrown them.  And I mustn’t forget that clearing out these things makes room for the next belongings that are meant to spend some time with me.

4.  Stripping myself down to my essence.  Asking the questions, “Does this possession reflect who I am at my source?” and “Does it reflect who I am becoming?” keeps me aligned with my purpose of being the most authentic expression of myself as possible. The “wrong” stuff mixed in with the “right” stuff creates confusion and dilutes who I am. 

5.  Trusting the Universe to support me.  Holding on to belongings because I’m afraid I might need them someday, for instance, doesn’t show a whole lot of trust in the unlimited abundance of the Universe or my ability to manifest. Donating, purging, paring down is like a giant shout out to the Universe, “I know I am supported. I trust that my needs are always met!” 

And so it is through practicing these five metaphysical principles that I do the important work of aligning my outer world with my inner world. They say that’s what happens anyway whether you’re paying attention or not. My intention is to pay attention to what I am creating around me. Right now, what I am creating is the result of addition through subtraction. The Salvation Army truck arrives Tuesday.

For more information or for support in attacking your clutter through metaphysical practices, contact Carolyn Romano at BLISS Healing Arts for your free, 30-minute consultation in person or over the phone.  508-481-BLIS (2547) or blisscenter@comcast.net

© 2008 Carolyn A. Romano.  All Rights Reserved.   www.blisshealingarts.com




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