As Charles Dickens expressed it so well, Christmas is “the best of times and the worst of times.” It is certainly a time to apply the clutter-eliminating principle of asking “Does this (item or thought) help me accomplish my work or enjoy my life?” Yesterday, my assistant Amanda and I spent the afternoon clearing out the clutter out of my office — it felt SO good. Earlier this week, I was sitting in my counsellor’s office talking about some family issues with which I have been struggling. I made the comment that I felt like a “fraud” having written a book about eliminating emotional clutter, when I was struggling with my own. She asked me a question: “When you clear up the physical clutter, does it stay gone?” And so it is with “emotional clutter.” She reminded me that there are three ways to distance yourself from people with whom you don’t get along: 1) in anger, 2) in indifference, or 3) in love. May we all find the love we need to make this Christmas Season a time of blessing for everyone — just as Jesus loves us!
While we often think of “clutter” as a term that applies only to personal homes and offices, it also applies to entire organizations, resulting in decreased teamwork, unnecessary liability, poor customer service, increased risk, and lost profit. One of the biggest reasons is that employees feel guilty spending time clearing out clutter instead of working. A non-profit organization with 24 employees hosted a “Productive Environment Party” for their employees. The result: 3 1/2 tons of paper shredded in 6 hours! During the process someone wrote on the conference room white board: “Its great to be given permission to throw this out! Time to declutter — I didn’t even know I had this!”
When I picked up my car at the rental company I was given a key — I should say “keys” because there were two keys locked together on a cable. This totally baffles me for several reasons:
- If I lose one key, I lose them both.
- I can’t share a key with a second driver.
- I have a huge bulge in my pocket or handbag.
- If I lose this, the car rental has to replace two keys!
Since I define “clutter” as something that prevents you from accomplishing your work or enjoying your life, this system definitely qualifies!