I’ve been thinking a lot more about practical ways to reduce clutter lately and have categorized them into three areas each for both physical and mental clutter. I hope this helps you to understand how physical and mental clutter can affect us and perhaps it will help you to evaluate how to handle both. Once we recognize how balanced or unbalanced our stuff is, then we can begin to take steps to start simplifying.
LEVEL 1: Basic Items to Live
If you think about it in levels, there can be three tiers to our clutter. At the foundation of physical clutter would be the stuff you need. Or shall I say, the stuff you really need; which actaully is much less than you probably think 😉 We can get kind of minimalistic on this but let’s just say we won’t take it to extremes, but there are the basics in your home-furniture, clothes, basic supplies, etc. Also, all of these things have a definite purpose and without them your life would be different or even difficult.
LEVEL 2: Things That Bring Us Joy
The next level would the extra stuff we love and those things that bring us joy. They are not a burden. Perhaps these would be things like electronics, books, some toys for kids, a few sentimental objects, but mostly everything in this level still provides some level of purpose. They also add beauty to our life in some way. However, we could live without them if we had to at some point. These things do not add stress to our life but provide comfort or delight.
LEVEL 3: EXCESS CLUTTER THAT BECOMES BURDENSOME
Lastly, there is the extra stuff that we really don’t need and truly isn’t providing much of a purpose. This is the stuff that tends to get moved from one pile to another, and never really goes away, yet never really helps us in the long run. These things end up being stored up, and the sight of them may cause stress.These things are often difficult to part with because we might need it “someday.” Although, 99% of the time, someday never comes. This level of stuff should be absolutely smaller than the first two, but for some reason, it seems this pile is growing. We constantly are trying to find new ways to manage this stuff, yet we never really deal with the stuff in the first place.
LEVEL 1: His Truths
Then there are our thoughts and they can also be categorized much the same as material items and physical clutter. At the very base of our levels for mental clutter would be what we need the most- His Word and truths, lovely thoughts, and pure thoughts. This is integral and many times this level is seen as an add-on later, when really this is the level which should be so full, because out if it, everything else flows. Our very being, every fiber of our soul, should be woven with the Truths of His Word. Out of those truths, we allow other thoughts in and are able to truly discern what should come into our mind and what should leave. This is our most essential level and should constantly be overflowing with His truths. Remember, our thoughts will determine our actions in life.
LEVEL 2: Purposeful Thoughts About Real Life Issues
The next level will be those things we need to deal with in life. We may fill our minds with problems to solve, or interesting books, ideas, etc. We have our everyday circumstances to deal with. Yet the most important thing to remember is that without the first level being full, this level can get out of balance. We aren’t able to deal with these in the proper perspective if the first level isn’t in check and full.
LEVEL 3: Mindless Chatter and Useless Information (Ends up in Overload and/or Anxiety)
The last level, and the one that should be most guarded and kept free of clutter, is the useless chatter- the mindless information and myriad of things all vetting for our attention these days, that are often meaningless. Sometimes we may numb our minds because we don’t want to deal with the important. These things often come from the internet, television, and even other’s voices. For me this level often causes anxiety- it’s the thoughts that I often feel weighed down by or can’t escape. Once again, when I realize that the first level (His thoughts) have not been filled properly, this level gets out of control.
Now that we have broken down what comes into our homes and our minds, may we move forward recognizing our needs versus our wants, or truths versus useless information. May this helps us to all simplify in some way, these areas of life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you feel you are balanced or is one level toppling over? Are you keeping the third levels much less than the others? How do you keep things in their proper place? What are you struggling with? Let’s encourage each other!