13 Unexpected Forms of Clutter Preventing Your Everyday Life from Soaring
Monday January 23, 2023

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“Creativity lies beyond the clutter of everyday life.”

Clutter in our lives, in its wide-stretching ways of existing, can harm our relationships, social life, health, financial security, success at work, and nearly everything under the umbrella of each of these arenas in our daily lives. In other words, our quality of life reflects our ability to limit the clutter or be limited by the clutter we may have unconsciously accepted as ‘normal’.

Typically, when the term declutter is mentioned, it refers to physical cleaning, organizing and tidying up; however, that is not what we’re talking about today. We’re going deeper, and exploring where ‘clutter’ more conceptually can be hidden that we either don’t realize or don’t want to explore because we don’t physically see it. While some of the ideas shared below are tangible, we are diving deeper into why the clutter causes stress and addressing it in a way that is not temporary, so we won’t be tending to the ‘tidying up’ again, but instead doing something different enabling different results to materialize.

Often it is difficult to understand or see the ‘clutter’ we are talking about today because we have either become accustomed to it, or it has been normalized by society and even applauded, so to refrain from living in such a way may seem antithetical to living well and even social suicide as we no longer will be seen as ‘fitting in’.

When we have clarity about ourselves (know thyself, a topic regularly discussed here on TSLL), we become more savvy about what would clutter our lives and thus reduce the quality of our everyday experience versus what we need to enhance and nurture a life of quality.

I recently heard the quote I share above during a meditation session, and while seemingly simple in theory, to go beyond the clutter first begins with us recognizing where the clutter is and what is causing the clutter. It is the job of our lives to know what clutters or prevents the life we wish to live and experience from materializing, and what may thwart your life from reaching this state versus what may thwart my life could be entirely different, so it is important that we don’t pass judgement on anyone else’s choice of what we consider ‘clutter’. “One artist’s source of inspiration may be another artist’s source of distraction.”

January tends to be a month of setting straight, re-organizing, clearing out and clarifying just about everything that makes my everydays run well, and in an effort to apply the lessons of the previous year, my clarity deepens regarding what is needed, what needs sharpening and what can be eliminated. So today, I want to share 13 unexpected or overlooked forms of clutter that may be thwarting you from enjoying your everyday life with deep satisfaction and joy. Let’s take a look.

1.Too much ‘doing’, not enough ‘being’

“Managing your schedule and day habits well is a necessary component to free up the practice and creative capacity to make great art.” —Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

The other day someone asked me, “What are you doing this weekend?” Seemingly a benign question, and intended as such from the speaker, but as someone who in the introduction of my recent book The Road to Le Papillon talks about the importance of embracing the reality that we are ‘human beings’ not ‘human doings’ I bristled a bit, but didn’t say anything as the question was innocent. However, this idea of needing to be ‘doing’ something to feel at peace is often what clutters our lives and contrary to how we find peace.

Mind Owl spotlights the key difference between ‘doing’ versus ‘being’. “Doing mode is when we are living in our heads, thinking about the present, the future, and the past, making plans, and completing tasks. Being mode is when we are living in the moment, experiencing things directly. Both forms of mental state are necessary at different times . . . “; however, when ‘doing’ is prioritize over ‘being’ as it is in our current American culture, we not only become unbalanced regarding how we spend our time and how well we care for ourselves, we can lose the ability to just be, which we need to do regularly and often.

The reason I included the quote from Rick Rubin for this point is that if we are always ‘doing’ we are not creating space to savor life, to be open to what may present itself, and instead we are always seeking, chasing, denying, demanding, attempting to control and thus limiting the quality of our life experience. Whether we are traditional artists or not, we are each the artists of our own lives, and leaving our days open to breathe, to just be, on a regular basis enables us to become more grounded and retain clarity ensuring the life we are living is a life we want to live. If we are always ‘doing’ we are distracting ourselves from important discoveries that will bring peace of mind and contentment.

thecreativeactrickrubin

I will be referring often to quotes I found in Rick Rubin’s new book The Creative Act: A Way of Being (released January 17, 2023). I am only halfway through the book, and as I shared this past Friday on the This & That post, discipling myself to read through it slowly and thoughtfully as I am finding it a wonderful and thought provoking read.


2. Too much inconsistency

“Consider establishing a consistent framework around your creative process. It is often the case that the more set in your personal regimen, the more freedom you have within that structure to express yourself.” —Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Last week, there was a simple and expected change to my work schedule. As I shared on Instagram and here on the blog, the built-in bookshelves were going to be installed in my office which would greatly reduce the literal clutter in my house as piles of books spread on the floor not only in the office but tucked away in all sorts of places throughout the home would now have a permanent and more organized place to reside. This was a most welcome project, so I was excited for them to be installed.

As a result, I tweaked my regular weekly blog writing and podcast production schedule, and for two days worked outside of the office. All went well with the install, but by the end of the week I was more exhausted than I realized, and a few out-of-character disruptions and mistakes occurred (for example: it took me two days to realize there was a glitch in the podcast episode upload). I quickly acknowledged the power of having a regular structure to my work week, limited interactions while I am writing and working in environment that is constructive to working well.

While there will be times when we have to adjust our work and life schedule temporarily, understanding why a consistent framework is necessary eliminates the clutter of distractions, of anything that will inhibit you from doing your best work, whatever your work may be. And knowing what that consistent framework is for each of us makes it easier to return as quickly as possible to said framework.

~EXPLORE FURTHER: In 2018 I shared a detailed post that includes tips and ideas for cultivating a productive, engaging and enjoyable working environment for a variety of work spaces. Click here to explore.


3. Too many bills to manage/juggle

“The more you reduce your daily life-maintenance tasks, the greater the bandwidth available for creative decisions.”

Over the past two years when the majority of my home customizations were taking place, staying on top of the temporary bills along with my regularly schedule bills caused a bit more stress than I preferred, even though I knew it was a necessity to achieve the results. However, it is in such moments when you observe yourself and acknowledge what is causing stress, and you start to become a bit more ruthless and a lot more aware of what you need and don’t need to live well.

The question I often ask myself when I am considering taking on a new regular monthly bill – no matter how small or large – is Does what I am paying for off-set at the very least and hopefully exceed what I am exchanging with my payment? In other words, does the enjoyment and relaxation of watching BritBox (for example) exceed the exchange of paying $7/mo to watch it? In my case, the enjoyment is well worth the $7/month payment, so I subscribe. On the other hand, does paying $70/month for YouTubeTV that enables me to watch essentially whatever I want when I want have the same effect? For me, that is an easy ‘nope’, and so I don’t subscribe to the latter monthly streaming service. It is less about the amount and more about the examination of the benefit you receive. And this again is where knowing yourself is essential.


4. Too many unfinished projects

When too many projects, large or small, have begun, but they are each unfinished for a variety of reasons – time, money, clarity about direction, etc. – their being in limbo can be clutter that is not helping you to relax, and thus causes stress. I am not suggesting you should abandoned the projects that are currently in progress, but moving forward, first, assess how you feel when each project is complete (likely relieved, stress largely alleviated, but equally much joy that the project adds what you had hoped to your life). Keep all of these feelings in mind, and next time, proceed one project at a time.

Admittedly, sometimes, if we are working with others, we don’t always have control over when when projects occur and for how long, and strangely enough, sometimes multiple projects that involve others seem to occur all at the same time which is never helpful; again, know thyself, be clear in what you can handle, and don’t be afraid to say no, or put a pause on what you are doing until you are able to give it your full attention and resources.


5. Too many possibilities for distraction and not knowing how to use distractions constructively

“Sometimes disengaging is the best way to engage.” —Rick Rubin

Distractions arrive in my forms, but this is where we have to be active rather than passive and shut the door to distractions that are not constructive to living well. Beginning with the notifications on our phones or tech devices. You have control over these. Set the notifications to what would work best for you. As I have shared before, I turn the ringer of my phone (texts too) entirely off, so I determine when I will let my phone interrupt me – i.e. when I choose to check my phone.

Some distractions, as Rubin points out above, can be constructive and in fact we need to engage in certain distractions to clear our mind and get out of our head bringing ourselves back to the present for this is when solutions can arise, this is when we find our calm, this is when we have the opportunity to recalibrate and gain a better perspective about what is really important. For example, in the middle of the work day, it may actually be more constructive to stop working and step outside to take a walk letting nature distract you from what is befuddling you in the office. My dogs provide a wonderful distraction of ensuring I am in the present moment and remind me to play regularly, a practice that whether we are outside taking a hike or simply pottering about in the garden has sparked more ideas than sitting inside staring at my computer screen.


6. Lack of organization and clarity of your filing systems for insurance, savings/investing, budget, taxes, etc.

I share this one because again, as I mentioned above, January is a deep-dive organizational time for me in my office – personally and professionally. Largely because I am preparing for tax season, and knowing everything is in order, where it needs to be, reduces my stress immensely. Just this past weekend, I edited my files, organized my receipts for the year and prepared for the new year. Knowing where everything is, discarding anything I no longer need and is taking up space, these tasks ease my mind and put me in control of knowing exactly where everything is should either my accountant or for my own purposes, I need to access a particular piece of information.

As each year passes, where our money is invested, spent and saved changes, and therefore our filing systems needs to as well (digital or hard copy), or at least be updated. Knowing how the system we have works and knowing we can easily access certain documents when needed to is a peace of mind we can give ourselves prior to the need ever arising.


7. Too many options or not enough good options in your wardrobe for the life you live

“Limit your practical choices to free your creative imagination.”

From Albert Einstein, Giorgio Armani, Anna Wintour, Barack Obama, Ines de la Fressage, Carolina Herrera, the truth is, decision fatigue is real. And while we may not want to dress like others who are well-known for their work uniform (many tech CEOs), there is a form of clutter that enters our lives when we don’t have the clothes we need to do our jobs with our entire focus and feel confident and comfortable in our skin.

As I shared in this post last year, Finding Your Personal Style Will Free you from Worrying not only About Seasonal Trends, but liberate you to enjoy your life and work far more as you don’t spend as much thought on what you are wearing and simply choose with habitual trust what you will wear will work.


8. The tools/objects/ideas that bring you joy are unkempt

In other words, how you nurture yourself has not been well tended to which means you have likely not been able to care for yourself well.

Whether you like to read, so have oodles of books and reading material strewn about or not in a permanent home so you don’t know where to find what you want or need, or your desk where you work on your favorite hobby is cluttered and unorganized, or your work room or atelier is no longer inviting inspiration because too much is without a designated space, even though it may be a hobby or a pastime, these nurture you, so when we tend to the space where this can happen, we reduce stress rather than create more.

Over the past three days beginning on Thursday and running into the weekend, I organized my new bookshelf in the office, but also reorganized my two existing bookshelves (living room and kitchen), and what I didn’t realize until I did this was that the two latter shelves were more unorganized than I wanted to admit, and when they were finally situated in such a way that made sense for how I use the books, my mind was far more at ease and relaxed. A simple task, something to a non-reader might sound silly, but for me, someone who finds comfort and even companionship knowing I have books all around me, knowing what I have and can quickly access it, grounds me more than I realized was helpful as I move through my days whether I have a book in hand or not. It is the knowing what brings us calm is readily accessible that brings us peace of mind.

~Kitchen cookbook library, three shelves, newly reorganized, see the full kitchen cookbook library in video footage in episode #4 of Season 3 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show~

~updated upon request to share the titles to many of the cookbook seen in the above pic:
10 Favorite French Cookbooks for Your Kitchen Library~


9. You have confused what others want you to do with what you know is best for your life journey

Far more complex conceptually than some of the other items on today’s list, when we are unclear about why we are living the life we are living, why we are pursuing the ideals or dreams we are pursuing, that creates an abundance of clutter that drastically limits our clarity and thus our ability to make sound decisions that will bring us peace and contentment.

This is a weightier ‘de-cluttering’ to tackle, but arguably the most important on today’s list. Again, I return to, know thyself. Do the hard work (read TSLL’s 2nd book for tips and ideas of where to start), and begin to courageously live a life that aligns with your true self. When you clear away the fog and separate put-upon ideas from your own curiosity and intuition, each decision will begin to build a daily life you love living each day.


10. Making delicious, simple as well as healthy food choices is not easy

Being able to have the necessary ingredients to make a meal we want to eat and that is good for us, neither depriving nor decadent, but definitely satiating, is the sweet spot as it pertains to everyday eating well and with the seasons (as much as possible.

I shared in this post and in even more detail in TSLL’s 2nd book what to have stocked in your épicerie (pantry) for the necessary ingredients to make just about anything, and recently shared with a reader that I cook or make 95% of the meals I eat which for me reduces much stress and because having taken the time to assess what I need and plan a weekly menu (simple, but helpful), I know that I have the fresh ingredients stocked so I can step into the kitchen at the end of my work day and cook a good meal. I choose to do this not necessarily because it is cheaper (it is), and while yes, often healthier (but not always), I do so because I genuinely enjoy stepping into my kitchen, and have made my kitchen (which is small) as highly functional (and removed unnecessary clutter) for how I cook as possible (a list of the 15 essentials utensils I recommend).

Whether you live alone as I do or with others, if you are the person who does the cooking or one-part of the people who cook in your household, work on clearing out the clutter that gets in the way of eating well and satisfying your appetite (food and utensils), so that you will know what you need to enhance this daily ritual of savoring deliciousness.

~Be sure to check out TSLL’s cooking show, The Simply Luxurious Kitchen for simple, delicious ideas to inspire you to enjoy stepping into your kitchen.


11. Being surrounded by voices and ideas sharing limited, ignorant or surface thinking

As our awareness deepens through strengthening our mindfulness, it will become easier to discern constructive voices, distracting voices, draining voices and thus each of these are unnecessary voices in your life. From individual people – friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc., to media sources – television programs, social media personalities, etc., such voices are clutter that you would benefit from their removal.

When you clear away such voices and ideas, you free up space in your mind for creativity to enter and dance about instead of being plagued with worry and angst about ideas or ways of thinking unconstructive to a life of fulfillment and contentment.


12. Holding on to the habit that you have to hold an opinion about anything discussed or on the ‘top news of the day’

“Formulating an opinion is not listening.” —Rick Rubin

One of the simplest things we can do to reduce stress and to thus uncluttered our daily lives is to refrain from having opinions about [the latest top new story]. Unless it affects us directly or we need to construct an argument on the topic for work as it is part of your work description, there really is no reason to hold an opinion on said topic.

Part of the reason we want to have an opinion lies in the errant belief that if we don’t, we look ignorant, but in fact, as Carl Jung reminds, “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” In other words, when we hold an opinion and voice it, we are placing judgment, and when our opinion isn’t necessary, we create stress for ourselves (and maybe others we are talking with as well), and in so doing, often reveal that we need to exercise ability to think more critically. And if the topic doesn’t directly affect us, as mentioned above, most of us are not going to exercise critical thinking as it is a mental exercise that requires energy that would be better utilized elsewhere. However, if a topic is of interest, why not deepen the conversation by asking questions, what is unknown, why did this happen, who was there, what prompted it, what is the full context? instead of declaring your opinion. Questions are helpful to begin the process of exploration rather cementing ourselves into a spot we may later find is not where we want to be (i.e. burdened with more stress).


13. Your inability to remain present throughout your day

“Breath itself is a potent vehicle to calm our thoughts, create space, and tune in.” —Rick Rubin

Quieting the mind, strengthening our mindfulness practice through meditation gives us a priceless tool to reduce the clutter of unnecessary thoughts, and when we aren’t thinking about what just happened (past) or what might happen (future), we are able to be present. And when we are present, we clear away the fog and begin to see and understand more clearly all that surrounds us at any given moment. Another way of saying this is our awareness strengthens.

I look forward to talking more about the power of being present in a future podcast episode, but quickly, when we are able to see with more clarity, when we have a strengthened awareness, we make better decisions, and our lives have no choice but to begin to improve and we thus find a deeper contentment and joy of living in our everyday lives. Why? It all begins with removing the clutter accumulated by living in the past and future rather than in the present.


Perhaps you don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’ as the quote that began today’s post suggests when referencing creativity, but I would argue that in fact, you are an artist. We each are artists. We are artists of our one and only lives, and in order to find what brings us peace, in order to make the best decisions for our unique life journey, we must get beyond the clutter. And the good news is that we each have the power to do this.

As the new year continues to unfold, explore where the clutter in your life resides and upon identifying it, choose to tend to it, let it go or remove it so that you can live more peacefully and more fulfilled in your everyday life.

SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

normanchairbookshelves

41 thoughts on “13 Unexpected Forms of Clutter Preventing Your Everyday Life from Soaring

  1. What a refreshing and deeply thoughtful post on decluttering that goes way beyond physical items in the closet and home. This gives me so many new and fresh ideas that I will start to adopt. Thank you!

  2. New bookshelves! What a wonderful way to start the New Year! I’m editing and trimming by book collection to better organize and enjoy the bookshelves I have, but it isn’t easy. Fortunately being able to donate to my local library makes the process feel better.

    1. Deborah,

      Ah, yes, donating so more people can enjoy what we have had the good fortune to enjoy for a duration does help. 🙂 Bonne courage as you move through this process with your books!

  3. Oh how I resonate with this post at the moment !

    I am currently having some interior decorating done , and so having to empty bookshelves , clear surfaces and move furniture , to empty the room before painting can commence………and I live in a very small house 🙂
    So I have been very aware of my possessions recently.

    However, I know that the results will be worth all the upheaval , and it has made me examine each book , article and piece of furniture as I move it from its usual place , and decide whether it actually needs to be put back there or not !
    Several donations have been made already, and I think there may well be more to follow 😂

    I don’t know if you follow Dr Rangan Chatterjee , Shannon, but he did a fantastic podcast interview with Rick Rubin a couple of weeks ago , it is well worth listening to .
    I have reserved the book and audio book with my library , but will need to wait until March to receive them .
    I decided to borrow the book from the library first, but I think I may well buy my own copy , as so much of what Rick Rubin shared during the podcast interview resonated with me .

    Thank you, as always , for such and interesting and thought provoking post .

    Your new bookcases look great , and isn’t it lovely to have a proper space for all your books now .

    I hope you will have a week filled with space to enjoy ‘being ‘

    With best wishes from the UK to everyone.

    Anne

    1. Anne,

      So enjoyed your comment and thank you for sharing the journey you are going through. I will definitely be checking out the podcast episode you mentioned as I enjoy Chatterjee’s (inspired a podcast episode of my own on stress) and the two men conversing about Rubin’s book would be a treat. Thank you again!

      I am excited for you as you customize your home – the transformation will no doubt be worth the limbo period as our home’s items are moved and reconsidered. Such a thoughtful and emotional journey you are on. Enjoy and thank you for the wishes for the week of being! 🙂

      Delighted to see your comment. xo

    2. Anne that’s a very lovely project to start off the New Year. The upheaval will be worth it. That way you’ll have the rest of the year to enjoy the joy of your new décor. I listened to Dr Rangan’s podcast and that one was very interesting. Have a l8vely week. L8ve . Kameela xx

  4. Thanks as always, Shannon, for such a well-rounded and thoughtful ‘list’ for de-cluttering, it has been very inspiring…much needed at this point in the year!
    Thanks and best wishes to you and your pups! X

    1. Tracy,

      Thank you for stopping by and you are most welcome! Inspired by where I find myself at this moment and the lightening of the unnecessary burdens I have felt I wanted to share so readers could experience the same ability to soar in their own way. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

    1. Nancy,

      They are some of my most used cookbooks and what I also love about them is that I don’t think I will ever run out of a recipe to try or skill to learn! 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week! I am wrapping up my French homework this afternoon for the week ahead. Wishing you a great week of class!

  5. Thank you so much Shannon for this informative and motivating post! I am reading this first thing in the morning as I enjoy my coffee… I find this post very motivating to start a productive day and week!
    Diane

  6. Doing vs being- what a great topic. I have two friends that do so much all the time that I am exhausted just hearing about all their activities. They both have questioned me several times about my not being as busy, traveling as much etc. as they are. It is hard to explain to these more outgoing people who are probably experiencing FOMO that simply staying home and enjoying my own company is one of my favorite things to do. So happy we live in a world where we don’t need to be the same and can make our own choices.

    1. Hansgirl,

      Thank you for sharing this experience, as I know for me, it has taken a long time to not feel guilty when it’s clear my explanation of how I will be enjoying the weekend or the evening, etc. is clearly not what others deem ‘acceptable’ and thus extend pity. What I am realizing, experiencing first-hand is that for me, the being is more deeply nurturing, peace-bringing and exciting because I hold no expectations of what has to be and therefore celebrate and delight in whatever comes, as well am more capable of navigating the unexpected and the rare unwanted.

      Thank you again for your comment. Have a wonderful week and many regular moments throughout the week of savoring just ‘being’. xo

  7. Lovely post. Resonated with the extra bills discussion. To keep those monthly bills to a minimum, I try to go with annual payments for things (even streaming services). For multiple reasons, but the biggest two are that it’s easier to budget (I have the money now, pay and don’t need to worry monthly if I remembered to budget that 5-10 subscription) and also so that I only have to think about those bills one a year vice once a month and I have time to evaluate value or if I want to switch to something different.

  8. Excellent! What an interesting article, Shannon. 🙂

    Doing/ being, is not just a problem of American culture. “What are you doing this weekend?” is a question that I get frequently, as “Freizeit” is a mainstay of German living. My answer is usually: “Nothing in particular, I will just be lazy.”, which is an answer that people can understand – although what they really are thinking is: “How boring.” 😉

    As a teacher of creative work, I can say that constructive breaks are important to the creative process, more, they are indispensable. It is necessary to stop thinking about this or that project, let it all go, take time out and let it all percolate. I call it the “settling of the dust”… The mind will keep working on it for you, in the background, presenting you with a new idea or a solution, in due time. Ignore the “settling of the dust” at your peril. Distractions of other kind are damaging to the flow of the creative work, so no phone ping ping… 🙂

    Taxes – I file my receipts by categories as soon as they come in, so that when tax season comes all will be at hand in an orderly manner. At the beginning of each year, I remove the documents of previous years no long necessary. As a private household, we do not need to keep files in archive like an institution, thank goodness.

    Capsule wardrobe, capsule menus and culled kitchen equipment, are a must for me, to keep life streamlined and the mind free.

    An ocean of opinions: unfortunately a very common practice of our culture, in which the capital sin is, goodness forbid, not to have an opinion about everything under the sun… 11 and 12 go together, and the constant clutter-chatter buzz is something that I abhor. A strong word, I know, but I really have no patience for that.

    I think to explore more deeply n. 9 would be an asset to the TSLL course.

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂

    Thanks for this brilliant article, Shannon! Give a hug to Norman and pats on the head, from my part. He is so cute so sweet and cute!

    1. Also appreciate your 2 cents! My thoughts as well. It makes me tired. Actually physically tired, and I don’t have time to be tired;)

    2. I enjoyed your comments too Isabel 🙂

      I think that , sometimes ,the question ‘what are you doing this weekend ? ‘ can just be a friendly and kindly enquiry from an interested friend , or neighbour ,or acquaintance , rather than a challenging question .
      And this can sometimes leads to an invitation to join them for a shared activity , if that is something that you would enjoy .
      Naturally , if it is something which you would prefer not to / aren’t free to , you can just smile and explain that you are looking forward to having some ‘being ‘ time , rather than ‘doing ‘ time, while still appreciating the invitation .

      I love your comment about ‘ the settling of the dust ‘ ……isn’t it wonderful when the ideas just pop into your head 🙂

      I hope you have had a lovely week.

      Anne

      1. Hello, Anne,

        Yes, it is all friendly, a little small-talk on Friday afternoon… The only “challenge” is my own: to come up with a different answer every now and then… 😉

        🙂

  9. For me, clutter is defined in several ways. Right now reducing the visual clutter in my studio is essential. After the first of the year, I usually take two weeks off before I release the creative juices and begin working on new designs and finishing up projects that were set aside during the holidays. This means clutter that has really taken on a personality of its own. As a fabric artist, I keep and document on a loose schedule. Right now I am prepping projects for Christmas in July while involved in several other projects. Aging has taught me to reduce clutter, to keep routines, and live the life that works for me. Working mostly on my own works for me. I know others who thrive in the quilting/fabric artist community surrounded by like spirits, traveling, and bonding in their mutual passion. Tried that, and no thank you. That becomes clutter for me, too much stimulation, too much distraction. Give me some classical music, a humming machine, and a sweet little dog beside me and I am good, for hours. Thanks for such an intuitive offering today Shannon.

    1. Lucy,

      Your final visual you so beautifully described sounds quite similar to my days and where I am most productive and content as well. 🙂 (my humming machine being my computer, but everything else, yep, we are kindred spirits! ;)). Thank you for all that you have shared.

    2. Lucy your crafting routine sounds perfect. I’m not a big fan of group activities except my cooking club. I’m tackling my craft cupboard this week. Lots of paper and inks to sort out from my card making and calligraphy projects. It’s overflowing as I’ve been meaning to do it for while but haven’t got round to it. I’m motivated by Shannon’s post and seeing what other members are planning. Have a lovely week. Kameela xx

      1. Cooking club, is such an affirming activity. Pre-pandemic such activities were common within my community. While there is some trepidation among some of the groups, things are getting back to normal. My most recent group was dedicated to traditional Polish fare. It was sponsored by an authentic purveyor in the area. They actually filmed us one day and that was used in their advertisements for a few years. Of course, I had on a black shirt, and flour everywhere (we were making pierogi) what a sight! I miss that! Cook on Kameela, wave the banner for good food, great conversation, and like spirits.

        1. Thank you Lucy I will continue to wave the banner for shsring good food.Cooking and sharing good food is ingrained in me by my culture. It brings such joy. I’m trying to picture you with flour scattered all over your black shirt. Hilarious but I doubt whether you were amused. Made me smile.I always wear an.apron to avoid disasters. KameelaXx

    3. Oh Lucy, this sounds so lovely !
      I hope that you have had an inspirational uncluttered and serene week , and have been able to enjoy your music, humming machine and sweet little dog 🙂
      Anne

      1. Oh thank you Anne, of course after two sessions my desk is stacked with reference books and I have thread in my hair. Ah, the life of contentment as I define it. Have a lovely day and enjoy the journey of finding what works best for you.

  10. Yes! A TSLL post on decluttering! I have wanted this for so long – and it’s a bonus that it covers more than just physical things. I particularly like #11 and find I’m in a time of life when I need to really tune out unsolicited opinions about the choices I make. Thank you, Shannon, for the thoughtful list and helpful concepts!

  11. Thank you Shannon for an inspiring list. Your book shelves look very cared for . Your collection of cookery books is impressive. January for me is the time to start spring cleaning my whole house. I don’t like physical clutter and don’t have much cluttering my thoughts at the moment except I think I have been over indulging in the media output recently. So that is something I’ll be addressing. I have two tasks albeit small.ones which are annoying me and need my attention. One is my inbox. Try as I might I.seem to have far more than is necessary for someone who is retired. When I was working I managed my emails efficiently but somehow now it seems to have a life of its own! .The other is my craft cupboard. I’m accumulating more materials and trying to fit them in the same space. So with inspiration from you I can’t wait to.get started.
    Oh why oh why do we get these questions . Growing up just ‘being’ was an art form We were purposeful in what we did no matter how small. Our quality of life was not measured by ‘doing’. It’s a lesdon that has served me well. What are you doing this weekend”. As Weisserose says it isn’t just in the US. I get asked that and about holidays a lot. I don’t always have holidays now as I’m living somewhere which makes me feel that I’m always on holiday. When I reply that I’m not planning a holiday I always get a surprised look.
    In our current climate with social media almost everyone has an opinion and make no bones about voicing it without thought of the hurt and damage it might cause . Keeping one’s counsel these days seem almost old fashioned.
    Wishing you and the pups a very lovely week. Kameela😊

    1. Yes !
      January inspires me to Spring Clean , clear and tidy as well Kameela , both in the house , and in the garden, if the weather is kind enough .
      For me, I think it’s partly because once the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year , there is an opportunity to refresh everything ……I have to move some of the furniture from its usual place to make space for the Christmas Tree , and once Twelfth Night has come , everything can be put back again.
      It sometimes makes me think of Mole in ‘The Wind in the Willows’ too though, when he says ‘ Hang Spring Cleaning ‘ and just has to get outside into the open air !
      I hope you have had a lovely ‘just being ‘ week , I’ve been enjoying your Instagram posts 🙂
      x Anne x

      1. I agree Anne, once the post-holiday clean-up is done I am also itching to get outside and dig a bit, plan the next season, and sort out any damage from ice and snow. It will have to wait for me though, it is mid-Winter here. Until then, I dream and make lists. Enjoy the planning, I am also going to side with the Mole!

      2. Ha!Ha!. Love Wind in the Willows. Mole had the right idea .Take it easy moving furniture around. It will be lovely when It’s all finished xx

  12. What an incredibly interesting post, Shannon. So full of things that made me say “Hmm!”. I’m going to read it again in a day or two after I’ve had time to digest some of your points more fully. The whole idea that the clutter in our lives goes well beyond just the state of our closets is an important one. Two that leapt out at me at first reading: #9 & #12.

    I’ve long thought that for all the pain, loss & grief it created in the world, Covid gave many of us space we might otherwise never have had to work out some of #9. For instance, travel. When we decided to retire early, we figured we’d be traveling because that’s what we thought we “should” be doing. But when Covid sent us home & told us to stay there, my husband & I heaved a huge sigh of relief & took to being homebodies with enthusiasm. And while we both love our families, when Covid meant staying home for Christmas & other family events to spend time together, it was a gift. Basically, Covid gave us the excuse we needed to step off the treadmill of other people’s expectations to explore & then embrace our own best selves.

    And as for#12: our recent digital sabbatical — which went on for far longer than we’d planned because the less digital interaction we experienced, the less we wanted — made both of us realize how easy it is to get caught up in exactly that need you describe to voice an opinion. I’m still a political junkie & women’s rights activist & that’s never going to change, but I don’t have to be involved in EVERY discussion about it 🙂 It’s probably more efficient (& certainly less frustrating) to simply do the work that needs doing & stop arguing about it. LOL!

  13. “Keeping one’s counsel” – haven’t heard that phrase in a while and something I confess I wasn’t very good about the last few years of my work life with all the unsettling changes coming there. In a way they helped declutter my self-doubts about the right time to retire! A retirement project (once taxes are ready to hand off to our accountant)
    is a couple of good-sized bookcases that need going-thru and have been dragging my feet on as selectively parting with some won’t be a bit easy!

  14. Shannon, brilliant post. Each point is an excellent guidepost that can help map our way through the weight of the clutter, crystallize our purpose, and clarify our pathway to our unique creativity. I LOVE #8, a fantastic reminder that, as I am woefully guilty of #4, time to take heed of the advice in #2, and (re)create a nice firm schedule, and darn it, just stick to it. It’s as you wrote in today’s post from The Road to Le Papillon:”The only way to move through something is to strive forward.”(love that!)
    Many thanks for all the inspiration!xx

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