The “Why” Behind Your Clutter: Seeking God’s Order For Your Life – Part 1

Have you ever stopped to look at the revolving door of clutter and wondered why?  The “Why” behind the clutter? Why you’re attached to certain things? Why can’t you bring yourself to throw things away? Why won’t you stay organized? Why is it so difficult to control?

There is no shortage of how to declutter between Marie Kondo asking you if “it sparks joy.” Let’s not mention the tons of magazines and Pinterest pins showing you “5 Easy Steps to Declutter.

The problem is when you skip the part of the process where you discover “The Why” behind your clutter, it is bound to return.

Getting (and staying) organized is a multifaceted process that has levels and layers. You know on an intellectual level that it takes goal-oriented tasks to help you become more organized and productive.  On the other hand, if you’re worn out from multi-tasking and struggling with time management, you aren’t going to get very far. Clutter causes stress, overwhelm and leaves you unable to think clearly enough to declutter. It’s a vicious cycle.

This brings to mind a gentleman I had the pleasure of working with after a mutual friend reached out to me in need of a Professional Organizer. I packed up my car and headed over to his home. As we spoke, I began to understand the problem.

Here’s a little back story…

Heinrich, a 30-year-old single descendent of Austrian immigrants, was raised in the predominantly German community of New Braunsfels, Texas, by his parents, Helmut and Eva.

Heinrich attended the University of Texas for two years before dropping out to pursue his dream of establishing an Austrian bakery in New York City.  After three years of serious training in Vienna, he returned to America and settled in Long Island, New York, where the local bakery employed him.

Heinrich’s parents were quintessential news-clippers. They saved every newsworthy event, from the end of World War II to the events surrounding 9/11.  They also collected supermarket coupons, magazine rebate promotions, movie reviews, and baking recipes.

After Henrich’s father died, his mom, Eva, moved in, and they shared his two-bedroom apartment.  Eva’s relentless clipping, combined with Heinrich’s ingrained fear of upsetting his mother, led to a situation where his kitchen became completely unmanageable. This is where I entered the picture.

As a result of the clipping, which he felt compelled to continue, Heinrich had no space in his kitchen to bake. Clippings were everywhere: on the counter, in the drawers, even mixing bowls and the pot rack under the oven. His habit had overwhelmed everything else; worse, he took no pleasure in it. Clearly, he had lost his life balance.

Here are 3 simple strategies we used that had a dramatic effect and allowed him to start afresh.

  1. We began by setting up dedicated spaces to both bake and clip in harmony.
  2. A new filing system in an out-of-the-way corner of the kitchen was essential.
  3. Alongside the filing cabinet, we installed a tools center that included office supplies (for example, scissors and envelopes.)

As a professional organizer, I can tell you that it’s not just about getting rid of the clutter. We want to get to the root of it by peeling back the layers with questions, reading body language, so we get an understanding of where the resistance is coming from.

As we worked through the process, here is what happened:

Getting to his “Why”

Pull out from him the need for and the importance of the clippings.   Soon after, Heinrich realized that, like Eva, he was mailing clippings to keep far-flung family members (in Austria, Germany, Texas, and New York) connected, but doing so was at the expense of his own dreams.

Find a new way to honor that hobby

His mother’s passing, the realization that he could remain connected just as effectively via cell phones and email, and the newfound space in his kitchen allowed Heinrich to return to his love of baking.

Removing clutter gets you unstuck in life

Surrounded by clutter, especially in the kitchen, the space for him where he felt most alive, he could only dream about his future.  At the end of this process, he felt inspired to invent recipes and finally opened his bakery in 2004.

As Christians, like everyone else, we understand the value of an organization.  But for us, there are myriad other reasons an orderly life is essential. Our God IS orderly. Ever read the design for the building of the first temple? The details are down to the nails!

Similarly, His design for YOU, like Henrich’s, will only become clear when your life is also in order. An orderly life means your life is more productive.

Have I piqued our interest? In my next blog, I’ll begin to outline the reasons why living an orderly life is essential to know God’s daily purpose for YOU!

Click here to read Part 2!

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