The Inner Joy of Tidying Up

I’m sitting in the middle of a clutter-clearing project with everything I own piled in a room waiting for me to decide what to keep and what to let go.

Have you ever been in the middle of one of those clutter messes?

Marie Kondo might invite me to go through the pile, one item at a time, and ask what sparks joy. I’ve avoided watching Marie Kondo videos out of fear that the OCD part of myself would get carried a little too far into organizational bliss. But I decide to listen as she guides me to look into my closets, empty all the drawers, hold everything close to my heart, keep what feels joyful and let go of the rest.

The mess I’m dealing with isn’t on the outside. The clutter I’m experiencing is in the possibility closet of my mind.

I decide to listen to the inner voice that invites me to try the Kondo method on my inner clutter. So I sit down, dump all the ideas and thoughts and concerns that are cluttering my mind into a single pile on the pages of my journal. I look at the list. I hold every item to my heart, listening for joy.

This is taking longer than I would like. It’s really messy in here.

Clearing clutter from the mind is not easy, especially for highly creative people who love to say yes to life. Letting go of opportunity and knowing where to focus when there are so many possibilities pulling our attention is one of the biggest clutter-clearing challenges ever.

Add negative news and staggering amounts of information available to our already overly full minds, and it’s a wonder minds aren’t blowing circuits every day. Well, perhaps they are. If you’ve ever felt anger, frustration, overwhelm or stress, those feelings are likely short-circuiting your inner joy.

So how do we tidy up the mind?

We return to empty, using a tool we all have: a simple breath.

Take a few deep breaths of spaciousness between every activity, then use the breath as a metaphor to keep all your spaces clutter-free.

Breathe in: Rest. Meditate. Do a yoga pose. Take a hot bath. Eat good food.

Breathe out. Organize a drawer. Empty an inbox. Take a load to the thrift store.

When I’m working on my inner simple, I almost always start by ordering my physical spaces. Having something practical to focus on relaxes my mind, which creates space and allows it to stop spinning.

As I clear the physical layers, I begin to get clear on what I want to keep in my inner space. It’s a slow dance that brings me back to a place where I can be more clear and calm, productive and joyful, as I move through the ongoing chaos of life.

During my Kondo session, I ended up tossing a few previous commitments into the throw-away pile as I was sifting through the overwhelm. My heart felt heavy when I focused on those parts of my life, so I knew it was time to let go.

Just sitting with the mess brought spaciousness to the rest. I’m still sifting and sorting to see what I truly want to keep, but I’ve decided I quite like this process of tidying up my inner spaces.

What do you need to tidy up in your life (or your mind) to create more possibility this year? I invite you to hold up every activity, club, project, obligation, and idea, to see which still spark your heart. While you’re at it, place any worry, judgment, and doubt in the toss pile.

Once you let go, there will be so much more space for everything you love.


Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett is a highly-creative humanitarian & life-simplification guide who blends her love for writing with her gift of inspiring people to think outside the box. Her fourth book, Simply Enough: Create Space for What Matters is a call to simplify our spaces so we can focus on creating a better world. This book is also a cornerstone of her mentoring circles, where she holds space for deep conversation about what matters while offering creative solutions and meaningful connection to others ready to cultivate more spacious lives of meaning and contribution. When she’s not writing or creating, you can find Sora taking long walks with her mini-schnauzer, working in her garden, sharing time with her life-partner of 44 years, their two grown children and one amazing grandson, or skiing/hiking in the mountains of Idaho where everyday miracles can be found.

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