Clutter and Toxicity

verb: Cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things
noun: An untidy state

I hate clutter.  I can’t stand a room full of “tchotchkes”.  Piles of papers, months worth of magazines in the corner, dusty shelves because there’s too many things to move to dust properly.  Clothes piled up-a messy desk.  Although I always had a messy desk-and read it’s a sign of a highly productive person.  But that was at work-I hate it at home. Too many appliances on the counter in the kitchen.  Junky drawers.  Closets that want to vomit on you when you open the door.  Don’t get me wrong-I’m guilty of all of it.  I’m in a constant rotation to keep things “tidy”.  In my mind, clutter is a symbol of chaotic energy.  I’m not talking about being obsessed with having to have everything in place all the time.  Not the OCD kind of tidy.  We have a couple of friends that live in a big, old historical house. Every spare inch of countertop, wall space, shelf, dresser is covered with stuff. It drives me crazy.  While it may have some sentimental value, there’s no rhyme or reason as to how it’s displayed.  Just a total jumble.  It’s not a peaceful environement for me.  What’s more, it’s reflective of my friend.  Who has a kind of scattered, chaotic personality. Clutter in her mind as well as her living space.

Yes, there’s the type of clutter you see in Architectural Digest-all very expensive clutter somehow coming together and making for an appealing and sometimes cozy looking environment.  Of course when looking at these photos, we tend to forget that there were God knows how many stylists arranging every little knick knack just right. Staging every angle. I always wonder what the place really looked like a few days before and after the photographers left.  Of course, most of these homes have a staff to keep everything in place.

Too much clutter makes me uncomfortable. It effects my mental state.  And, being uncomfortable in a physical situation can lead to toxicity. Toxic feelings, toxic reactions.  I also see my living space as a very spiritual abode.  To me, dusting is not only getting rid of dust mites, it’s getting rid of old energy.  Everytime I clean my house, I’m conscious that I am conducting a kind of exorcism.  Clean, tightly pulled sheets are important.  I sleep better.  Everytime the trash is emptied it’s kind of a form of letting go of the past-whether it’s the remains of a meal or and empty carton of ice cream or last weeks’ newpapers.

Yes, external clutter can represent a collection of things-mess.

But, what about mental clutter?  There’s a breeding ground for toxicity. All the unnecessary mental bullshit that we/I let roam arouond in my mind.  Fixating, obsessing over so much that I have no control over.  And the craziest things that come out of nowhere-like the Frito Lay song that was in a commercial when I was about 6 years old. Fritos are corn chips-“Munch, Munch Munch a bunch of Frito Corn Chips.” Is it really necessary that I have retained that jingle for something like 50 years??? And that’s just one example!

Now alcohol! Wow! We think that that’s something that will shut down the clutter.  And it does-until it doesn’t.  Of course it also adds to our toxicity, both mentally and physically.  A therapist once told me that the people who were the most controlling outwardly were the most out of control internally.  That certainly seems to be the case with my friend with the house full of tchotchkes.  She is a total control freak.  She tries to anticipate every move and request before it’s even out of a persons’ mouth. When offering to cook dinner for her and her family, she stepped in to give me instructions on how to use the food processor, how to chop garlic, peel a melon….And, I would say that internally, she likes chaos. And, she drinks a lot. Which reinforces my own experience that drinking does not quell inner chaos.

At this time of my life, things are tricky.  I’m not drinking anymore and I’m not working regularly in the extremly stressful catering field.  I wake up calm and write in my journal.  I pray and meditate some upon waking up. I’m able to take long walks to get my endorphins going.  But, because of the political situation here, I find my mind becoming cluttered with a variety of things to be concerned about.  All of it feels very chaotic (of course the head of the “regime” thrives on chaos) and toxic.  Daily, the situation gets more alarming. More toxic. I do what I can to help quell those feelings. I make phone calls to Congressmen.  I write e-mails.  I pray-even for the ones I detest for they need it the most. Sometimes while watching the news or Rachel Maddow, I flash to how I would be if I was still drinking. Let’s just say not a pretty vision-sloppy, indignant, overstating, obsessing, screeching probably.  It’s bad enough without the alcohol. And at least I remember in the morning.

So I suppose the message if there is one, in this post is to try and get rid of the clutter.  Learn to breathe.  Learn some kind of meditation.  Take some time to just “be”.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Enjoy a good meal.  Dust. Take out that pile of old magazines. Be proactive. Don’t drink.

And with that, I’m going to clean out my closet!

With love.



12 thoughts on “Clutter and Toxicity

  1. I agree, clutter is maddening. I’m okay with having “stuff” – it’s the mayhem of knowing I have something (somewhere!) but not being able to find it in the bins, closets and piles when I need it that gets to me. I find mini purges soothing and I’ve started the habit of taking on a few small spaces at a time. A couple of boxes to Goodwill/dump/recycling a month, for me, feels productive, satisfying and not overwhelming. I’ve also limited my internet browsing to a select few news websites. After our election I was overindulging in outrage and, while I like to be informed, I was courting anger in a way that wasn’t good. So glad to hear you are sober and tackling those “pesky” emotions in a mindful way. Inspirational!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The second yoga sutra says that yoga is the conscious stilling of fluctuations of the mind.

    The quieting of the chatter.

    That idea was enough to get me started. And it has come true. Through yoga (and sobriety, etc) I have found stillness and peace.

    It always amazes me that it is possible to quiet the inner clutter.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love an uncluttered home, too.
    I do have too many clothes, though!
    They all have a closet, but I don’t wear them all.
    The simpler I can keep things in my mind, the better off I am, too.
    Thank you for calling and writing congressmen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Don’t lnow if you’re aware of the ap “5 Calls”. It will use your location and give several issues to choose from every day. You pick an issue-such as ACA and it will give you the name and phone numbers of who to call-senators, reps or the Justice Department. It even tells you what to say! It’s a great, easy way to do this and takes minimum time.

      Liked by 1 person

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