In a sudden fit of do-goodness, I once assigned myself the task of doing something for someone other than myself. It was part of my desire to launch myself further along on my spiritual journey, I suppose. 

So, I started this little business called Labor of Love. Perhaps it was a teach-what-I-need-to-learn sort of thing, because the idea was to help desperate and frustrated folks clear out the clutter in their homes. Hello, Self? Does that sound familiar? Clutter, it is said, is an outer reflection of the content of the mind—at least that’s true in my world. I shouldn’t speak for others. 

The job was an unrealistic, altruistic attempt to help folks carve out a clutter-free space their lives. My fee was their donation to a charity, for which they could claim a tax deduction. It was a win-win-win situation for all concerned; the recipient gained a decluttered space and a tax deduction, a charity received a donation, and I earned the feel-good experience of feeding my need to make myself useful by being of service to someone other than myself. I must have felt desperate to earn some stars in my crown.

It was a mix of heartwarming and exhausting work. It required the use of both physical energy and facilitative skill to help the seriously-cluttered divest themselves of their attachment to their stuff. It was the speedy route to burn out; I soon reached a point where the thought of having to face one more jungle of unbridled clutter made me want to run for my life. Perhaps I would have lasted longer had I been the recipient of the charitable donation.

So here’s the thing about teaching what I needed to learn. To a casual observer, I am the poster child for minimalism, organization, and orderliness. But oh, dear God, don’t open a closet because it will be crowded with decades of indecision; bureau drawers are brimming with doodads and trinkets tangled in a jumble, and a mix of tacky cheap jewelry is scattered in the with the good stuff.  Oh, and then there’s the question of my so-called filing system. Well, need I say more? 

Someday maybe I’ll get around to cleaning up my own act, maybe before I die and dump it in the laps of my survivors. Maybe. Maybe I need a kindhearted, altruistic, declutterer to come to my rescue. Why is the shoemaker’s kid always the last one to get the shoes?

At this point in my life, I’m not feeling overwhelmingly motivated to dive into the closets or the drawers. Except the file drawers. Where paper is concerned, one way or another, I’m going to face a conundrum. Why is it, for example, that I can have a piece of paper in my hand one minute, and in the next, it has mysteriously disappeared, like a sock in the dryer?

Then there is the mother of all messes—the dreaded computer files. How can one pencil-thin thirteen-inch laptop contain such an unholy conglomeration of disorganization? How did it get in such a state of hideous disarray? Ok, I am not going to lay the blame entirely on my own head here. At least part of the problem lies with the maddening updates foisted upon us by the computer geeks and their algorithms, who think that they need to fix something that isn’t broken. After one such “improvement,” any semblance of order became so severely scrambled that I have never recovered. I can only limp my way through my searches, hoping to remember the name of what I’m looking for, and praying for the best. Things that I’d like to save forever risk losing their lives in the jaws of my computer.

Can anyone tell me—is it possible to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter with a clean slate, be reborn into organizational awareness, and help me find what I’m looking for? A new computer will not solve the problem because the old internal clutter will be dragged along and muck up a clean, new space.

Hmm. It dawns on me that I may be describing the human condition here. The clutter of our past is dragged around with us until we make a conscious decision to wipe our slate clean and change our ways. Oh my. Apparently I must have some decluttering to do beyond just closets and computers. 

Maybe in my next life my slate will be cleaner. Oh, but why wait? Why not get a jump start, cross procrastination off my list, and start now instead? I guess it’s an inside job; it’s all up to me. But here’s the good news: I am not alone! There is help if I am willing to reach out and ask. It comes in many forms—from friends, words from kind strangers, dreams, new ideas, new ways of thinking, new insights, or from the wise Voice within myself. And billboards. Don’t forget the billboards. We are never without help. Dream of a clean slate and expect miracles. Ramp up the willingness, and pull out the magic eraser.

I’m dreaming of clean slates and decluttered, organized computer files. Oh, and miracles. Does anyone happen to know a kindhearted Apple computer declutterer with an eye toward the next step up the evolutionary ladder? I donate hourly or by the job.

Or maybe I’ll just donate a Labor of Love to myself.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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6 Responses

  1. Love this! My downfall also is paper and computer files. I’m actually thinking about getting a computer with more space. probably not the right answer.

  2. Well Jewels, you’ve done it again! Hit ye olde nail on the head, at least for me. As you know, I am not a minimalist. Plus I have not one but two houses. 8000 square feet in total, sheesh, ye gods and what was I thinking?! I do not like clutter. I realize it makes me anxious, nervous, upset. And I do keep things tidy, like any good Virgo would. Plus, Pierce & my Fam think I have o.c.d. — so not true, except by comparison.

    My drawers, closets and files are stuffed to the point of dismay, both mine and theirs. Last week I accepted a 12-year annual request from the Rehoboth Art League to put my house on the house tour in 2022. After 12 years of refusal, why now? you ask. To declutter!

    The DC house is easier to keep clutter free since we’re rarely there to add on and it’s fun to keep whittling down what is already spare; plus no files, winter coats & clothes, no real storage. But the beach house? Sheesh!

    And it weighs heavy, even as I continue to do nothing to lighten the load. So setting a deadline like a god forbid house tour with hundreds of folks trompsing through will hopefully get me off my duff. I have one year to get ready and get rid!

    Soul work, oh hell yes!

    Once again, your blog is right on sista. Pleas please keep writing! mucho love, Ginny

    Ginny Daly 202.420.9550 5401 Potomac Ave NW, WDC 20016 7 Tidewater, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”

    >

    1. Well my dear sister-in-cluttered-spaces- unseen, do you mean to say that the hundreds of folks tromping through the hallowed halls of your private space will be poking their noses into your closets and drawers? God forbid! I do hope not! Beyond that, as far as I can see, there is nothing to declutter. You remind me of when I was a newlywed and hated to clean house—(still do)—so I would invite company to give myself a little incentive…hey…whatever works, right? 💕

  3. Yes and yes to all you’ve written. I did declutter my attic, but that’s nothing compared to my computer files, which is nothing compared to the internal me. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone and that I can start somewhere!

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