Which came first — the clutter or the blind spot?

You have the right to remain cluttered, but any clutter you do retain may get worse and work against you.
Do you wish to call an Organiser?

That would be a great way to deal with clutter, especially if you just want to get rid of stuff or organise it. With proper guidance, you can also use clutter as a clue to personal blind spots — those iffy, moral-dilemma areas where we can’t see or think too clearly. Clutter clues present a valuable opportunity for improvements in both character and life.

The clues turn up while decluttering. Yet it takes an objective eye to spot them. Why is this? Let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing when we talk about decluttering.

  • Clutter can be anything that gets in the way of, prevents, undermines, or sabotages appropriate action.
  • Decluttering involves sorting through that clutter and doing a number of re-’s with it. You can:
    • remove, relocate, rearrange, recycle, re-employ or repurpose it.

In the process of doing this, you may also:

  • recognise that action in some given area could be improved,
  • look at what is adversely affecting the action; and
  • declutter non-stuff in areas associated with the stuff or with the behaviour that created the clutter.

That’s a lot to ask of someone in a cluttered state. Besides, what’s all this non-stuff clutter about?

It’s about how a huge range of mental, emotional, behavioural or lifestyle ‘things’ can become entangled: feelings, ideas, information, relationships, modus operandi, personal qualities, memories, commitments, attitudes – you name it! Any or all of these intangible (non-stuff) items can become cluttered and affect our actions. Therefore, how we deal with them affects how we deal with stuff, which dealings can in turn produce even more internal or intangible clutter.

Decluttering and organising mindfully can leave our hearts at ease, but the clues uncovered are not called blind spots for nothing! A coach who is also experienced in decluttering can guide you through the process efficiently because they can help you become aware of blind spots as you process clutter that has accumulated throughout the back-and-forth cycle.

The clutter cycle that I’ve observed throughout 10+ years of decluttering works like this: We have a small blind-spot in our hearts, minds, conscience or wherever. It’s a little patch of disorder within ourselves, caused by being too busy, preoccupied, upset, worried, guilt-ridden, tired, etc. to fully register the perceptions we’re getting. An easy way to think of a blind-spot is that it’s similar to what you view in retrospect when you say something like, “Oh, I did notice that [smoke] but I didn’t think anything of it [like, that the house was on fire].”  One could seemingly not ‘see’ the smoke at the time, only recalling it in the mind’s eye after some consequence forces us to make a connection.

It’s not always visual by any means. It could be a feeling about a change in the warmth of a relationship, or discomfort about a friend’s behaviour we can’t quite put our finger on. Maybe we read a workplace document that doesn’t gel with company policy, or get an email with squirmy subtext. In any case, instead of consciously noting its real or potential significance, we are struck by a temporary interruption in our clear perception, reasoning or feelings, so we ignore the clues and deal sloppily with the conversation, signal, paperwork or e-message and produce a little physical clutter.

It’s only little – a redirected thought or a glance away, a half-done task or unopened bill. The danger of this first clutter is that it’s not so much a toss of sand in danger of spreading into a desert; it’s more akin to quicksand. We go to do something later in the area of clutter and find we can’t act so freely in it. It’s kind of sticky and awkward, so we add to the clutter or create clutter somewhere else to try and pull ourselves out. This fixes neither the original blind spot nor the initial clutter. All it does is give us a bigger personal blind spot and more decluttering to do.

The resultant vague or generalised stress – because remember, we still haven’t looked at the situation squarely – can make it seem reasonable to then misbehave. Conflict and guilt become more frequent companions. Feeling even worse, yet still not seeing the underlying cause, we’ve now got a pressing reason to create further clutter elsewhere and so it goes – ever downward in blind spot/clutter/blind spot spirals until one day we wake up to the clamour of public disgrace, or to the quiet shame of realising we’ve turned into hoarders.

If we still don’t take action ourselves, our community will step in one way or another and make or break us depending how adept it is at dealing with our clutter and blind spots, and how willing we are to co-operate and set things right.

The Blind-spot Detective addresses the less tangible kind of clutter to produce meaningful, personal results. By selecting the right combination of tangible and intangible clutter to put order into – even at the first suspicion of blind spots, we’re not simply making the place more organised. We’re tearing out the weeds of unhappiness to grow fine moral fibre in its place 🙂

You might refer to this as setting boundaries, a bottom line, or some such; I think of the Blind-spot Detective as your good cop/pre-cop. I’m the coach who’ll haul you up on a blind spot and ask, ‘Are you sure you want clutter with that?’

Tags: zerotohero, blind spot, blind-spot, clutter, decluttering, coaching.