taking back my space

Carefully designed and Amber White scented, my space is a representation of my life. It is where I find solace and obtain creativity. Each item is tactfully placed in its’ area so that there is balance in the space. When the balance shifts, everything falls apart. My life feels out of order and I cannot complete tasks to the best of my ability. The shift in balance created by clutter not only taints my physical space, but it also taints my mental space.

Whether it is organized or cluttered, my space is a clear indicator of the amount of stress that I experience. Often times my physical space falls victim to neglect because as a student I find myself getting so overwhelmed with the amount of tasks I need to accomplish. This inevitably makes my to-do list – which I prefer to do in my space – more difficult to sift through.

I tend to fall into cycles of not keeping track of the organization throughout the week, then resolving the disorder on the weekends. However this behavior is maladaptive because these cycles not only create more stress from me feeling consumed by both my tasks and my space, but the disorganization essentially stunts my personal and professional growth.

At some point, as I did, you grow tired of the clutter-declutter cycles and start seeking resources to help you break them. I started looking toward podcasts, websites, and books for tips on how to relieve myself of these issues that plague my productivity. Many of those sources suggested getting rid of things and looking towards minimal living, and while I appreciate those suggestions, I felt as though I had already tried to live as minimally as possible and it didn’t work for me. Attempting to minimize always hindered me as it led me through a process of recollection when it came to items it was difficult to part with, adding even more stress to my situation. So I decided that I needed a new approach to relieve my clutter.

It was not just an issue of having things, it was an issue of why I felt that I needed those things. I started to explore why I felt certain things belonged in my space. I found that the items that I collected brought me some sort of comfort, even if I was uncomfortable in the clutter, because ironically enough, several things in my possession were items that I purchased when I was procrastinating from mentally draining projects. They were items that reminded me of times where I believed my life was simpler. And so, the cycle continued.

While the clutter in my life was my way of trying to take control, it only led to more chaos. So, I realized that in order to advance beyond my cyclical ways, I had to start the decluttering process. As it began, I wrote down my revelations of the reasons why I collected clutter.

By seeing the list of ‘why’, it was easier to see that my issue was not the act of collecting, but it was what I got out of collecting. I got material items. I got the satisfaction of having control over the things that I was purchasing. But that was not actual control, it was a facade instead, and that false sense of control was only a catalyst for more chaos. So I came to the inevitable truth, that the only way for me to relinquish the falsehood of control was to rid myself of the clutter that became my life.

Figuring out why I maintained clutter and continued organization cycles made it easier to declutter. I stopped associating collection with control. I understood that collection was only a distraction from the tasks in my life that I did not feel that I was in control of. Collecting things only added to the lists of things in my life that I did not have control over.

When I chose to step into the truth, I realized that decluttering is an act of empowerment. It is the taking back of spaces to give them the purposes that they were originally intended to have. My space was meant to be an escape from chaos and a place to produce creativity. However, it can only exist as that when I work not to allow the circumstances in my life to encourage me to taint it. Decluttering items bit by bit was easier because I finally had a purpose for removing them.

So for those who feel that they are being consumed by the spaces they exist within, use this as a reason to take into consideration the ‘why’ behind your clutter. Believe me, when you take back your space, you will be able to take back your life.

Morgan is a student at Salisbury University who is pursuing her degree in English rhetoric. As a writer and active member of her community, Morgan values self-expression and encourages others to express themselves through writing. She is dedicated to using her voice to advocate for internal growth and the development external growth. Morgan is excited to work through this journey with the Well Wildflower community.

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