Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clutter, Money, Abundance & Happiness

I'll have to ask you to forgive the possible random stream of consciousness style of this post. Lots of things in life lately seem to be leading me to ponder Clutter, Money, Abundance and how they tie in to Happiness.

I'm in a fairly intense de-cluttering phase at home. It's coming along more slowly than I'd like it to, but then slow changes are good in terms of Feng Shui. Read more about that in a previous post here.

I tend to be overwhelmed by the clutter, and I'm very aware that I function and thrive so much better in fairly orderly environment. All of this lends credibility to the Feng Shui concept of keeping your home fairly clear.

But there is a mindset to clutter, beyond just what we see. I get weary, sometimes, often really, of digging into the why of things, and would rather just move forward. At times though, it's still helpful to understand why we hold onto the things we do. Here are some recent theories of mine:

1) We're somewhat conditioned to do so.
It seems to be a very American idea that more is better, that bigger is better, that "if I get that (whatever that may be), I'll feel better." I have grown up steeped in this culture, and can admit to all of these ways of thinking. There is much bashing of this kind of thinking in "green" circles, and although I understand that we're at a point globally where dramatic changes are need, I think that an approach to change that includes gentleness with self is the most useful.

2) Things hold memories
Especially if we're very visual, then the things around us remind us of things we want to hold onto. Happy times, people who have passed on, feelings we had and hope to get back.

3) It's just too hard to sort through it all
This one speaks for itself, and I can definitely relate. Looking at stacks and piles can be so overwhelming that I want to shut the door (and do), but those things still take up the same amount of space in our homes, offices, and psyches, even though we choose to ignore them.

So there are some of my thoughts on why. Here are the benefits of letting some go.

1) Better Energetic Flow
When the spaces we occupy are uncluttered, energy flows more smoothly, bringing in good things and clearing out the unwanted.

2) More Time
Less time stumbling, tripping over, avoiding, searching through and navigating around extraneous stuff means more time for the things we love. Time with family, time with friends, time with self.

3) What you don't need may help someone else & is Green
That thing that is just sitting there unused may be of good use to someone who really needs it. And it cuts down on the need for another, and another, another, to be manufactured, which reduces strain on our already over-tapped environmental resources.

4) More Money
Energetically, the less we hold on tightly to, the more flows to us. And in a tangible, concrete way, if we're more aware of our spending and choosing to buy less, we have more money available for intangible things. For experiences, for sharing.

I read this article recently, and another similar one. It's worth a read on your own, but in a nutshell, it states that once we have our basics covered, how we spend our money has a stronger impact on our happiness than how much money we have does. People who donate regularly are generally happier than those that don't even when they can only give a small amount. People who spend money on trips, meals with friends and family, and theater tickets are happier than people who spend it on stuff.

I'll leave you with these thoughts, for now. And the reminder that gentle change can have immense results.


  1. Hi Diana
    Strangely enough - serendipity more likely! - we've both written posts on the extraneous stuff which fills our homes and lives.
    Reading yours, I am once more reminded of your gentleness philosophy. Slowly... gently ... I must hold onto these thoughts!
    Denise x

  2. Thanks! I've followed a link on Denise's blog to get to you, and although you and I have a different spirtual basis, I find what you're saying here both true and really helpful. I'm in the middle of some slow and gentle de-cluttering, and feel that our home is breathing a sigh of relief and starting to live again...

  3. I love this post - I am in great need of a de-clutter, I think tackling one small job at a time is the way to go for me.

  4. This is so close to my heart... I have learned to want for less.. in fact paired down all the trinkets of my life that did not enhance it but only left me feeling troubled and uncomfortable. I still have a long way to go to reach a zen status in my life.. but at least I have learned that less is definitely more!

    Michele x