When Out of Sight is NOT Out of Mind

On a recent Clutter Boss Academy coaching call, one of my Clutter Bosses posed an interesting question:

Why do I feel so relieved when I declutter my drawers when I don’t see the mess inside of them every day?

Then, another Clutter Boss was celebrating cleaning out a storage unit. And while this is a massive success, and now she’s saving money every month, it brings up another challenge because that usually means more items come into the garage, or basement, or attic. Faced with this new challenge of more clutter in the garage, she asked:

Should I rent another storage unit for ALL of the items that are now my garage, so I’m not looking at it every single day? And then I can tackle it, just as I did my last storage unit?


Because out of sight is NOT out of mind.

Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? Think about it. When the person you love lives far away and you don’t see them every day, are they out of your mind? No! I’m pretty sure that’s why we say “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” right? Because that person is always on your mind.

Just like with people, we have a relationship with our stuff. This relationship can be financial, physical, and emotional. It’s hard to declutter, because to a certain extent we have a relationship with these items we bring into our home. Decluttering is so much more than simply throwing things out.

Owning a storage unit means you automatically have a financial relationship with it and the items in it. You write a check every month, to pay for the storage unit that houses all of the stuff that you’ve bought. How do you feel when you write that check every month?

When we bring stuff into our home, we’re filling up space. And so begins the physical relationship with our stuff. As we accumulate more things that take up more space, how many items are we moving to those “out of sight” areas in our home?

Physics tells us that two items cannot occupy the same space at the same time. We can’t add anything else to those spaces, without our home feeling like a storage unit. And if you feel like your home has become a storage unit, please read about this very subject in my advice column in the Albany Times Union Spaces section.

As for our emotional relationship with clutter, the principles of feng shui teach us that these out of sight areas in our home, specifically the basement and the attic, do indeed have a significant impact on our lives. For example, in feng shui the basement is the foundation of our relationships. If there is clutter in your basement, it will have an impact on other areas of your life. The attic, in feng shui, is the receptor of information — like the brain of our home. If there is clutter in your attic, it can hinder your ability to bring in new information and new experiences.

Just like in the physical space, no two emotions can occupy the same space at the same time. If there’s a small, negative emotional impact on the item, then it takes up the space for positive emotions.

For example, if writing the check for the storage unit each month is an emotional weight on you, that space cannot be occupied by a positive emotion. Your storage unit is emotionally impacting your life.

If you feel overwhelmed every time you open that drawer, a negative emotion takes up space in your life.

This week, I challenge you to think about the spaces that you don’t see all the time. Are they weighing on you — financially, physically, or emotionally? Open your closet. Walk into your garage. How do you feel? Figure out how these spaces make you feel, and realize how they might be affecting other areas of your life.

Are you looking for a supportive, non-judgmental community to help you with decluttering these areas? I’d love to have you join our next Clutter Boot Camp!

[I’m ready for boot camp!]

Want more tips like this? Subscribe to my YouTube channel for my weekly podcast, “It’s All Clutter.”

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Photo credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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