Confession: Sometimes I find myself in a zone where I don’t even notice clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I like order. But when I’m in a creative mode, there is a part of me that seems able to simply ignore it.
However, I have made a discovery that continual clutter ends up rubbing me the wrong way. And I don’t prefer to be irritated. I’m much more likely to notice the joy that lies within each day when my world around me is, well, organized. I am disciplining myself to see organizational tasks as an opportunity to practice gratitude.
Now, I’m not recommending obsessive organization here. After all, the pendulum can swing widely, my friends, and obsessive organizing can steal joy just as much as clutter can. But Scripture seems to contrast disorder against peace (1 Cor. 14:33), so it makes sense to me that a chaotic world lacks joy.
The regular, diligent clearing away of un-necessary, or broken, or dirty things in our physical realms is wise, and leads to a pleasant and ordered life with wide open spaces. And developing this habit in the physical realms of home and office may also help to lead us toward regular, diligent clearing away of unwanted internal things.
The Ten Second Tidy Principle
There was a short season when my youngest was a wee one that Loonette the clown, and her doll, Molly, graced our TV screen. It was all childlike, enthusiastic glory. Her “Big Comfy Couch” tunes continue to rattle around in my brain sometimes; ear worms, shall we say. Although I never developed an affinity for this colorful character, I can say that one of her lessons was helpful with my young children, and continues to help me today: The Ten Second Tidy. (Now, if we actually tidy up the way that Loonette does, practically stuffing everything we pick up behind or under the couch cushions, I daresay we haven’t really tidied at all – we’ve simply relocated our mess. There are spiritual depths to this physical lesson!)
Clear Clutter for a Joyful Outlook.
Can de-cluttering actually impact our joy? Many of us sit for long periods of time each day, required to focus on certain projects at length. In fact, recent global studies indicate that people sit on average 7.7 hours per day, with some sitting as many as 15 hours daily! First of all, this sedentary lifestyle is not only hazardous to our physical health, but it can compromise our emotional health and hinder our productivity. So, whether we are stay-at-home parents or business execs, homeschooling teachers or public school guidance counselors, I believe we all can benefit greatly (emotionally, and in productivity) from planning for periodic de-cluttering of our surroundings and our minds throughout our days.
Not only will it refresh our minds to accomplish regular small tasks of organization, getting up and moving about can re-ignite our thought processes and creativity. Finally, I believe the actual, disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health.
The disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health. Click To Tweet
Below are four sets of 10-second breaks, each intended as springboards to help us to find small, regular windows throughout our days to take “organizational” breaks for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Ten 10-second mental health breaks
- Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths
- Read Matthew 11:28-30
- Write down 3 things for which you are thankful – keep a journal nearby!
- Look out the window and pray for the first person you see
- Look for a co-worker to encourage
- Grab a drink of ice water
- Thank God that He is Living Water
- Text an encouraging message to someone you love
- Pray for God to be evident in this next hour of work
- Especially helpful: Sing the Doxology
Ten 10-second in-your-chair breaks (Office)
- Open your Junk Drawer and discard 5 un-necessary items
- Sharpen 3 pencils
- Color-code your pens
- Draw a picture of something that makes you smile
- File three completed files
- Dust your desk
- Clean your computer screen
- Discard un-necessary papers from your desk
- Set goals for the next hour
- Finally, check off completed goals from earlier in the day.
Ten 10-second out-of-chair breaks (Office)
- Stand, stretch, and do 10 jumping jacks
- Go for a walk: take your paper to the recycling bin
- Re-arrange two pieces of furniture
- Dust a set of shelves
- Clean a mirror or window
- Straighten your books
- Eliminate 3 things from your “to-do” files
- Go up, and then down 2 flights of stairs
- Return an item you borrowed from a co-worker
- Lastly, do 20 wall push-ups
Ten 10-second work-at-home breaks
- Take a walk around the perimeter of your house or apartment building.
- Fold throw blankets and straighten throw cushions
- Dust the living room surfaces
- Straighten up entryway shoes
- Write an encouraging note and stick it to the refrigerator
- Throw away any un-necessary refrigerator notes
- Eliminate 5 things from your junk drawer
- Walk through your home and pray for the people/activities in each room
- Open the windows to bring in some fresh air
- Very helpful: Inhale a focus & energy essential oil blend. Try these from Pure Joy!
Bonus: Check out another favorite essential oil blend – my Joy Blend!
Proactively setting aside brief moments throughout our days to de-clutter will have long-term benefits on our physical and emotional health. These short, regular breaks can help pattern lives of gratitude for the things we’ve been given, and can inspire greater clarity of mind. Even today, we can begin to implement 10-Second Tidy principles into our work or home lives. I pray that as we do, our outlook will be of peace and not disorder. And in that peace, may we find joy.
How do you clear clutter in your home, office or mind? Comment below!