Are you bogged down by clutter?

The other day I spent hours at a coffee shop being incredibly focused on my writing. I came home feeling centered and productive, until I sat down at my desk.  Which looked like this…

Instead of going right back to working on my book I was distracted by everything staring back at me. There were about eleven million things “to do” scribbled on various pieces of paper, a couple of library books I needed to renew, two books on creativity, three of my own journals (all dedicated to different purposes), five bills to be paid, piles of fliers to post, a stack of my son’s artwork (he likes to use my desk as his own creative space), gift certificates to use, a grinning fish on a card (and a partridge in a pear tree).

In the middle of it all sits my netbook. My mind, like my desk, quickly became filled with a sense of being overwhelmed. There was no room to simply breathe.  In a split moment my focus was gone. Instead of opening the file to my book and continuing with my writing, I sat and stared at everything not knowing what to do next. Productivity came to a complete halt as I spun my mental wheels in circles not getting anywhere at all.


By that time I was feeling a bit hungry, so I took a lunch break.

As I ate my penne with sun dried tomatoes, a light bulb went off in my head. I realized that my cluttered desk is a reflection of my cluttered mind. I have allowed myself to become mentally disorganized.

Being creative I’m always coming up with new ideas for artwork, blog posts, book ideas, journal projects, business ideas, website improvements, etc. It’s a great trait, don’t get me wrong. The only trouble is that without a plan for organizing all of these ideas, it can feel like a zoofull of wild animals running around inside my head.

Before another creative monkey was set loose in there I knew I needed to get to work. I needed to organize these thoughts… and clear off my desk.

I took the time right then to sift and sort through the piles.  As I did so, I took immediate action on as many of the little tasks as I could.  Instead of putting it all off for another time, another day, I did it right away.  I paid the bills.  I renewed my books.  I sent out those e-mails on the to-do list.  

What amazed me is how little time it all really took.  Now those items no longer clutter my desk or my mind.  By spending the time to address all those little things and finding a dedicated home for the other items, I have found my breathing space (apparently my cat has too.)  

Doesn’t that look better? Ahhhh…..

Now that my desk is organized, I need to do this with my thoughts too.  I can take the time to sit and address all of the little mental piles I have accumulated, sort through them and take ACTION right away.

 There are countless little things that we all hold onto that keep us from being able to focus.  Like sitting down to write at a cluttered desk, we can not bring our total concentration to the present moment if our minds are cluttered.  

How about you, are you clutter free?  What do you do to keep your creative thoughts and life organized?   

Love & Blessings,


  1. Joann Loftus
    October 26, 2011

    Hahahaaa! Well, it’s good to know I’m not the only person in the world who’s work space is so messy and cluttered I can’t think! Thanks for posting this. It reminds me I need to STOP and clean-up my mess so I can be more productive. I’ve found that if there is a designated spot for storing something (i.e. the scissors go in this basket with all the other cutting tools) then I can get them put away. It’s when I haven’t assigned a storage spot for things that they never get put away. So looking at my desk right now, I see a stack of bills. Well, I don’t have any special place for them (you’d think I would since bills are kinda important!) so they just lay on my work table. I see all sorts of miscellaneous items, all of which don’t have a home! I am going to do some major organizing today and reclaim my work space! Thanks for the post! 😉

  2. Jules
    October 26, 2011

    Soooo true. It never ceases to amaze me how much writing I can get done when I’m in a clean environment. Great post and thanks for reminding me as I need to go tidy my desk!! : )

  3. Jill
    October 26, 2011

    Oh–I completely agree–when I get in the zone, my area is a mess-I don’t have the whole area to myself to begin with so it’s not the biggest space to create. When I do clean up, what a difference it makes–yes! Breathing room–everything feels so much better!


  4. carlanda
    October 26, 2011

    i was going to leave a message, but i need to go and clean my desk!!! great post. thank you.

  5. Jeniffer
    October 26, 2011

    Well, I’m certainly reassured that I’m not the only one with “cluttered artist syndrome.” Thank you all for your reassuring comments 🙂

  6. Christine Barnes
    October 27, 2011

    Oh well Jeniffer, the first thing I would have done would have been to go out and spend those gift certificates lol!! I remember a little while ago you posted a piece about tidying up your space and it propelled me into my studio to do the same. Da daaaaa… we both had super tidy organised spaces. Then this post… and I went to look at my space and saw your mess reflected in mine. Just goes to show its hard to keep up the organisation for a sustained length of time. And I think our minds are the same. So I think its good to have a tidying splurge now and then and clear everything out. I hope you will let us know each time you do this… it will remind me its time for me to do the same.

  7. Jeniffer
    October 27, 2011

    Lol! Thanks for the comment Christine. Glad to know that being repetitive is serving a purpose outside of my own mind 🙂 Maybe we should start a quarterly studio cleaning support group.
    Also loved your comment about the gift certificate. You know I almost did use it, but I couldn’t make up my mind as to what to get. It’s for art supplies and my wish list is too big to get all at once!

    1. christine
      October 29, 2011

      Love the idea of the support group LOL!! Group tidy interspersed with encouraging group hugs!


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