Clean out a closet to clear your mind 6

It’s a crazy thought, but it works. As adolescent, cleaning my room and having a clear mind always happened simultaneously. Most of the time my room was a mess. And when it was very chaotic in my¬† mind too, it was time to clean up my room. My mind got cleared too.

“If you want to improve your life immediately, clean out a closet. Often it’s what we hold onto that is holding us back.” (Cheryl Richardson)

I still wonder how it works. When cleaning the room I had to make lots of decisions, where to put this and where to put that, what to keep, what to recycle and what to through away. Sometimes it took ages to clean my room because I couldn’t decide. But when forcing myself to decide, my mind became clear too, not only regarding my room but also regarding all the other chaotic stuff with school and boyfriends. It feels like taking decisions on the profane level of cleaning my room helped me to take decisions on major levels of social relations, love, purpose of life etc.

The best part is, that in a clean room I suddenly felt free again to be creative!

Do you have (had) similar experiences? What’s your explanation?



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6 thoughts on “Clean out a closet to clear your mind

    • hildespille Post author

      Thanks for reminding me, Dhamma. The interaction between body and brain has been neglected in the European culture for far too long. Do you have a link where I can read more about that cleaning process in Zen culture?

      • Dhamma Ace Yamashita

        Ms. Spill,
        As far as your subject of your writing here based on your experience, you are right about this. It is not Cleaning = Creativity. However, the process of brain work connected to creativity in a complex way. I mean by creative is not only by artists. Much broad.
        Answering your question to reading about this process, won’t help much. It is the type of thing that you experience and learn with your body. So, I would say, the best way is to visit Japanese Buddhist Temple and experience. That will give you much profound idea than read.

        I am a musician. But same time Buddhist monk and Martial Arts practitioner. All thing impossible to learn by reading. “Do” is an experience. Read is not.
        Welcome to Japan!

  • Mark Russell

    As a composer with an interest in psychology – cognition specifically, I would say its not quite that simple for me. Tidy doesn’t help me, neither does chaos. Knowing where everything is can be extremely helpful to creativity as it minimizes flow disruption, but that does not equate with tidy, and for me that means whatever I need must be at hand and not in a cupboard. Visual stimuli are known to help the creative process. so working in one individual’s notion of ‘clutter’ may help another. My own career in creativity started by being inspired by a rebuild of an art room at school to completely fill it with junk. Everything from stuffed owls to motorcycle gear boxes were strewn around and I became instantly switched on. Of course if an individual’s childhood conditioning holds clutter to be ‘bad’, then there will be a negative emotion, which can be counterproductive to art, and similarly if order is ‘good’ then that is likely to have a positive effect on personal confidence which frequently knocks on to creativity. So like most answers that consider human psychology I think the unimpressive answer will always be “It depends”.

    • hildespille Post author

      I agree with you, Mark, that it’s very individual. My own definition of clutter and order has changed during the years. A reader of my post on LI came with a very intriguing comment. He said, that creating order is what creativity is about, creating a very individual vision of order.

  • Dhamma Ace Yamashita

    Ms. Spille,

    This is a replay for your comment on LinkedIn. Somehow I can’t leave any comments. It doesn’t accept. So…here it is.
    — I think bringing Chaos into the order is also the creativity that is mankind has been doing it.
    As I am trained improviser and as a musician whole my life, I believe true creativity is not accidental, rather the inevitability.
    Japanse culture is strange and unique. Many people would even feel some contradiction at beginning. Buddhism Zen and Bushido. Both learn self-control for the different purpose. But Merge at the end.