What in the what is MIND CLUTTER {+ how to kick it to the curb!}

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{Psst! Stay tuned to the end for an exciting announcement!}

Recently, I shared a post on Instagram where I explained that I suffered most of my life from mind clutter and that I would elaborate on what that is so, here we are! In the wake of seemingly constant news surrounding celebrity suicides, what goes on internally is much more important than we like to admit. My clients are quick to call me to help organize their physical clutter, but not as quick to address what’s going on inside, specifically in their minds.

Here’s the thing : what’s on the inside is JUST, if not MORE, important than the outside (haven’t we all heard this at some point, usually in the form of dating advice from a well meaning mom?). What myself and my fellow organizers do is extremely important -  especially as not everyone is born with the organizing gene - but sometimes it can be like putting a bandaid on a pretty serious wound. I call it “the magic wand” effect. We can come in and make your space look pretty and orderly, but if there are underlying reasons as to why you overshop or cannot stay organized, the magic wand can be pretty useless.

*As a side note, there are some cases where I see the magic wand is all my client really needed. Opening their eyes to a system and to have it be aesthetically pleasing to them is the motivation that helps them stay organized. However, this is the exception, not the norm!

Listen, we all have our shit. I’m not going to waste your time telling you all the crappy things that have happened to me in my lifetime that contributed to my mind clutter because, chances are, you experienced the same or even crappier scenarios.

But I will talk about how a couple scenarios create what I like to call “mind clutter” and how it affects all of us. And, more importantly, how we can undo the damage.

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Scenario #1

Being told you’re not smart/good/pretty/whatever enough as a kid

I’m sure at some point in our early lives, someone said something nasty to us. It could’ve been a bully in class, the teacher, a parent or other family member. It doesn’t matter, especially as a child because they take everything so personally. If anyone says anything nasty or negative to me now, I have no problem telling them to gtfo of my sight (or just ignore them because, you know, that’s the more adult thing to do). But when we’re young and impressionable, we believe other people’s opinions of us no matter how wrong they are!

The issue is that we let those harsh, untrue words stay with us for as long as we let them. I used to obsess about how I looked in photos because ONE stupid kid in 3rd grade told me I was ugly (someone my brother bumped into recently and informed me karma wasn’t so kind to him after all oops!). I avoided numbers and math whenever I could because one teacher told me I was awful at it and would mock me in front of the whole class. After college, I settled for shit paychecks because someone close to me once told me that I’ll never be rich and I assumed it was true so why even try?

Letting all the clutter of everyone’s insanely incorrect opinions of me was really destroying my life and it took me a long time to realize it. I wasn’t really going for it and living my life as the incredibly happy and beautiful person I truly was because I never felt good enough or that I deserved to be. I made boring, low vibe decisions for myself - everything from who I dated to what salary I accepted - because all I heard in my head were those horrible comments from people who are neither in my life anymore, matter anymore, or I just shouldn’t have listened to in the first place!

Now what’s interesting is that having mental clutter can easily translate into physical clutter. It didn’t happen to me because since I couldn’t control my thoughts, I found another outlet to control which was my surrounding. But the exact opposite can and DOES happen. I see it all the time. My clients are suffering from depression from never feeling good enough and think “why do I deserve to live in a neat home?”. Often, they get to a point where they can’t take and it call in a professional organizer, but until they are able to address and change the mental clutter, their home will probably go back to being disorganized #sadbuttrue

If any of this resonates with you (just mind or both mind and physical clutter) and you’d like to know how to overcome it, I’ll give you a few tips for what helped me:

  1. Focus on the positives in your life. I know, blah blah, you’ve heard this one before but have you actually put it into practice? A good way to really follow through with this is by keeping a gratitude journal. Since I’m a paperless kinda girl, I use and love the 5 Minute Journal app on my phone (you can see all of their amazing products - including a journal for kids! - here). Just a few minutes a day to reflect on the positives in your life can take up so much space in your brain that you don’t even have room anymore for the negatives!

  2. Talk to yourself...constantly. It doesn’t have to be out loud especially if you live with other humans in the house (dogs are totally fine) or it can be in your car on your commute. Have conversations with yourself and compliment yourself as often as you can. Tell yourself how proud you are of how badass you are, tell yourself you’re hot af, that you’re brilliant. Because, well duh, you are! What this does is replace all the negative things you’ve heard with the positive TRUTH. If you think about it, we’re basically still kids running around in adult bodies and we can benefit from encouragement just as much now as we did growing up. Why not have it come from the person who knows you best? YOU!

  3. Think about positive things people have said to you/the good you do in this world. I’ve had friends and family tell me how great they think it is that I pursued my dreams and started my own business and I choose to focus on that versus the ones who told me it was a bad idea (will address this in the next scenario). I also have had clients tell me, with tears in their eyes, how I helped better their life and how grateful they are and I choose to focus on that versus that one client who never would have been happy with anything and found a way to complain about everythinggg. If you inspire anyone, if you volunteer for a cause, if you’re changing the world slowly but surely, embrace that shit! You are an amazing person for sharing your gifts with the world and this isn’t something to shrug off.

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Scenario #2

Being told that your dreams are dumb/not practical/unimportant

In 2007, I attended an informational meeting for NAPO (National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals) and, at 22 years old, sat in the back of the room with a bunch of 50 somethings. Most were married to, presumably well off men, and made it seem that this was a side hobby for them (at the time, organizing as a profession was NOTHING like it is today!). I shrugged it off and put it on the back burner of things to do when I’m 50 something and married to a rich dude.

I never stopped thinking about organizing and being my own boss and would often tell my parents, boyfriends, coworkers, anyone who I trusted and thought were on my side, that this was my dream one day. Most times I was met with weird looks and told that I can never make it profitable, no one would hire anyone to come in their home just to organize it, and that I didn’t have the business sense to make it work.

Fast forward to 2018 and Sort and Sweet Inc is thriving and I’ve never been happier. Not only have I become a member of NAPO, I also recently joined an amazing partnership program with other professional organizers around the world. In order to get to this point, I had to do a few things which I’ll outline for you below. It wasn’t always easy but damn was it worth it!

If you have a dream or a goal - no matter what it is - it’s up to you and only you to achieve it. Listening to everyone else’s opinions about YOUR life is, you guessed it, mind clutter. They are not the ones who have to live your life so why do they get to help shape and form your decisions on what you do? This may be more difficult mind clutter to clear because it’s usually the kind that’s present in your life today (as opposed to your childhood) but can seriously deter you from pursuing your dreams if you let it linger. Let’s look at some ways that I’ve found help to declutter these sorta situations:

  1. Block the world out. Sounds kinda harsh, I know. Especially if that world is your mom or your hubby sleeping next to you. You have this amazing idea and you just want to share it with those you love! But lemme tell you, those who you love also love you and their first instinct always always always is to protect you. They don’t want you to do something “crazy” like quit your job with amazing benefits even though you hate it and are so excited about your business idea. Keep your ideas to yourself until an actual plan is in place and if you have to talk to someone, find a neutral, unbiased party (I chose a kick ass life coach!).

  2. Reprioritize your social life. I’m not saying give it up entirely, but choose what you do and who you do it with wisely. There will be people in your life who just don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish (especially if you’re being pretty mum about it) and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with them but limiting your time spent with them will help you focus on what you need to do. I’ve been using starting a business as an example since it hits so close for me but it can be any positive life change. Take losing weight/getting healthy as an example. If you’re really dedicated to changing your eating habits, you know there’s always that friend that will drag you out to a restaurant and pressure you into cheating. It’s your job to recognize the possibility of that and maybe turn down their invites to go out (invite them instead to a yoga class or something not involving food). There will be those who don’t understand why you have to work on the weekend so that you can pay off your debt faster. They’ll try to guilt you into calling out sick but you gotta do you. Give them alternate dates to hang out. Or tell them you’ll take off if they agree to pay you what you’re missing out on. Absolutely ridiculous, right? So is your “friend” for keeping you from reaching your goals.

  3. Find a tribe of people who DO get you. There’s a cool lil thing out there called the internet. And while some people on it are just creepy, a majority of them are freakin awesome. I’ve found groups of people - mostly other female entrepreneurs - who go through what I go through and who I can relate to. While I haven't met any of them irl yet, I will be meeting a bunch in San Diego later this year at a summit which I’m flying to alone and staying at an Airbnb with 8 girls, none of us who have ever met! Is it a little scary? Sure but I’m so much more excited than I am nervous. These girls are super positive and uplifting and want to change the world no matter what anyone says to them. I feel that. Whatever it is you’re going through, there is a community of people out there who will understand and help support you through it. Whether it’s starting a business in a niche industry (why I’ve joined groups of other organizers), getting healthy (there are unlimited online fitness groups out there!), or getting out of debt (yup, there are support groups for this too). In the off chance you can’t find one, what’s to stop you from creating your own?

I hope this has helped you understand what mind clutter is because, like a lot of people, I know I suffered from it for far too long and wasn’t even aware what it was! Decluttering my head wasn’t an overnight fix, that’s fo sho. I’m still working at bettering my self talk everyday but it has drastically changed my life, much like removing clutter from your home can do the same. It’s all about focusing on #1 (which is you!) and not focusing on other people’s opinions of you. Which I do think comes easier with age but if I had these skills a decade ago, I very well may have started Sort and Sweet Inc a helluva lot sooner!


Speaking of which! I have something exciting for anyone looking to begin their own business without all the BS! Starting September 1st, I am introducing a four part course all about quitting your 9-5 and going into bosshood. In it, you’ll learn the simplest (because that’s how I roll) way to prepare yourself to transition from one to the other and how to do the exact opposite of the many mistakes I made early on. It will be broken down step by step and include worksheets so I can interact and help YOU personally. From now until September, I’m offering a 20% discount for anyone who enrolls so if this is something you’ve been thinking about in that smart mind of yours, check it out!

Enjoy your August, friends! I’ll be over trying not to cry that it’s the last month of summer…

(JK I'll definitely be sobbing)