Clutter and consciousness

Do you view clutter clearing as a tiresome chore? Think again. It’s awakening! Clutter clearing changes the energy of your home and brings about corresponding changes in your consciousness too.

Man in supermarket

When Richard and I lived in Malvern, England, there was a man who sometimes shopped in our local Waitrose supermarket who would get very frustrated by people dawdling in the aisles. In a booming voice that wouldn’t be out of place on a Shakespearian stage, he would chide them with comments such as ‘Wakey wakey!’ and ‘Oh dear, mustn’t move too quickly, I might wake myself up!’ He did this so loudly that everyone in the store could hear.

He was cheerful, well dressed, looked perfectly normal, and was either happily deranged or super intelligent and somewhat eccentric. Either way, he was able to maintain an awareness of his surroundings while most people around him had sunk into supermarket stupor. They quickly got out of his way, allowing him to shop and leave in record time.

Clutter is unconscious

I must admit I welcomed the effect his comments had and felt a certain empathy with him. My Clear Your Clutter book, after all,  is intended to give people a similarly awakening jolt – not about shopping, but about clutter. What he and I share in common, in our different ways, is addressing people’s unconsciousness in their daily lives.

Clutter, by its very definition, is unconscious. It consists of things not dealt with, hidden away in cupboards and in the closets of our minds and emotions. Tackling it requires a conscious decision to break through the sleepy layers to confront it, deal with it, and move on. As Carl Jung so famously said, ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’

Clutter clearing my cupboard

To further explain the connection between consciousness and clutter, here’s something I once wrote after doing some clutter clearing myself:

I’m sitting here looking at a trash bin full of things I’ve just cleared out from an office cupboard containing three shelves and two drawers. The bin is full of out-of-date catalogs, software manuals, and the like.

I’m reflecting on how I feel as I sit here. I feel a bit grubby, especially my arms and hands. It’s not just the feeling that comes from handling objects that are a bit dusty. There’s something more. I feel covered in the sticky residue of stagnant energy that collects around clutter. A quick wash of my hands will clean it all away.

Now I’m tuning in to the cupboard I cleared, which is across the room from where I’m sitting. Everything in there is ordered now and only contains items that are current and useful. Even though the door is closed, I can remember every object that’s inside it, as if I have X-ray eyes. I remember what each thing feels like to touch. I remember exactly where I placed it and the other similar items I placed alongside it. It’s all still very fresh in my memory.

I particularly enjoy the empty spaces around the objects, which used to be so full. Air and energy can now circulate in there and there is room for new things to come in. New possibilities can open in my life.

This leads me to realize that the energy inside the cupboard feels twinkling. It feels bright, clear and ready for action. And I feel twinkling too, as if sorting and cleaning out the cupboard has sorted and cleaned something inside me too. It’s not the cupboard that is ready for action. It’s me.

Also very interesting is how illuminated this cupboard is in my consciousness compared to all the other cupboards in my home, as if it’s in vivid colour and the rest are insipid greys. I notice that when I cast my perception around, the next most lit-up area is a drawer in my bedroom, the last area I clutter cleared a week or so ago. Both places seem so much brighter than the rest, so much more vital and alive. That’s why, for me, clutter clearing is never a chore. It’s a treat I always look forward to.

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2012, updated 2021

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Related article
Why there’s very little point doing any kind of personal development work if you haven’t cleared your clutter first

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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5 Responses to Clutter and consciousness

  1. Karen,

    Having read your “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” book repeatedly for years, I was very interested in reading your thoughts on one of your own personal, rather than professional, clutter clearing experiences.

    I have a question for you. Every time I clear some clutter, I am fine during the day but start to feel not-so-good about it at night. If I can get past the first night without putting everything back, I am fine. Other times, I can’t and I end-up putting everything back. What would you attribute this to?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vanessa

      The thing to remember is that clutter itself is never the issue. It is only the symptom of an issue. You will need to look at the underlying fears you have about letting go of things in order to resolve this.

  2. Thanks for sharing the Carl Jung quote. We perform so many daily tasks on an unconscious level, especially when it comes to storing and sorting our possessions. Trying to sort out our clutter at a later stage then becomes quite a daunting task. We need to let go of possessions that are no longer of any use to it, and we are forced to reassess our spending habits.

  3. I can relate to this from a slightly different perspective. After Annette Kurtz space cleared my house several years ago I was enjoying the sparkling energy. A few days later I needed to look for something in a deep drawer and came across some old jewelry and several odds and ends. I took what I needed but left a few things on the floor. When I came back later to put them away I felt a little nauseous – I could feel this “yuck” kind of energy around the things I had dug out of the drawer. It was fascinating.

    On a slightly unrelated note we have been cleaning out things while our daughter has been visiting over the holidays. We went through lots of old jewelry – much from family but, though quite old, of little monetary value. I decided to give a couple of pieces to my niece. She was thrilled to receive them. Interestingly when she opened the second piece I was suddenly hit in the gut with a strong feeling of loss. I almost wanted to cry. It was amazing to see the hold it had on me. I believe it had been my grandmother’s. I never wore it and never would but somehow it had always “been there” in my jewelry box. We were at a family party and I just kept breathing and smiling. It looked lovely on her and she was so happy! I decided to just keep watching how I was feeling.

    Now that I am home the next day I feel okay. Perhaps a teeny twinge of feeling is left but that is accompanied with a feeling of freedom. I come from several generations of people who have really imbued things with a tremendous amount of personal feeling (!) and it is often a challenge to overcome that. Though it is a struggle, I look forward to more areas of our house being filled with sparkling energy in 2013 having had the privilege of experiencing that through Karen’s work and teachings.

  4. thanks again for the reminder! I can really relate to this as well as I’ve just cleared out a stagnant catch-all cupboard! I think the recycling bin has not been so full in a very long time – it’s quite remarkable how much paper clutter we collect and never even think about.

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