03/14/2014 01:11 pm ET Updated May 14, 2014

The Working Mind

When you feel stuck in your clutter, the way out of the inertia is to start to clutter bust.

You may not feel ready. You might think you'll do a lousy job. You could be thinking of 20 other things you'd rather do. You may think it's the last thing you want to do.

But starting is the only way out of feeling overwhelmed amidst your stuff.

The reason is when we actually begin the clutter busting process, we are in our working mind. Our working mind is the part of us that is functional. It assesses a situation and then begins to take action. It would be like if you spilled some food on the floor. You would see what happened and then get something to clean it up. It's a spontaneous doing of what needs to be done.

As humans, we are built for action. It gives us the energy we were previously lacking. It gives us focus. It evaporates depression.

We're not productive when we are caught up in our thinking mind. That doesn't mean thinking is bad. We are caught up in the thinking mind when we worry about and over think our clutter situation. We get caught up in what might happen. What if I do it wrong? What if I get rid of something I'll need later? What if other people are critical the things I got rid of? It's fantasy thinking. It doesn't actually involve something real happening in front of you now.

When I first get to a clutter busting job, my clients are often in their thinking mind. They seem exhausted with hashing over their situation. I've often had clients ask if they are my worst client. "Have you ever seen anything this bad?" "Why couldn't I take care of this?" "I think something is wrong with me that I let it get this bad."

They feel like a machine that has broken.

What fixes them is to get them out of their head by taking action. I'll often say, "How about we start. Pick up the first item in the pile. Is this something you like and use, or can we let it go?"

This brings their focus back to what is.

I see the focus return to their eyes. Their breathing slows down. Their mind relaxes. They are able to make a decision. I congratulate them on making a decision so they can feel confident about their ability to take action.

If their thinking mind kicks back in, I'll ask them questions like, "Would you buy this if you were in a store today?" "Would you wear this if you were going out tonight?" This brings them back to the moment, and puts them back in their working mind.

I write this to encourage you to start clutter busting. Find a small area, sit down, pick up the first item and ask yourself if you still like and use it. See how good it feels to take action. That's the working mind kicking in. It gives you energy. Your working mind comes to life to assist you in the process. It's like having a good friend by your side helping you out.

If you want some help, email me at and I'll help you get started.