5 Ways to Overcome Clutter and Feel Empowered

May 21, 2015

This morning I stumbled upon the article 7 Things the Most Successful People Don’t Do

As I began mentally checking off each number, I came to #5 and stopped:

 #5 Successful people don’t tolerate clutter.

 “Oh no! I’m that person.”
Exhibit one, my desk:

Z's Desk

My husband lovingly tells me I’m a messy roommate because I leave piles around the house on a regular basis.

Although I’m disgusted by a physically dirty space, my mind doesn’t view tiny piles of stuff as “clutter.” My organizational system is geographic so my pattern of leaving items around the house may be due to my mind’s penchant for spatial recognition. As a kid, I was the little princess of the game Memory, beating kids and adults. I’d be drawn toward a section and the card that felt right was the correct match. My brain subconsciously memorized cards by location.

We all have systems of clutter; nonetheless, clutter causes stress in our lives. Perhaps you’ve never questioned your system, or it may be a hot point of contention in your relationships.

Whatever system of clutter you gravitate towards, here are a few tips to help you win the tug-o-war with your clutter bug.

5 Ways to Gain Power Over Clutter1) Step one. Awareness:

We must be aware that we have our clutter pattern in the first place. Like GI Joe reminded us, “Knowing is half the battle.”

2) Identify the what:

What spaces get the clutterbug award?

What’s your clutter mode? Do you make little piles, shove things in drawers or boxes, scatter things like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs?

What does the clutter offer you? A way to keep track of things so you don’t loose them or so you can easily find them?

If your clutter could talk what would it say?

Is the clutter a red flag of exhaustion, stress, depression?

3) Fill your need hole:

When you identify the what, you’ll also discover a hole (a need). Maybe you clutter when you’re stressed. Maybe the car is a mess when you feel your life is out of control.

Identify your need and fill it?

If you need TIME, so you might set a block of time on your calendar to address the pile at your desk.

If you need SUPPORT, so you might invite a best friend over to help you sort the box in the garage, throw away junk, and celebrate with lattes.

If you need to MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY, so while addressing the clutter you could brainstorm how to carve personal space for yourself into your day or week.


4) Create a system:

Create a system of organizing your life that works for you (even if it seems silly).

Perhaps your need hole is to give yourself permission to be a little piglet during the day. You can develop a system that will leave your space clean at the end of the day.

In college, I let my room become a mess during the day. Before bed, I’d spend 5-10 minutes putting everything back in its place. Waking up to a neat and tidy room made me feel positive to start a new day.


5) Be consistent and reward:

They say that “Nothing succeeds like persistence,” and persistence moves you forward on a regular basis. Whatever system you create, stick with it daily for at least a month to lay down a new neural pathway.

Reward yourself daily for following your system. Use smiley face stickers on your calendar or write how awesome you are in dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror.

When you include a reward, you’ll be more likely to be proud of yourself and thus continue the system.


When we feel proud of ourselves we feel powerful, and personal power inspires us to work towards our dreams with confidence and joy.

 All success begins one positive system at a time.

With Love,
Z 🙂

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Photo: Pixabay; Z Zoccolante

Z Zoccolante is an author, actress, and fairytale dreamer. As a coach, she specializes in uncluttering and defragging the mind. Her debut memoir will one day help others, who are trying to recover from eating disorders, attain happiness and freedom. Originally from Hawai’i, she now lives in LA. Visit her blog at zzoccolante.com.


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