Clear the clutter to free your emotional energy and liberate your past

Look around you, at work and home. Do you feel overjoyed or annoyed? Your environment affects your moods, attitudes, emotions, and energy level. What things sap your energy? You need to figure out ways to reduce, eliminate, or change your environment, so that it lifts you up rather than brings you down. These tidbits might help.

1. Clear the clutter. This requires effort and can be time-consuming, but the real reason people dread clearing clutter is emotional attachment — and because you no idea how to organize what you keep. Focus first on the areas of the home that are most important to your health and vitality, especially the bedroom.

2. Thin out the incoming stream. We all have a constant stream of mail and new possessions coming into our lives. If you don’t develop a regular habit of thinning it out as it walks through the door, it’ll pile up and zap your energy in no time.

3. Create space with the right layout and equipment.  If you get buried in clutter simply because you don’t know where to put things, learn to make creative use of the space you have — including vertical space.

4. Learn to live more simply. Instead of piling on new possessions until you just have to many, stop buying and take a hard look at what you have. Don’t equate material possessions with wealth or happiness, or — worse yet — self worth. 

5. Get rid of it. If you don’t learn how to get rid of things, you’ll be overwhelmed with your possessions. Unworn clothing, unwanted gifts, ancient paperwork — get rid of it.  If you haven’t used it in two years, ditch it.

6. Accentuate the positive. Separate the trash from the treasure. You don’t need to keep unwanted gifts simply because they’re gifts. And don’t be afraid to get rid of things that are dragging you down with emotional baggage: there’s a reason women burn photographs of their old boyfriends. 

7. Keep your office desk organized. No, a clean desk isn’t the sign of a simple mind: it’s the sign of an efficient, energetic mind! The more space there is, the less crowded your energy is. File rather than pile, and gather up those sticky notes!

8. Make a list of the home improvement projects you want to accomplish.  Nagging, incomplete projects not only create clutter, they also drag your mood down because another thing on your to-do list is staring you in the face. Dispatch routine tasks as soon as possible, and work to get the others off your calendar.

Clearing away clutter may seem like too much work, but you need to learn how to do it effectively for your own benefit. Once you cut down on the clutter in your life, you can move on to more productive levels of emotion and energy that put you ahead of the game.

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.



  1. I’ve been working on #6, emotional baggage. I have a tendency to re-live hurtful remarks or arguments with someone, anything that upsets me. I will play it over and over again in my mind. What a waste of time!