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Mind Full or Mindful?

Mind Full or Mindful?


People often think the role of a Professional Organizer is to deal with physical stuff; sorting through knick knacks, putting things away and making spaces look tidy. How far from the truth! So many people get bogged down with the physical stuff of clutter that they forget there is such a thing as mental clutter. Scattered brains, harried thoughts, and anxious minds are often the precursors to the physical stuff building up. One thing I’ve learned that helps in tackling the things cluttering up our heads is to work on practicing mindfulness.


Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention intentionally and without judgment to the present moment. It’s a method by which we focus our awareness and attention to improve our day to day functioning. In essence, it’s paying attention to one’s present situation in an open and accepting way to whatever experience is going on at the time. They say inner calm can bring about outer order and I truly believe that. 


Simple mindfulness techniques that can help quiet a loud, cluttered mind include:


Resting in a comfortable position

When you start feeling overwhelmed by your situation and all you have to do, take a step back. Sit down. Often the best thing we can do when feeling stressed is to give ourselves space and time to take a break. I like to think of sports teams in this instance. When the game gets intense, often instead of rushing in and attacking, they call a timeout. It's a great way to regroup, sit on the sidelines and plan your next move.


Breathe slowly and deeply

Allowing our focus to remain on our breath is a great way to quiet our minds. Often when we feel panicky or in overdrive, we tend to breathe in a shallow manner which doesn’t help our physical bodies. Breathing intentionally and naturally is best for our oxygen intake and blood flow.


Pick a focal point

For some, this might be a physical object in the room, for others it could be counting your breaths, repeating a word or envisioning a positive image. When I took a yoga class years ago, the teacher would light a candle and place it in the center of the room. The flame served as our focal point through some difficult and intense positions. 


Think about the benefits you hope to receive for yourself and others around you

This is where you can envision your goals, ie; cleared countertops in the kitchen, your child being able to find their sports gear in a tidy garage, bills being paid on time with no late fees or a manageable to-do list. Focus on your organizing goals and the benefit they’ll bring to you and loved ones.


Take note of any thoughts/feelings that arise and move on

Remember the purpose is to be present in noticing your emotions and being aware of what feelings are bubbling to the surface but ultimately letting them pass. Feelings and sensations are neither good nor bad it’s what we do with them that impacts our mood and functioning. 


Bear witness without judgment

As you look around your surroundings it may be hard not to notice the piles of clutter, the stacks of paperwork or the anxiety you feel about missing a recent appointment. Avoid beating yourself up over these slip-ups and remember that organizing is a journey and detours and bumps in the road are going to arise. Stay focused on the next step to reach your goal.   


Stretch and stand

After a period of time whether two minutes or twenty, stand up and focus back on your body as you feel your feet on the ground and your arms at your side. Maybe do some light stretching exercises or at least a soft neck and shoulder roll to release any leftover tension. Shake out your hands or reach up on tiptoes to refocus your body.     



It’s important to try to get in the habit of using these techniques on a daily basis. Professional Organizers can encourage clients to begin mindfulness practice tied to an existing habit or trigger, ie; deep breathing and repeating the word clutter-free prior to entering a department store. Support your clients by asking about their practice sessions during each appointment. 



There are many benefits of mindfulness. It can help deepen insight into problem situations, increase productivity, improve the connection with the physical body and heighten spiritual connectedness. There are even mindfulness apps which can prompt us to practice daily.  Here are just a few:



Hopefully using some of these mindfulness techniques can help you put the pieces in place inside your brain.Taming those scattered thoughts might only be a breath away!  


What one thing can you do today to be more mindful?



Categories: Mental Health / Hoarding


  • I love, love, love this, Sarah! I'm a huge believer in the benefits of mindfulness practice ... both mindful living and mindfulness meditation practice. It's so true that the external clutter is often a manifestation of the internal clutter. But living more mindfully it creates an opening and space for change.
    7/2/2018 11:18:47 PM Reply
    • @Linda Samuels: I love your blog for just this reason, Linda, because you are SO in-tune with mindfulness in your daily life. I really feel inspired everytime I read one of your posts. Glad this was in-synch to your beliefs and lifestyle.
      7/3/2018 12:34:09 PM Reply
  • I really love your analogy to the sports teams and timeouts. In addition to the mindfulness apps you listed I often recommend Insight Timer for all kinds of meditations, music, and talks related to mindfulness. Great post!
    7/2/2018 1:00:36 PM Reply
    • @Sara Skillen: Oooh, thanks for adding to my app list, Sara! Always on the look-out for new ones. :)
      7/3/2018 12:32:17 PM Reply
  • These are great reminders. I like to do a brain dump once a week. Usually on Sunday afternoons. I think about the things I want to focus on in the coming week and write them down. This way I don't hold them in my mind. I find this helps me focus on one task at a time. I don't wonder what else is coming down the pike.
    7/2/2018 11:58:44 AM Reply
    • @Diane Quintana: I love implementing a brain dump. I do mine on Sunday mornings too. I have a dry erase sheet that I use and place on the inside of my pantry cabinet so I'll be reminded daily.
      7/3/2018 12:31:34 PM Reply
  • Your title really captured my attention, because I'm trying to practice mindfulness, but it's difficult when my mind is so full! Thanks for these great suggestions - now to put them into practice!
    7/2/2018 11:37:57 AM Reply
    • @Janet Barclay: The practice is the hard part, but at least you're able to acknowledge that you need work in this area. Me too! Let me know if any of these tips prove helpful, Janet.
      7/3/2018 12:30:51 PM Reply
  • I am usually hyper aware of my surroundings, and this can be very distracting. When I want to be still and focus, I need to intentionally seek a "boring" location. Sometimes putting on instrumental music helps me not to hear all the noises around me. I love the early morning, when I feel free to spend time away from my devices and just be with myself. I agree, it does take practice!
    6/29/2018 7:00:05 PM Reply
    • @Seana Turner: As I've gotten older I have started to prefer the early morning hours myself. This is an area I continue to struggle with - I'm constantly doing battle with monkey mind! Maybe I'll try your suggestion of a boring location.
      6/30/2018 2:29:50 PM Reply

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