Mess is not Clutter:

by Carole Bourne

By Carole Fogarty

Detox and De-stress: 

I can hear your mind screaming now. Mess is clutter. Wrong. From my personal and professional experience (as Feng Shui Practitioner for 15 years) there is a huge energetic, emotional and physical difference between mess and clutter.

Upaya River house kitchen Upaya Zen Centre:

Clutter is hard to eliminate, toxic and blocks the flow of your life.

Healthy mess is part of daily living, it shows that your home is loved and lived in, its connected to all things that you use regularly and with a quick tidy up is easily sorted. Clutter is not used nor loved and never gets sorted. Bless your daily healthy mess.

Clutter lurks behind mess and pretends to be mess:

Relax with your daily mess (just for a while) and focus your time on the real energy draining culprit of clutter. It’s sneaky, it hides, plays emotional games with you, gets mixed up with your daily healthy mess and contributes nothing whatsoever to your life.

I can also guarantee that once your clutter is eliminated your daily mess will not have the same heavy energy that you once thought it had. It was simply the clutter lurking behind the mess which made you feel drained and exhausted in the first place.

A valuable observation which I have notice over the years, the less clutter the less daily mess. Strange but true. Its all about the energy.

Healthy Mess:

  • Mess is temporary
  • Mess never gets ignored as it is cleared up within a few days or at the max a week
  • Mess gets used often
  • Mess moves around so there is energy flow
  • Mess can bring you joy. I personally love seeing my children’s toys and creations all around my home.
  • Mess can be creative inspiration. Often when I am working I have lots of perceived mess around me, notes, books and references. This is how my creative process of writing works. It is not clutter as it is cleared up by the end of the day.
  • Mess is easily dealt with as opposed to clutter which is difficult to deal with
  • Mess has a much lighter energy whereas clutter is heavy and draining
  • Mess which is not packed away becomes clutter
  • Mess is generally visually obvious and part of daily living whereas clutter is not that obvious as its often hiding somewhere

Unhealthy Clutter:

  • Clutter never moves
  • Clutter always stays in the one place
  • Clutter is often hidden and not visually present
  • Clutter drains your energy
  • Clutter never gets used year in year out
  • Clutter is unused, unwanted and unloved
  • Clutter gets totally ignored
  • Clutter clouds your thinking and blocks the flow of your life

Relax with your daily mess and get ruthless with your clutter.

Thanks for reading my article, Carole

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Nicole Sundene March 26, 2008 at 5:23 am

Love your blog! I’m so glad I stumbled on it…looks like we have a lot of the same mutual goals and beliefs…

Look forward to reading more!



Healthy Living March 26, 2008 at 8:24 am

Thanks for finding me. The joys of cyber space… connecting fabulous people from all over the world.

Peace, love and travel



Carole March 27, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Oh, my gosh: when I saw this:

“Thanks for reading my article, Carole”

I thought you were talking to me! I thought maybe you had some new thing on your blog that finds out your readers’ names and tailors the closing to them — but then I saw your comment just above, and couldn’t figure out why you’d have my name there, too….

I finally looked up top and saw your name….

Thanks for the laugh — and the great post!

Carole : )


Karyn April 4, 2008 at 9:52 am

Just wanted to let you know that I found this article and the “Emotional Cost of Clutter” one extremely inspirational and useful. I’ve been “decluttering” my life for several years, and these past couple of months, having moved into a new studio apartment, have been putting the finishing touches on clearing out the junk and making space for my writing. Thanks!

I also like reading your blog in general, by the way, and have it bookmarked on my cell phone. ;-)


Ayesha April 5, 2009 at 1:55 am

April 4, 2009

Dear Carole,

(That is Carole Fogarty, not the other Carole!). I am surrounded by clutter. Mainly paper clutter.

A recent incident, brought this front and center. My sister, who is a big executive in Bombay, India, came to visit me in my Buffalo home. I spent a week cleaning and tidying up, and yet when she walked through my front door, her first comment, was “What a mess!” (I mumbled, easy for you to say, as you have live in servants).

I read you article, to prove a point to my sister that what I have is mess, not clutter. Instead, I learned I have both clutter and mess.

Clutter is the stuff that has sat in the same place for days, months and years. I just don’t have the energy to attend to it. Then there is the mess from my mail, which takes over my kitchen table. I tidy it up, and there it is again. I live alone, now that my sons have grown up and moved to another city, so the kitchen table is expendable. I also have clothes clutter. Nothing as bad as the homes seen on Oprah. I have some clean rooms, and other dump rooms.

I would appreciate an article telling your readers (please email me a link to the same) how to approach clutter, when one has a busy life, low energy and little spare time. Teach us how to take baby steps. One of my setbacks is that I want to do it all or not at all. Not having the energy or time for the “all” approach, nothing gets done. Another, is finding the space to organize the clutter into. I have bought bookcases, and file cabinets, and plastic bins, and am running out of wall space!

I realize now clutter is sapping my energy!




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