By Jeff Ziegler

Today, I spent part of my day decluttering the kitchen and reorganizing my toolboxes. It was a bit cathartic. I threw a load of things out. And it got me thinking about how cluttered I have been feeling in my mind of late.

Clutter is a funny thing. We “collect” knickknacks, and we display them so everyone—especially us—can see them. From little magnets, we bought on that visit to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to the owl candle holders that came from someone who thought they were cute.

Whatever you have lying around the house, taking up space, have a good look. What you probably don’t realize is it’s a reflection of your internal mental state. Today, I discovered how truly cluttered my life is; simply because I started looking around my kitchen. And I didn’t like it.

It started with the counters… I saw way too much stuff just sitting out! Things I don’t use every day went into cupboards. But of course, I had to clean out the cabinets to make room for those things I don’t use regularly.

Then, when I moved on to the cupboards, where I saw the things I haven’t used in a long time. Some of them I haven’t used since before I moved into this house nearly 18-months ago. It was then I decided that things had to go.

If I was going to declutter the kitchen, then I also had to do other rooms as well. So, now, I am halfway through clearing the living and family rooms and plan to move on to my office next (probably tomorrow). And, I have realized that it’s about time. I have needed to clear my head (and my space) for a long time.

By recognizing that the space I live in reflects my internal state, I chose to start decluttering—inside and out! And so, the process of clearing begins. Suzanne was never one for clutter. It was time to clear up—and that was something I used to love about Suzanne’s cleaning and clearing habits—she was ruthless.

She especially disliked things being left out on the counters. If I left my keys and wallet on the counter when I came in from work, I would get “the look” (You know, the one that said, “are you planning on leaving that there?”)

As I worked my way through the kitchen, probably embodying a little procrastination about writing this piece and some need to simply clear the space, I started to think about what she would think of this place (and the space I have created). Once I finished decluttering the kitchen, I surveyed the landscape. I think she would have liked it (as it is now).

So, now, I believe that I have channeled that energy of hers and have done something I probably never would have done without her. Truthfully, I am living that adage, “Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.”

I hope this helps you think about what is cluttering up your life and whether you are being the best of the person who you loved and lost. Today, I know that I have been.


Jeff Ziegler’s column can be fond very other Wednesday here on WSN-MO. You can write Jeff at [email protected]

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