Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Marie Kondo Is Right: External Clutter Reveals Your Frazzled Internal State

How messiness and disorganization can drain your mental and physical energy.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Marie Kondo is right , even though many don't take her too seriously. The popular author who specializes in order in the home and office helps with more than arranging clothes. Let's see: "As inside is outside" is one of the so-called laws of correspondence in Buddhism. What does it mean? That everything you feel, perceive and live in your inner world - even if unconsciously - is manifested in some way on the outside. Hence, external damage and permanent disorder in your life , both personally and at work, says much more about you than you imagine.

Depositphotos.com

Scientific studies that analyze human behavior have established that clutter and disorder are related to different kinds of fears.

The fear of change, the fear of feeling forgotten or neglected, of lack and of being little considered by others, also symbolize internal confusion, lack of focus on what is essential, a tendency to procrastinate (put things off) and inability to lead the reins of your life.

A practical example that possibly has happened to all of us, without the need to invest in dollars in Marie and her disciples: your closet was completely messy, and with many clothes and items that you had not used for months or years. One day you make the decision to order it; you begin to discard what you know you will not use; you accommodate to your liking; you classify the products and… magic! An unstoppable energy emerged that leads you to be cleaning and ordering the kitchen cabinets, the library and your desk at home at dawn.

The harmful effect of stored energy

The accumulated energy that you do not channel or drain properly stagnates . Like the water in a fish tank, your life needs oxygen. Taking action on external disorder and chaos is one way to do it.

When you complete the actions - for example, ordering the chaos - the result is that you instantly feel more free, focused and available. How does it happen? Fundamentally because you have released energy trapped within you, that perhaps you were not aware that you had. By removing these internal spaces, much more “storage” capacity appears to process new experiences.

Although some theories of organizational chaos associate it with a certain creative capacity, there is nothing wrong with a certain disorder at times; the issue is when it becomes pathological, recurrent and sustained over time. In an unconscious place you are resisting change and evolve. An example of this are people who suffer from the psychiatric pathology of compulsive accumulation, up to asphyxiating levels. By not being able to express externally what they feel, their anguish, disappointment and frustration over what is happening to them, they literally “eat it” (in many cases they also gain weight or physically abandon themselves to alarming levels).

Accumulating papers and tasks without doing means lack of responsibility or ability to manage matters. Keeping broken or damaged objects or wasting months or years thinking that you are going to repair them and not do it, symbolize dreams and broken promises. Not fixing something that complicates your life, for example, a leaky tap, is understood to mean that there are problems of letting health and abundance flow in general.

If the disorder is in your room, even in the closet, it means that you leave everything in half and that stability is something that costs you, although you complain that it is what you want. If you resist ordering your agenda and accumulate papers, vouchers and ballots and do not transfer them to another filing system, it means stagnant energy in minor matters, which do not allow you to progress.

If you are a boss or leader and you ask your entire team for reports and accountability, and you rarely review them, it is because you have a desire for control and, unconsciously, to have them all "at your service" to satisfy some unmet internal need.

10 practical keys to solving clutter

  1. Objects and places carry energy. Everything you inherit, or the new apartment and office you occupy, is infused with the energy of those who came before you. You will have sometimes perceived this burden that does not coincide with yours; You did not even know what it obeys. Clean the walls or paint them completely.
  2. Mess and order immediately. Anything of order that takes you less than a minute, do it on the spot. Whatever takes you up to five, you complete it within that hour; and what takes you up to half an hour, you schedule it within the same day.
  3. Keep your closet up to date. In the Japanese style, or however you prefer, classify the clothes by seasons; and give to charity or those in need those clothes that you have not used for more than a year.
  4. Clean and order your desk. Classify the papers in well-labeled folders; the card holders and digital contacts by alphabetical. Establish a single way to enter data into your computer systems. Do a full cleaning every six months. The same goes for the order on your personal computer or servers that you compare, and the emails that accumulate raw in your inbox.
  5. Books and other recreational materials. Just one at a time. A pile of unread books won't help you finish even one. Declare in full those texts that - yes, you know! - you will never read. Donate them to a library or give them to whoever needs them.
  6. Control your consumption impulses. Before buying things, ask yourself: Is it really essential? I need it? Do I want it ?, and choose according to your best criteria: not on impulse.
  7. The compulsion to buy things denotes unstable emotionality. A special chapter for moments of downturn and sadness, which are usually "filled" with going out to consume anything. Know yourself deeply and don't try to cover up what you feel by buying objects.
  8. Get professional help. There are cases in which you will require an expert psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor or coach to accompany you in the process of solving the chaos in which you live.
  9. Keep your finances as up to date as possible. It will bring you peace of mind and spirit. If you cannot be meticulously in order, at least have all your entries and exits, and debts, separated by line item.
  10. Take the consequences. Living in a disorderly way puts you into greater chaos and uncertainty, sadness and even depression. Take responsibility for your life, correcting at every step, until order is a permanent habit.