how clutter makes us fat, and how to slow down to see

slow, still, see


I went in search of the sound of scratching.

I found it coming from behind the door of no admittance.

From the room that used to be my sister-in-law’s bedroom until this house was moved across the field in the ’60s and the room was halved to accommodate a stairway to a full basement.

My mother-in-law used it for storage, including scrapbooks and antique linens–many tagged as to their family roots, some tagged to be returned at her death to those who created them for her. I still have some of these.

We stored things in that room, too, after we acquired the house. The space also morphed into a walk-in closet, a craft room, a nursery, and now again storage–ahem, clutter–cave.

I called my husband. “Were you in the front room this morning?”

“Yes, I had to pull out a suit bag.”

“You know you shut Bella in there.”

It’s not the first time a cat has gotten caught where it shouldn’t be. It’s how a dresser drawer got shredded. I don’t know how long Samantha had been imprisoned in my sweaters. It’s how we had to buy a new mattress last year–when my husband shut Kobe Kat in the guest/Grace’s room for a whole day–or two–while I was in Petoskey.

“You really need to clean out that room,” he tells me.

I know this. But that means gutting it and creating clutter in the living room for a day or two or week.

“Don’t do that again,” I whine. “I know where to step. You don’t. I’m going to clean it. Soon. I hope.”

Did you know that clutter can make you fat? Literally? It’s true. There’s a whole book about it. I’m not as inspired to creatively cook in a mess, or when I have a mess on my mind.

Just pass another handful of M&M’s please.

I’m still stripping stuff. Purging possessions purchased, inherited, gifted. I must be on the tenth trip around the mountain in my march to minimalism.

Because too much stuff stifles stillness. It spills into our spirits.

It crams the corners of our hearts and leaves little room in the inn.

It’s hard to hear when our hearts are fat.

The external does affect the internal.

Clutter collides with creativity.

Clutter makes me cranky.

It’s hard to seek serenity when you’re surrounded with stuff.

It’s hard to surrender unless you let go.

It’s hard to slow down and be still when you’re surrounded with stuff.

But it’s only the slow and the still who see.

I’m going to clean that room.


But it’s lunch time.

Please pass the M&M’s.

In the stillness,


Jamming with Bonnie today and the Faith Barista community as we tackle the prompt of clutter.



  1. says

    Oh my journey will begin soon. The purging. The removing. The collections of piles and stuff and other assorted clothing articles. I did get rid of shoes, to my young grand daughters. A grandma’s size 6 shoe is not far from a child’s size 5. That was a huge blessing. Two eight year olds and a 13 year old are wearing my ‘shoes’ now. yippee.
    I have told my husband empowerment comes from ME doing it. I must take control and do it. No one else can walk this road.
    Just as any ‘change’ that needs to take place.
    Alone… I must tackle the mountains of stuff.
    May I stay accountable to ‘the plan’.
    (no I am not a hoarder)
    Sharon O recently posted..Sisters

    • Sandra says

      “no, am not a hoarder.”

      Love it. I’m amazed that your granddaughters accepted your shoes. Mine would not be “cool” enough. 😉

    • Sandra says

      Hi Kristine. Funny thing, it is kind of like a cave–long and narrow. We even had trouble finding a crib that would fit…

  2. says

    This is great stuff Sandy. It’s a strange phenomenon – the way stuff multiplies. I know what you’ve said is so true. I can’t work in the middle of a mess – can’t even feel relaxed really.
    So I think I’d better clear all this stuff off my little desk.
    I apologize for not being here more often. I seem to have shrunk almost to nothingness on-line these days. I needed to cut back, and it seems the more I cut back, the more I need to. I don’t know where it will all lead. I’m trying to just wait on Him. Haven’t even looked at my little book. But I do feel that “pull.”
    Thank you for your dear friendship Sandy. I miss you.
    Linda recently posted..Belonging

    • Sandra says

      I miss you, too, friend. And though I’ve been writing a bit more, it’s left less time to visit others. That’s not so good either.

      And I always think about the peacefulness of a–let’s say Cedar Brake–room away from home. So much less clutter to distract.

    • Sandra says

      LOL, Cecilia. You mean I can’t shift the blame? I guess clutter control is not a total solution to whatever ails us. 😉

  3. says

    Funny – great story woven with truth. Looked up Peter Walshes book – they have it at the library, will check it out. Along with another one about clearing the clutter out of your mind. Guess I could use that one too!
    “Clutter collides with creativity.” Good line. I saw a quote once, something about clutter being greedy, demanding attention. Yes. Reminds me of that. My theme song, Traveling Lighter – it is an ongoing process, one on all levels, physical and spiritual. I still have much to learn.
    Thanks, this made me laugh.
    Maureen recently posted..Again, Again, and Again…

    • Sandra says

      Peter Walsh shows no mercy.

      I do find my mind clears as my environment clears… I suppose it works the other way, too.

  4. says

    “clutter collides with creativity” and it makes me cranky too. Oh, how I do get this. Every now and then I purge my piles of good intentions and it’s so freeing. I try to imagine 2 things: what few items will my kids eventually want (save) and what many items will get sold in the estate sale/taken to Goodwill (Hefty, Hefty, Hefty!) Yes. Poor kitty.
    Lorretta recently posted..One!

    • Sandra says

      Maybe I could involve my kids in some of these decisions. Or not. They’ll want me to keep it all–just in case.

    • Sandra says

      Really. Clutter seems to paralyze me so that I don’t accomplish anything. And I eat whatever is easiest to get my hands and mouth on.

  5. says

    Oh, Sandy, how I identify with everything here, including “the tenth trip around the mountain in my march to minimalism”!
    How true, that “it’s only the slow and the *still* who see!

    • Sandra says

      Even when I think I’ve disposed of all I can, I go around again and find more… and more…