Office Clean Up: The Top 9 Excuses that Create Your Chaos - Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

                                                                – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Our lives are meant to be simple.  Our intuiti
and creativity thrive when given freedom and space.  Clutter – in the form of physical stuff, time-wasters, or even draining people – steals our energy and prevents our success.

Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don’t want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity. Yes, clutter is destructive in your office environment!

Summer is a slow time for many businesses. That means it’s a great time to clear the chaos and cut through the clutter (and the excuses for having clutter around!).  Read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse – and then take action!

Excuse #1: “I’d be a mean horrible person if I released this…”

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing or gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads into other parts of our lives too!

Excuse #2 – “I spent so much on it!”

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around?  Or convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the heck out of you?

You won’t.  And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

Excuse #3 – “I might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of.


Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day – in spite of technological progress – you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for:  The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.

Excuse #4 – “I might do this someday.”

I know. I know.

Someday you’ll take those broken pieces of china you’ve collected and create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. And you’ll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister’s 30th birthday party. (She’s 51 now.)

Now – I don’t mean to deny you your plans and dreams.  However, I urge you to consider experiencing the infinite relief that appears when you let old project ideas go.

Call your sister and tell her the collage ain’t gonna happen. Buy a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, make space for what you want to do. Don’t fill your space with what you should do.

Excuse #5 – “I gotta look good to my guests.”

CDs. Books. DVD’s. Are these items treasured? Or are they simply a prop so your guests will be impressed by your intelligence and diverse tastes?

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

Excuse #6 – “I Don’t Know Where It Goes.”

When items don’t have a home, it’s harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter – like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer – but they’re not clutter.

They’re homeless.

Once you start defining spaces for items, then it’s easier to see when something doesn’t fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

Excuse #7 – “My thoughts don’t have any power. Do they?”

Everything has energy.  The thoughts you have about the things in your home CREATE energy.  If you are surrounded by stuff you keep out of guilt, then your environment holds guilt.  If you hang on to stuff given to you by your ex, and you still feel bitter – then there is bitterness in your home.

Get it?

It’s either fueling you or draining you.  If anything triggers you, then that is your barometer. Let it go.

Excuse #8 – “But I never wore it!”

See Clutter Excuse #2.

Excuse #9 – “There’s too much stuff!”

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. If this article makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life you don’t like, then go slow.   Schedule small chunks of time each day.  It takes time to be clutter-free! But the newfound clarity and lightness are worth it!

  • Belinda Smith

    Re: #7. Ouch!

  • Alice Osborn

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks so much for this article. I’m an editor and my piles of paper were threatening to suffocate me. My in-laws visited and their visit gave me the accountability I needed to fill our recycling bin with over 100 lbs of crap after my cleaning spree. Why did I wait so long in order to clean out my files, the top of my desk, the bottom of my desk, the sides of my desk, etc.
    1.I didn’t want to take the time which I felt could be used for doing client and my own work
    2.It was easier to let things pile up than take the time to sort it all into categories
    3.I didn’t want to feel exhausted after cleaning
    4.I was scared that once I started I wouldn’t stop and there’d be more to clean! (kinda true)
    5.My filing cabinet was stuck

    Yes, it did take more than a few days/hours at a time to pare down my office and I didn’t work on my client work, but now I can see what I’m doing and feel so much better! Love all of my new energy! Short-term pain, long-term gain!

  • Kristina

    In addition to #4, you could probably get rid of all of that broken china to the very artist who makes the birdbath you buy. Most entrepreneurs are on board with donations, maybe even offer a small discount on the piece you buy.

  • Beachflower

    OMG! Excuses #1 and #3! My nemeses! While I purged a lot of stuff when I moved three years ago…it’s filling up again! Then there is that mini storage room I am ignoring. Sigh! Excuse #8 Fear that if I let something go, I’ll never be able to get it if I need it again.

  • Sandy

    Loved this article. I just got a dumpster delivered 2 days ago, to clean out my garage and my basement. It’s already half full. I feel lighter already.

    Certain things had little attachment…then came old photos. For the last 6 months, I have been having dreams (pretty much weekly) of an ex-boyfriend and his sons. It didn’t end badly…and we still care about each other, but both of us have moved on (apparently not all of me had).

    I prayed last night before I went to sleep…”Help me complete whatever energy feels incomplete with him.” When I woke up this am, I was ‘nudged’ to go to my basement. There was a plastic bag which held 3 pictures of us. I knew they had been there…I’ve seen them there before, but never had the heart to throw them away.

    This morning, I held the pictures, offered gratitude to him for the relationship, set an intention to release the energy completely, and placed the pictures in the dumpster (with a lump in my throat). I honored the feelings that were coming up, and know that I’ve taken a step forward.

    Hope this helps someone else out there. 🙂
    Thanks, Christine…you rock!!

    • Beachflower

      Offering gratitude for the past. What a beautiful idea! I am going to try this with some items I’ve been hanging onto.

  • Dawn

    I’m laughing too! I just took a whole whack of stuff to a thrift store yesterday and I definitely feel lighter.
    The quote that stood out to me was “make space for what you want to do. Don’t fill your space with what you should do”. I’ll be revisiting all those projects that have been hanging around.
    Thanks for this salutary reminder Christine.

  • Sara Fackelman

    I am laughing because I am dealing with those very challenges right now. I have decided to simplify my life so I can focus on other things. Moving 22 years of “stuff” into a space that is 3 times smaller than my former home (so I can enjoy living by the beach) has really made me purge and purge some more. It has been a daunting task, but I am getting closer to my goal. Actualizing my goal brings me a great feeling of accomplishment!

  • Lori

    I am laughing b/c I shopped with Catherine yesterday and came home an threw out all of the items in my closet that I had in the past kept b/c of above excuses. The new space looks and feels amazing!

  • Nancy Darling

    One more excuse: I don’t want to throw this on the landfill and I don’t know how or where to recycle it.

    • Elizabeth Spevack – Heart and Soul Living

      Nancy – exactly! I feel bad throwing things out so they stay and stay – until I feel so crowded by all that stuff I don’t really use, don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw out.