Did you know?—clutter is killing your creativity. Little by little, it accumulates in corners, files, and even in the recesses of your own mind, draining away your creative well with distractions until you’re left feeling helpless, frustrated, and completely burned out.
I’ve talked before about simplicity, and how it is not the same thing as minimalism. However, it is not uncommon for minimalism to become part of living a simplistic lifestyle. The truth is, these two often walk hand in hand, and today I want to talk about a few ways that minimalism, specifically, can help to rejuvenate and enhance your creativity.
The Problem of Physical Clutter
As creatives, many of us have idealistic goals of maintaining order—almost as if there’s a warning sense against the accumulation of clutter. However, when it comes to actual practice, we tend to fall off the bandwagon, allowing clutter to pile up on our desks, our floors, and in our schedules. If you’re anything like me, you probably wish you had less stuff to manage from day to day.
Living in a physically cluttered space can have a profound effect on your mood and self-esteem. We all know the feeling: school supplies covering the desk, laundry waiting to be folded, and a mountain of dishes growing in the sink. It’s depressing.
The Problem of Mental Clutter
And as if physical clutter was not enough of a problem in our daily lives, mental clutter is even worse. We live in a society addicted to social media and the internet; connection at all times. We’re never without our phones, never more than a click away from the world of cyber interactions and endless information.
As a result, we’ve become extremely easily distracted. Bored? Open Facebook—you’ll be busy for hours. This “quick fix” for a wandering mind is often the death of creativity, as well as productivity. It also adds to the feeling of depression we get from not having done anything truly worthwhile with our time.
Solving the Problem: How Minimalism Can Enhance Creativity
Minimalism, at its root, is about removing clutter from your life. As Australian photographer, Kat Clay writes in this article, minimalism can:
- Help us define our values
- Help us make decisions with clarity
- Reduce daily distractions
Imagine how these things could boost your creativity!
Personally, there are four primary ways I’ve found that minimalism has helped enhance creativity in my own life.
#1: MINIMALISM REDUCES STERSS
When my home is a mess, I can’t stop worrying about it. I’m depressed and distracted. But when I take the time to organize things (and as a newly married couple, we don’t have many), it is a huge stress reliever. I find that I’m able to work much more easily.
#2: MINIMALISM CLEARS YOUR MIND
When I don’t have loads of stuff lying around to be stressed and distracted by, I’m able to actually think clearly and productively.
#3: MINIMALISM INCREASES FOCUS
Once I’ve cleaned the house and turned off social media, I find that I’m usually much more ready to focus on being creative, now that there’s nothing to get in the way. Staying focused is a struggle sometimes, but clearing the clutter definitely helps.
#4: MINIMALISM ALLOWS ROOM FOR BOREDOM
Boredom sounds like the enemy here, but it really isn’t. When we allow ourselves to get bored, we allow ourselves room to wonder; to think; to get creative. In fact, according to psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips, the capacity for boredom is essential to living a full life.
Today I want to challenge you to pick one area of your life that you can declutter, whether it’s physical, digital, or mental, and then share about your experience in the comments. Get ready to see your creativity blossom!
- Do you struggle with managing the clutter in your life?
- How does that clutter seem to affect your creativity?
- If you’ve been decluttering lately, what positive effects have you experienced in your creative life?