Clutter, And The Ability To Think Clearly

I have known for a long time that in my little part of the world, I need a certain level of order in my surroundings to be able to think clearly. If my environment is cluttered, my mind seems to follow suit. As a result I spend a lot of time cleaning up after the clutter monster. Having 2 kids here full time, plus a college student at home between semesters, plus all of their friends that happen to spend time here, as well as the mom and pop who have much to do to keep it all afloat…the clutter can sneak up on you.

I have a 24’x40′ shop that is my tinker haven. Between projects it gets cluttered badly. Sometimes the projects pile up on you, and the clutter grows exponentially. I can literally walk out there with a clear intent of what needs done, then step into the clutter zone and immediately lose focus. I have to stop right there and start throwing out the trash, cleaning and putting away the tools, and organizing things to an acceptable level before I can accomplish anything.

There is a 1964 SWB Chevy stepside pickup truck in there right now that looks like it has exploded.  The riding mower needs a place to sleep. All of the bicycles have to be somewhere. Got to have an air compressor if you want to do anything at all. There is an old gasifier project lost out there someplace. The old engine from that truck resides in the floor, the block is bad, I need to rescue the head, the cam and crankshaft before it goes out to scrap. My astronomy table, a couple of parallelograms I built for binoculars, and a few tripods are in there. The welder, the drill press, the vise, the chop saw, the hand tools… Now add to this a bunch of stuff deemed as potential materials for future projects unknown, a few gas cans, batteries, old tires that still have life in them, and I can walk in there and lose my damn mind.

Then this morning I was perusing one of my favorite web sites, Science Daily, and saw this:

It is titled “Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention And Learning In Young Children” Someone actually did a study to see how the room is decorated, affected learning. It turns out that a de-cluttered room allows for an increase in learning ability. Which just happens to jive with my observations. Clutter in the environment clutters the mind. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

…as an afterthought I am not one of those wackos that just has to keep everything in a state of perfection. I don’t mind a place looking lived in, and do not need my surroundings to look like a museum. There is though a line someplace, where I just can’t take it anymore and have to organize, and clean up my surroundings, more for my mental health than a concern for what company might think.