Indonesia Expat

The Environment ? From the Insides Out

If the outsides are a reflection of what’s going on inside, what does your environment/space say about you? Our actions, no matter how ‘negligible’ they seem, shape our environment and in response, the environment, natural or man-made, shapes us affecting our physical and emotional wellbeing.

How do you shape your environment/space? And how does the environment reflect the mind? These two questions are closely linked. Just as the design of a house is a product of the architect’s mind, her creativity and thinking and just as the mood of a room is a product of the decorators’ choices so the state of an environment/space is a creation of its inhabitant’s mind, a sum of their thinking, choices and creativity. How does your environment shape you? Well, you just need to recall how you felt the last time you spent a few hours in a traffic jam or at the spa to appreciate the impact the environment has on you.

Space, Nature, Smell, Colour, Lightning and Decoration all contribute toward making our environment ideal in terms of beauty, practicality and organization.

Beauty, practicality and organization influence whether we find our environment liveable, supportive, relaxed and inspiring or demanding, stressful and draining. Ideally your space should be rejuvenating, relaxed and inspiring so it supports your physical, mental and emotional needs.

Look around, what type of environment or space have you created? Is it inspiring, relaxed and rejuvenating or cluttered, restless and exhausting? Clutter is often a common culprit making an environment less supportive.

Types of Clutter

So what exactly causes clutter? Terry Mabbit, a professional organizer believes there are three categories of clutter.

The most obvious cause for clutter is a poorly managed, disorganized lifestyle, which gives the appearance of clutter because everything is everywhere and nothing can be found without a hunt for it; this is called Life Management clutter and organization is key to resolving this issue.

Then you have Historical clutter, this is clutter that gathers over a lifetime and is caused by the stuff one collects in response to significant changes in life including weddings, births, graduations and even deaths. The trick here is to hold onto one or perhaps two significant items only whilst giving the rest to friends, family or others who have need for them.

And finally you have Behavioural clutter where the individual is driven by deeper issues such as beliefs, esteem needs or even depression to collect stuff, here he/she might need to seek support resolving the issues driving their behaviour before dealing with the clutter itself.


So, what if you do have a restless, exhausting environment or space, how can you manage or even change it?

Change perspective

–    Space is the 21st century luxury item – get rid of the unnecessary stuff you own and create space where movements can flow uninterrupted; learn to delight in space appreciating its calm.

–    We often attach memories and meaning to items in our lives, this leads us to hold on to these things even when we don’t need them anymore. Understand there is a separation between the physical item and the memories in your head; your memories are much more powerful than the items that ‘represent’ them, giving away the items does not imply losing the memory.

–    If you haven’t needed it in the past four-five months (and it’s not winter gear or a pregnancy test kit) then you probably don’t need to own it, let it go and when you need it go out and buy or rent it.


–    A good way of finding out how much clutter you have is to take a picture of your space and study it; there is nothing as sharp and effective as the camera in the hands of an amateur to pick up the ugliest crowded angle in a room. You might be surprised at the odd things you have hanging around.

–    Invite friends with toddlers over for lunch, when mum is not watching, let the toddlers loose on the room/space in question; in no time the toddlers will have helped you identify all the clutter you own waist level down – how? By trying to play with it, throw it or eat it. Best to carefully supervise toddlers if using this technique; angry mothers are dangerous to health.

–    Stop procrastinating; putting tasks off until later makes stuff pile up causing clutter. Whatever the ‘stuff’ whether an email, a DIY shelf or filing– do it and do it now.

–    Get into a weekly cleaning schedule, clean often – it’s easier and faster cleaning/tidying twice or three times a week because there is less to clean.

–    The mind responds to visual representations of beauty – pick one item you find beautiful and make it the focal point of your space. All the other items should complement the focal point. A focal point helps still your mind making you calm and inspiring you to train yourself and look at your focal point when you need inspiration or peace.

–    Go Green, actively seek to be around green places. Own plants, go for a walk in the forest or perhaps go golfing – studies show that nature restores mental clarity, rejuvenates people experiencing mental fatigue while improving learning, sharpening thinking, balancing emotions and self-regulation.

So grab a coffee or a tea, sit back, relax and look around you – if the outsides are a reflection of what’s going on inside, what does your environment/space you have created say about you?

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