What is Clutter? Part 1

Many years ago, I came across one of Iyanla Vanzant’s writings about clutter which did not make any sense to me at all. I remember thinking how does clutter got to do with my emotional wellbeing. I am paraphrasing what she said:

If your purse or handbag is full of old receipts, ATM slips, finished lipsticks, candy wrappers and anything that does not belong in a lady’s bag. Then you have a few emotional issues to deal with’

I remember thinking wahlanya mme oo (This woman is mad). I was young and wet behind the ears.  Of course, my bag at the time had tons of ATM slips, sweet wrappers, some old lip-gloss, dirty tissues, basically clutter. Both my bag and purse were a mess. Still I ignored Iyanla and dismissed the whole thing as agh she’s over thinking this.

Fast forward to 2008 I met a Kate Emmerson; she refers to herself as The Quick Shift Deva. She is the deva of decluttering, she has authored three books titled Clear Your Clutter, Ditch Your Glitch and Shift Your Home. She even had her own show on SABC 3 if I am not mistaken where she would help people declutter their homes and miraculously as the declutter their homes, they would also find that a lot of emotional and spiritual clutter gets unravelled. There would obviously be tears and confessions during and after the decluttering process.

When I met Kate for lunch at Hyde Park Corner I was carrying a rather big bag with me, I loved big bags as they were in fashion back then and High heels (All thanks to age and seeing the light, both big bags and high heels no longer appeal to me Lol.)

As we were settling down to have our lunch, Kate asked me

‘Such a big bag Lebs, are you traveling somewhere’? Confused I said No.

Oh, so what’s in the bag she asked.

 ‘Stuff, you know woman stuff’ She teasingly asked to see what’s in the bag. Uncomfortable by the request I refused, we both laughed it off.  

‘We carry a lot of emotional stuff in our handbags as a form of clutter’ she politely said to me. I shrugged, that sentence made me very uneasy for some reason but I brushed it off. We had our lunch and spoke of possible plans to work together in the future.

When I got to the car, I looked inside my bag properly for the first time. Only 3 items where legit. The rest where pure and simple clutter! I immediately remembered Iyanla’s words and the penny dropped. If you read my book, you will remember that 2008 was a huge emotional year for me. I thought best I look into this clutter matter…

So, what is clutter exactly and what does it mean?

Clutter is anything that makes you not SEE, HEAR, FEEL your SPACE for what it is.

By SPACE I mean any space, physical space, head space, emotional space, spiritual space. So, clutter is anything that blocks you or prevents you from seeing, hearing, sensing and feeling your space for what it truly is.

Let’s think of physical clutter for a moment. If your bedroom, garage, cupboard, closet, office or desk is constantly messy and cluttered you will battle to find what you are looking for as quickly as you need it. You will also not be able to truly see the space for what it is. You will not see if it needs a re-paint, a good clean up, or if you have outgrown it, or if you need new furniture. You can’t see nor feel the space. That is what clutter does.

Some of the well- known physical spaces that easily get cluttered are the garage, the office and desks, the bedroom. Bags and wallets, closets full of clothes not to mention shoes. An overly packed pantry and fridge. The boot and insides of most cars, some cars double up as wardrobe especially for us women. There was a time when I always had more than 3 pairs of shoes in the car. Children’s toy rooms. The guest room which doubles up as clutter room.

Is the penny dropping, are there any spaces that you can think of that strangely attracts clutter in your life?

Next week I will show you how clutter can be more than physical. I want to help you see your mental, emotion and spiritual clutter that blocks or prevents you from seeing what you need to see, from feeling what you need to feel.

For today though, I would like you to do a quick scan of your spaces, all your spaces. Where is your clutter and what is your clutter? Think back also to your childhood spaces, your parents what was their clutter and where was it? Where did parents or guardians create clutter?

Let me know on the comments.

See you next Monday.

Love and Greenlights


  1. Actually we have been doing a CI Lean Project since Feb-March 2019, thats helped me organise, sort and that less is more. Still a work in progress, been using it at work and home, ja its really working

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