We get messages all the time from our environment. Traffic lights tell us when to stop and when to go. Taking a walk in nature or on a beach can give us a message of peace and calm. We get messages about being generous from tips jars at coffee shops. Messages are all around us. Some are conscious, like the stoplight, some we don’t really think about, but they are also speaking to us.
Do you realize you are also getting messages from the stuff in your house? These are subconscious messages, but they are constant and often intense.
I learned about this concept from the Minimalist Mom. In her video, The Silent to Do List, she talks about how everything in our home is speaking to us. The clutter we have in our home is giving us negative messages.
A good example of this is dirty dishes left in the sink or on the counter. These dishes are not giving you positive messages about yourself. Rather, the message is:
You need to wash me.
Why didn’t you wash me last night?
You are so lazy.
You’ll never have a clean house.
Now think about how you feel when those dishes are done, washed, and dried and put away. The counter is clean and not piled high with dishes. The message from this scene is energizing. We feel better about ourselves because we acted and cleaned up. Now our kitchen is tidy. This creates a more peaceful atmosphere. This feeling may extend to other parts of our life.
My mom was a very tidy person. I remember going to her house as an adult and looking at how she had organized the things in her kitchen. The Tupperware, pot, pans and baking sheets were not all packed in together, as they were at my house. She had everything nicely organized and stacked. Part of this was that she didn’t have as much stuff to create more clutter. I gained inspiration from being at her house. When I returned home, I had fresh energy to work on my mess. Her house spoke much differently to me than my own.
Look around your house. What are the messages your stuff is telling you? Is it telling you that you’re awesome? Or is the stuff giving you a more negative, self-shaming message? Understanding that we are receiving these messages from our stuff everyday may motivate us to declutter, clean up, and change those messages. This is one way to love and care for ourselves and increase our emotional health.