ClutterWe are obsessed with clutter.

And it's not doing us any favors. In fact, it's holding us back in invisible but damaging ways.

Some days I see and hear the word clutter a hundred times (or more). And it's not because of the circles I run in or the places I hang out.

It just sounds nice though, doesn't it?

Clutter. Cut the clutter. Bust the clutter. Swimming in a sea of clutter.

A few years ago, I didn't see or hear the word much. Was I just not paying attention before?

But hey, I'm all for reducing clutter. However, we should move beyond a buzzword and properly classify it.

Plain and simple, clutter is a form of chaos.

If you're thinking, “Chill dude, it's just a freakin' word,” you're right…to an extent.

But smart people like Emilie at Puttylike and David at Naturally Engineered understand the importance of a label attached to a concept or movement.

Simplifying and organizing life at Value of Simple – with the big goals of liberating our time, money, and talent – is about a movement as well.

Actually, it's a blend of movements synthesized into something new. Something different. Something powerful. (Stay tuned for more on this in an upcoming article).

Understanding the significance of words that define our movement is essential to simplifying, reducing, and thriving among clutter chaos.

Grasping why you should ditch clutter and master chaos will also help you learn how to sell, communicate, and apply better labels to what you believe in.

Two Labels, So Far Apart

What we call things is massively important.

Each word has an emotion, picture, action, or relevance…and it's not the same for everyone. Successful communication and positive action depends heavily on choosing the right words.

What does the word “clutter” conjure up in your head?

Probably a messy closet. A desk with scattered papers. A muddled drawer. Something physically disorganized.

Most people see and touch clutter. It's appealing because it's tangible and always some spare time away from being busted.

The shape clutter takes is evolving (physical to digital) but the concept is not.

The original meaning was “to collect in heaps” or “to form clots.”

And its basic principle is still true. If you don't acquire something, it can't clutter up your life.

Now. What does the word “chaos” bring to mind?

Perhaps a dark entity. A swirling mist of tendrils reaching everywhere. Or pure disorder like a mythological Tiamat.

Chaos is not a single concept or just one type of thing.

It's the umbrella that covers many concepts, pictures, feelings, and actions. This is why we can have a clutter-free life and still be consumed by chaos.

Bringing More Meaning

We increase the clarity and power of our communication when we replace the word clutter with chaos. After all, chaos cuts to the core of what simplifying, reducing, and organizing are all about.

It's about:

  • Bringing order to your life.
  • Feeling in control of your future and being able to live life intentionally.
  • Promoting what's most valuable over everything else that distracts from it.
  • Prioritizing what's important over the needlessly urgent.

The best labels are the ones that are least restrictive and most able to evolve.

How do you feel after decluttering anyway?

Decluttering doesn't feel nearly as good or last as long as the physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental rewards that result from removing chaos.

Consider this video game analogy:

Clutter is just a miniboss on the way to confronting the big boss – Chaos. It's the Vile on the way to beating Dr Wily in Mega Man. It's the Dark Link on the way to defeating Ganon in The Legend of Zelda.

Bottom line: clutter busting is not an end unto itself. Mastering chaos is.

How to Apply Better Labels

There is a fixation in places like minimalism/simplicity blogs and productivity hacking websites with reducing clutter. This mania continues through products and services always selling a better way to reduce or simplify.

And hey, that's not a bad thing to promote, educate, and help with.

But you know where they could really be focusing their energy? Helping you find where chaos lurks, evaluating methods to thrive in it, and giving you the skills to master it.

That's what we do here. And trust me; I'd rather not hog the “chaos pie.”

Label MakerI'd rather people share it and find new solutions beyond the stagnant clutter ones. We can grow the number and type of solutions to our struggles by shifting the terms and communication of them.

So start replacing clutter with chaos.

Start asking people if chaos resonates more and better communicates their problems.

We don't just need to clutter bust our desks, our sock drawer, our closet, our brains, our music collection, and the random things we buy. The act of decluttering is a step on the path to restoring order to our environment. But only through dealing with chaos do we bring harmony to our lives.

Simple Heroes, Community Connectors, and Triumphant Troubleshooters…Speak Up!

Speaking of labels…

I have some labels for the all-stars in our community and all those trying to help us. The Simple Heroes, the Community Connectors, and the Triumphant Troubleshooters.

Being labeled a “Simple Hero” is not a backhanded compliment. People who embrace and display simplicity are my heroes and I want to hear from you.

Community Connectors” are those of you guiding everyone else to awesome resources outside this refuge of simplicity. I love what I create here and believe there's huge value in it. But this is only a fraction of the wonderful information, skills, and tools to simplify and organize. The “Community Connector” label is honorably applied when a person helps to connect someone else in the community struggling to overcome their issues.

I also want to hear from the “Triumphant Troubleshooters.” Life is not a straight path and troubleshooting it is essential. So when you find (or already know) a good way to navigate the obstacles in front of us, let everyone else learn from your experience.

Chaos Skills

The most important label to understand today is chaos. But simply understanding it doesn't make you good at managing it.

Need some skills to kick chaos ass?

Some of the best ones only come from the Value of Simple newsletter.

This website is a bus helping you get where you want to go and the newsletter is the express pass to get there faster.

Combined, they give you the full road map for a simplified, organized, and money wise existence.

I hope you've enjoyed and benefited from this label crazy article.

I'll stick with the chaos label and I hope you will too. After all, wouldn't you rather focus on mastering chaos than busting clutter?

What are your favorite clutter and chaos analogies? And how important are the labels you apply to the beliefs and movements that define you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Photo credit: red_frizzell and Jamiesrabbits