clutter, ideas, self-empowerment, karyn shanks md, functional medicine

Great Ideas–One Drawer at a Time

Ever feel stuck? Can’t quite get the project started, or that great idea to emerge? Me too.

Here’s what I do: clean a drawer.

“Is she nuts,” you ask? (Well, yah, but that’s beside the point…)

That’s right, if you need that idea to pop, try cleaning something. De-clutter.

I choose drawers because they’re small, doable in a short period of time, and because, well, I’ve got a lot of “black holes” in my house right now (what we call those bottomless pits of junk).

The Chinese art of Feng Shui tells us that too much stuff—clutter (including what’s hidden)—blocks the flow of energy in our living environments—energy we need for those projects and ideas.

What’s in our spaces impacts our thoughts, mood, energy, and our health.

Intuitively we get this, right? How those piles on our desks and tables seem to sap the life out of us? How they make it hard to feel comfortable and move forward with our plans?

And there’s science to this—clutter leads to what psychologists refer to as “cognitive overload.” We can only process so much at one time. Clutter in our environment overwhelms our senses, triggering stress, leading to a more muddled, less attentive, and less inspired brain.

So back to my drawers… I’ve been cleaning out 1-2 drawers before project time. It takes me just a few minutes (I’m being ruthless!), and you know what? I’ve felt supercharged, way more productive, and I’m gradually getting rid of those black holes (and realizing how aptly we’d named them!).

Have a Beautiful day!


p.s. From my archives:

Clear Clutter for a More Peaceful and Focused Mind. 2017.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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