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Visual clutter

As we sort and pack in preparation for another move, I just can’t find the salt shaker. It is somewhere on the table - I know it! But the table, being a catch-all space, used for sorting, prioritizing and marking, to prepare it for packing, is a mess. It is covered with everything from extra toiletrie, a few clocks, vitamins, DVDs, books, placemats, baskets, mugs and towels. This is what I call visual clutter.

Now I looked this up and I found out that visual clutter is a real thing.

Behavioralists have studied the phenomena and researched the issues of clutter. The term visual clutter according to smart people is: ‘‘a crowded or disordered collection of things’’ (


But more operational definitions have also been proposed, defining visual clutter as: ‘‘the state in which excess items can cause distraction and when put in a clutter can cause things to seem invisible or difficult to place “.

Wait! There is more.

The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.


While this confirms my theory, it doesn’t make me feel better.

Misplacing things, getting distracted and forgetting where I’ve put something are common, frustrating occurrences around my house. I have always used the vision card but maybe there is more to it. I know I function better when things are in order. I spill and misplace things less when my counter tops are cleared, laundry is put away and furniture is exactly in its place; but I thought that was because my vision was impaired. Clutter can make me mentally impaired too? Science says it can!

This has me thinking.

Does mental clutter, good and bad, effect my spirit? I do know when attention is divided, it effects my energy which in turn, effects my emotions. And I must admit, my emotions effect my spirit and my focus.

I read a quote the other day and I think it alludes to this idea of clutter. It said, “ the greatest battle of this generation is the battle for our minds.” Not a battle of the mind, but a battle for our minds. The battle is for our attention.

Is our ability to see clearly really being hindered by things that are of no value? Are the unnecessary things distracting us so much that we can’t find time for the necessary? Are there questionable things that are impairing our ability to focus? The Bible says there are!

Hebrews 12:1-2 CEB

…Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter.

I packed the mugs, put the dvds in their boxes, removed the batteries from the clocks, gave some stuff away and tossed the expired vitamins. The packing list is complete, the table is cleared of clutter - and I found the salt shaker!

I remind myself that regular times of sorting and prioritizing are a part of growing.

There are some things we should eliminate, replace and throw away. We often know what they are but hesitate to get rid of the stuff that clutters and keeps us from really seeing with focus.

And there are some things we should guard and mark fragile - that we should handle with great care.

Today, as I watch my stuff go out the door, I’m thankful that His packing list (His word) gives me all I need to not only choose well but to live free from clutter.

Lord, thank you for your word that renews our minds daily. Thank you Holy Spirit for your nudge that comes to encourage and correct us.Give us wisdom, discernment and courage to know what to keep and what to remove in our lives. Forgive us for allowing the clutter that does not honor you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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