Mess Equals Stress: The RESET Challenge #4

How do you eat an elephant? One mess at a time.

Where Does Your Home or Office Need Order?

For many working mothers, the line between home and office is blurring, making it even more difficult oftentimes to keep their surroundings organized.  

Have the kids’ toys started creeping into your workspace?  Are stacks of papers piling up on your desk?  Do you have tons of clothes that you either outgrew thanks to those COVID 19 pounds, or you’ve got suits from 1985 that you know you’ll never wear again but keep hanging on to them just in case padded shoulder pads make a comeback? Well, believe it or not, all that clutter in your physical environment can wreak havoc on your mind, body, and soul, preventing you from living your best life.

Mess Equals Stress

“Clutter is an overabundance of possessions that collectively create chaotic and disorderly living spaces,” according to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago who studies the causes of clutter and its impact on emotional well-being. And with years of research compiled around the world, it is clear that it affects our level of anxiety, our sleep quality, and our ability to focus.  It is also linked to depression and procrastination. A 2009 study found that mothers with cluttered home environments had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

When your physical space is visually overwhelming, you feel mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, keeping you stuck and putting off things that will bring you more joy, peace, purpose, and abundance.

Marie Kondo, the Japanese best-selling New York Times author, star of the Netflix show Tidying Up, and leader of the decluttering movement, says, “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not the person we were in the past.”

So, Where Do I Start?

First, ask yourself what can be tossed, recycled, or given away and what is a keeper? Then separate by category.


  1. A wise man once asked, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  In this case, one room at a time or one email inbox at a time. Hit the high traffic areas first; those unsightly areas that are in your direct line of sight that bring you the most angst daily. Make sure everything has a place, and get rid of anything that is not absolutely essential in that area.
  2. Don’t feel you have to go it alone. Corral family, friends, or hire a professional organizer to help you let go of stuff and get things in order. Many times there are emotions tied to the objects that make it hard for you to discard them, so seek out support.
  3. Donate and make it a teachable moment for the kids about the importance of charity and giving back.  Let them go through their toys to see what they can give away to make a less fortunate little girl or boy happy. This is an opportunity for you to see what furniture, linens, and exercise machines are just taking up space that could add love to the home of someone in need.
  4. Have fun and make some money!  Have a ‘Shop Your Closet’ Party or a family garage sale.  There is a golden rule when it comes to clothes and stuff in general; if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, it’s time to part ways.  
  5. Seasonal Storage. Prior to becoming a Coach, I worked in women’s luxury fashion for 20 years, so you could say I accumulated quite the collection over time.  I’ve actually been changing over my closet from my summer to winter wardrobe for years to keep it more organized. It may require investing in some under-bed-storage bins, which I am a big fan of, and other creative storage solutions, but it’s worth it.  Every season I get excited about my pieces all over again. It makes it a lot easier to pick out my looks each day and weed out the pieces that are no longer serving me to make room for more.

 The Laws of Abundance and Flow

One of my most exciting coaching sessions to date was with a client who was an entrepreneur, and a chronic under-earner looking to have a breakthrough in advocating for her worth and building a thriving business. Part of that was elevating her executive presence to attract those high-ticket clients.  On one of our calls, she noticed that the bike she had moved with, to California was hoarding the space in her closet and ruining the new shoes that she had bought.  It was a big, black clunky contraption that she rode when she lived in New York that carried a lot of old memories, including a bad breakup. She kept finding all kinds of ways to put off listing it on Craigslist, but at that moment on our call, she had reached point break. She decided the bike had to go now! Cue the Mission Impossible theme song! So in real-time, she grabbed the bike, the helmet, the lock, and a hand-written sign she made that read, “TAKE ME,” and she put it by the curb. It was so exhilarating as I supported her through this release.  By the time she got back upstairs to her apartment, she had looked down, and everything was gone.  She physically and emotionally said she felt so much lighter, and by that night, she texted me to say she had landed her first $1000 client. 

There is something to be said about clearing out the old to make room for the new.  Being heavy-laden with old stuff could be blocking the flow of change, prosperity, and dreams you are looking to manifest. I have countless stories like my client where decluttering allowed for goodness to flow into my life.

Mia Fox, NLP Coach, best-selling Manifestation Book Author, and Founder of SelfMade Ladies says,  “The Law of Attraction doesn’t just work better when we have a clean house; we should also focus on other areas; our relationships, our bodies, our thoughts, and yes, ladies, our handbags.”

If you want to get a deeper understanding of what your organization style is, take the Clutter Bug Quiz created by organizational expert, Cassandra Aarsen, Mom, and Host of the HGTV Show Hot Mess House.

Final Words

Whether you jump on Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method bandwagon to declutter your house from top to bottom or simply tackle the junk drawer in your desk, one thing we know for sure is that every little bit helps to bring you one step closer to manifesting the abundant life you deserve.

Dionne Nicholls is a professional coach trained through Accomplishment Coaching. After a successful 20-year career in the fashion industry and  a single mom at the age of 40, Dionne transitioned to become a leadership coach. As the Founder of Live Your Best Life For You, she focuses on supporting her clients to  make significant shifts in their lives and leadership styles, while taking a firm yet empathetic stand for their goals and  dreams. Inspired by her own personal journey of reinvention, Dionne dedicates her life to supporting working mothers who are challenged with balancing their commitment to a thriving, meaningful career, and personal life. She is the creator of the signature program The RESET: How to Pivot from Powerless to Purpose and is a Brand Ambassador for The Five-Minute Journal, the gratitude journal that changed her life.

Share this article

Stay Connected