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How to overcome a cluttered desk and find peace in chaos

looking past the clutter to my sacred space
Sarah at yourrxforselfcare

Hi, my name is Sarah,

I’m a pharmacist + self-care adventurer.

I am a full-time mom, spouse, and healthcare professional with a tendency to get stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out.

My vision is to empower overextended people to practice self-care and unlock their potential for peace (myself included).

How to overcome a cluttered desk and find peace in chaos
my cluttered desk
This is not staged…it is the real state of my work space. I even have more pictures to prove it.

With chaos abound on this cluttered desk, my sacred space anchors me to some calm. 

I am not an innately organized person. As much as I love a good productivity system and Konmari’d closet, I have an even greater tendency to let them fall by the wayside shortly after setting up.

My side of the bedroom is littered with baby toys, work stuff, and laundry (mostly clean, but if I’m honest, some of it just hasn’t made it to the hamper). The piles grow higher and more disorganized each day, until I finally start to break them down and slowly put things away. 

tidiness is often abandoned at the first distraction, whether stressful or happy.

It’s a begrudgingly accepted fact that every surface in my house is at risk for becoming covered in stuff, usually my stuff: like half-finished projects, or cooking remnants of the last meal I prepared. Unless I’ve had dedicated time or motivation to clear all the spaces, most table tops are transition areas, and items far from their home rotate around the house until they’re put away. 

I can’t keep up with it. It’s hard for me. I have to exert crazy amounts of effort to not be a complete slob, with energy I usually don’t have, and hence the nondescript clean-but-possibly-not-the-cleanest pile of laundry that forms next to my bed each week. This is my normal.

Add in additional stress, lack of sleep, or even happy diversions, and the disarray flourishes.  

I am very aware that function better when things are tidy, but tidiness is often abandoned at the first distraction, whether stressful or happy. Even my family thrives better in clear, clean spaces, but still, my reality now (and probably forever) is that I don’t exist in a picturesque, instagram ready home. 

clutter, part II

Same desk, different mess. Did you know, they say a cluttered desk is a sign of genius?

My desk is no exception. Covered in work, life, and dust, it’s in a perpetual state of clutter. It baffles me that I can exhibit such Type-A tendencies in my profession and also endure this cluttered chaos of a work area.

My office mate at work (in pre-COVID world, when we worked in the same physical space) had a sleek, organized, minimalist desk, nearly pristine. We used to joke that my cluttered desk gave his desk anxiety.

I should be grateful I have all this crap, right? And even more so that I have all this SPACE to be cluttered, right? I’m not always a gratitude fairy, so more often than not, I’m aggravated by the bedlam.

My cluttered desk may be an utmost disaster, but I do have one tiny little space kept free from chaos.

On my desk, with every other shelf covered, I have a little area of reprieve that is untouched by clutter. (Can you see it?)

This little shelf anchors me as a sacred space. The mess is still there (ALL.OVER.THE.DESK) but I’m finding some peace in the exception to the rule, here. 

I’m pressed for time, feeling particularly drained of energy as I gaze upon the jumble of papers, books, lipsticks, and other hodge podge. With work deadlines looming and stress mounting, I can’t take the time to sort through this overwhelming pile. Instead, I’m choosing to look at my sacred space.

I’m cropping out the clutter and smudging out the dust to notice a virtually untouched and organically pretty set of crystals. I don’t worry that I haven’t rotated them, or dusted them, or appreciated them for…who knows how long? Nothing else is allowed there, and right now, it’s giving me some grace. 

looking past the clutter to my sacred space
I am looking past the clutter to see my sacred space.

How to find your sacred space among the clutter

Clutter can exist in all planes of life, not just the physical. In moments where the clutter is overwhelming and untouchable (for whatever the reason) and our to-do lists are overflowing with all the stuff that must be done, we deserve to have a space of respite. 

We don’t need to add another thing on our to-do lists. Rather than feeling the pressure of making or manufacturing a perfect, peaceful space, here is a list of some simple sacred spaces that potentially exist in your world already:

  • Sacred space can be consistently in front of us, like this shelf on my desk, a knickknack, or a favorite chair.
  • Sacred space can be an escape to 5 minutes alone in the car.
    marie's sacred space

    Another sacred space

  • Maybe your sacred space is a simple homage to a loved one, a photo in your home, or an item that brings you joy and meaning. (like my cousin’s sweet pair of italian shoes that our late grandfather gave her when she got her license)

  • Sacred space can be a deep breath or a glass of water when things are feeling overwhelming and hectic.
  • Sometimes, sacred space is noticing the beauty in something, like the pattern of a blanket or the way light bounces off your countertop.
  • Sacred space can be silence, like in meditation, or full of sound, as we immerse ourselves in a shower or a favorite song. 

The whole point is that our lives are full of things to keep us anchored to what matters. Wherever it is, whatever it looks like, if you find yourself going off the rails, or simply under stress, find your sacred space and give yourself a minute of peace. 

Where do you find your sacred space? What is missing from this list of sacred spaces? Send me a message or connect with me on Instagram and let me know. I would really love to hear from you.

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