You might not believe this but the best way out of a rut is to clean. I don’t mean randomly dusting and washing things, but rather purposefully throwing out, organizing, and making things more livable. 

I am not sure what happens when we clean up our space, or our desktop, or our car, but the world seems more orderly, our lives seem more defined, and we are able to breathe a little easier. It’s as if our physical environment reveals our state of mind.

Of course that state of mind changes. Nothing is ever static, we go through clean stages or dirty stages, unless you’re a clean freak or a perfectionist, than you’re a tiny little bit obsessed, but that is for another time.

If you want to get unstuck get cleaning. Silly, I know, but I speak from experience. There is something magically freeing once it is done, to sit back and look at from a distance. It allows us to see things in our lives that otherwise blend into things that clutter our mind. It’s not that things spring up all the time. Sometimes they are there all along, we just don’t notice them or ignore them and let them fester.

Get learning. Really. Give it a try, and it doesn’t have to be a mammoth overhaul. You can simply start with the kitchen counter, or file away all those bills that are beginning to take up space on the same counter. You could go out and shovel the driveway, so that the cleared snow suggests a livable space. Maybe you could organize your old photographs. Doing so might bring back some memories, and you will be transported back in time and remember who you were and who mattered most to you.

Perhaps you take all your loans and consolidate them into one, so that you can focus on it and beat it down until it stops suffocating you. The possibilities that come with cleaning are endless, but you do have to take the first step toward it.

I am also not talking about the usual type of cleaning you and I have to do every single day, like dishes, or errands. You have to feed the dog, you have to water the flowers in your house, and you have to get done at work what you have to get done at work. I am talking about cleaning things that are not an emergency. And I think we should clean them not because they can’t wait another week, but because we cannot wait to be stuck another day.

Being stuck is terrible. You feel like all the effort you’re making turns to waste. You spin your wheels in mud with great effort and power, but you don’t move and remain exactly where you don’t wan to be.

You can get unstuck. You can put some sand or a piece of plank beneath the tire and help yourself get out of the jam you found yourself in. You can get unstuck by cleaning. So go and clean something. Get at it, but first clean up the negative things you say about yourself to yourself when no one is around.

Clean that up first, and then hit your kitchen counter.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Oliver Hale.