Alternative View on Disorganization

Get an alternate view

Refresh your relationship with clutter

We’ve invited acupuncturist Marie Bowser to give a different perspective on organizing.

There are several ways we can look at clutter, one of them is through the lens of the Chinese 5 Elements, a system that acupuncturists use to understand imbalance in patients.

Wood:  Wood is related to having an organizational plan or system and implementing it. If you are deficient in wood energy, planning may not be your strength. If you have an excess of wood energy, you might be so focused on your career plans that you don’t have time or attention to implement an organizational plan.

If this sounds like you, it is advisable to take some time out to create a system or plan for handling paperwork or storage that will work for you.

Fire:  It’s fun to be spontaneous but when fire energy is excessive in the personality it can be difficult to place attention toward the mundane tasks of day to day such as filing paperwork or putting belongings away.

The antidote here is actually to slow down and cool down by relying on the energy of Water activities. A great example of a cooling water activity is meditation to create mental focus and clarity.

Earth:  Earth energy is related to nourishment and habitation, and is supported by a tidy and comfortable home. Clutter can actually make it harder for us to inhabit our homes with ease.

For instance, if someone doesn’t have access to cooking implements it’s harder to nourish oneself; or if you don’t have access to the supplies associated with your hobbies life can become dull and ultimately frustrating.

Metal:  Metal is related to accumulating wealth and possessions as well as “letting go” of ways of being that no longer serve us. When we feel an urge to surround ourselves with “stuff” it is advisable to look at the role of metal in your life. Are you trying to create meaning in life out of accumulating possessions? Why is it hard for you to “let go” of belongings in your life?

 Sometimes when we are able to purge belongings that no longer serve us, this creates room for new energy (job, relationship, happiness) to come into our lives.

Water:  Water, like fire, can be chaotic creating a situation where someone is unable to focus on tasks like organizing papers or belongings. These people may be likely to forget to eat, may be easily lost down a rabbit hole of projects, may get sucked into other people’s agendas and become overwhelmed.

If this sounds like something you struggle with, the Earth energy of tending to nourishment can help to ground you in your home, your projects and the tasks that need to happen for ease in your life.

Chinese Medicine offers a unique perspective to the clutter problem.  If you’re feeling stuck in clutter and this approach resonates with you, check it out!

Marie Bowser is a licensed acupuncturist working in the Berkeley, California area. She is available for speaking engagements and classes.  Her website is:


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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

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