Let me say this straight up, I’m a meditation teacher and I suck at organization. I’ve never really been the tidiest, most organized person. While I’m not a hoarder or anything, I’m also not exactly Mary Poppins. But it turns out that my meditation practice could help me to get a bit more clean and tidy.
Meditation can help to organize the mind, and an organized mind leads to an organized home (and vice versa). By incorporating a few mindfulness practices and some meditation techniques into our lives, we can train the mind to keep the home clean and tidy. And that’s good news for me!
As you know, meditation is a very versatile thing. In a nutshell it is about focusing on one or more things. There are many different forms of meditation, and while some could help people like me to be more tidy and organized, others most definitely will not. Take mindfulness, for example. Mindfulness is all about acceptance, which is great except that acceptance doesn’t help us to be tidy. Indeed, it makes us less bothered by things like the coffee stain that I just made when I spilled my afternoon cup of brew on the carpet. By making us less bothered it also makes us less motivated to go and clean up. And, indeed, this coffee stain is still right here in front of me.
So, some forms of meditation won’t help with tidiness. But others will.
For instance, many meditations can reduce stress, which is essential because when we are stressed we are less likely to bother to tidy up. Conversely, when we are relaxed we don’t mind spending hours tidying the house. Hence why relaxation techniques can help to increase cleanliness.
Another technique that helps is just general mindful awareness, or what is sometimes called “trait mindfulness”. This is the general quality of being consciously aware. When I’m mindful I’m more aware of the housework I need to do, without being bothered by it.
And so we can see that some forms of meditation do help us to be more tidy, but others do not. Hmmmm… what to do…
How To Use Mindfulness And Meditation For Organization
Do Your Chores Mindfully
If you’re like me, you sometimes get irritated by doing chores. For me it’s the repetitiveness of cleaning that bothers me. I just did the dishes yesterday, why do I have to do them again today?! It feels like I’m on a hamster wheel of cleaning. Ughhh!
The way that I stop this is to do my chores as a mindfulness exercise. In Buddhism this is called Soji. It’s about bringing conscious awareness to tidying up. Whether I’m sweeping the leaves in my driveway or making my bed, I will do it mindfully, bringing the quality of conscious awareness to my tidying. Another excellent practice is to be mindful of individual tasks. I’ll set myself one task to do, focus on just that one thing, do it, and then put everything away. Organizing my tasks like this so I’m only ever doing one thing, and doing it to completion, helps me to reduce clutter.
I find the link between stress and disorganization quite fascinating. When we are stressed we are less likely to want to tidy up (and also possibly less likely to have the time to do so). Unfortunately, disorganization also causes stress. Let’s flip that on its head. Being relaxed makes us more inclined to be organized, and being organized makes it easier to be relaxed. Knowing this, what can we do? I like to do a little bit of meditation for relaxation, then immediately after I will go and do a little cleaning up. I’ll do that a couple of times each day, and that helps me to stay both organized and relaxed.
Cultivate motivation through compassion
I find it helpful to take a moment to remind myself how tidying up helps me to be happy and to stay relaxed. And so in that way, tidying is a compassionate deed. And if compassion does not come easily, we can practice various meditations such as Loving Kindness and Tonglen. When we are compassionate, and when we understand how tidying and being organized helps everyone at home, we will be more motivated to keep the home nice and clean.
Make Your Environment Mindful
Seeing as we are discussing mindfulness and organization, let’s discuss how you can make your home more conducive to mindfulness.
For starters, consider creating a meditation space at home. My own space is just a little corner of a room where I have some Buddha statues and arts. It’s where I give my online meditation lessons. And because I only ever use it for meditation, it’s simple to keep it clean and organized.
Also consider getting a desktop zen garden. This is a little gravel or sand garden that we tend to with a rake. The practice of tending to the garden is in itself a mindful practice, and it’s an excellent exercise to encourage organization and tidiness.
Visualization meditation for organization
- Sit comfortably with good posture, close your eyes, and take a few mindful breaths.
- Visualize your organized, tidy home and life. What would it look like and feel like to be completely tidy and organized?
- While visualizing, notice if you experience any negative thoughts about being organized. If so, remember that they are just thoughts, they are unimportant.
- As you open your eyes, say to yourself, “From this moment on I will do my best to be tidy and organized.”
Did It Change Me?
Honestly, I don’t think I will ever be the epitome of tidiness. My crazy creative brain likes to live in a bit of a frenzy, and I’m cool with that. However, the practices we’ve looked at above do help me to reign myself in and to minimize my messiness. By living a lifestyle based on mindfulness and meditation, I’m able to keep my place relatively clutter free, even if it’s still not the Hilton.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison