I’m repeating the guest blog post by Angie Hyatt because it makes me want to spring clean! I bet it will make you want to do so, too!
I can’t remember how I met Angie Hyche, but I know it was several years ago. I believe it was at a Kingsport Chamber of Commerce event, but I’m not sure.
Angie has recently published a book, Unholy Mess What the Bible Says about Clutter. I read it earlier this year as part of my morning devotions.
Angie Hyche is a certified professional organizer (CPO®) and the owner of Shipshape Solutions. Angie is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee and a graduate of Sullivan South High School and Tennessee Tech University, where she earned a B.S. in Biology and played volleyball. She is a member of the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame. She earned a Master of Science from Emory University and worked as a pediatric physician assistant in inner-city Atlanta, Georgia.
Although she enjoyed working in the fields of medicine and education, she is thrilled to now share her passion and skills in organizing with her clients. She provides custom one-on-one organizing services for home or business. She is a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), Faithful Organizers, and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. She writes a monthly organizing column for the Kingsport Times News and the Johnson City Press. Her first book, Unholy Mess: What the Bible Says about Clutter was published on Amazon in December, 2020.
Angie and her husband Eric were married in 1987. Eric works as a software engineer for Noom (a company that produces a psychology-based weight loss app) and is on the Board of Education for Kingsport City Schools. They have two grown daughters: Emma and Lydia. When she’s not organizing, Angie enjoys riding bicycle trails, hiking, participating in group exercise classes, reading, and acting in community theatre.
In her words, I present Angie Hyche:
I have worked as a professional organizer since 2016. Although every experience is unique, the most common thread among my clients is that most of them have too much stuff. They’re overwhelmed with their accumulations, and they need my help to sort through their belongings, to decide which items they can part with, and to put the remaining ones in order. My experiences working with clients have made me all too aware of the fact that we do indeed live in a culture of abundance with regard to our physical belongings. This probably comes as no surprise to you given the fact that storage units are on practically every corner in America.
Over time, I began to realize that my clients’ physical clutter was simply an outward sign of deeper problems. I found that in order to achieve lasting success in clearing clutter, it was necessary to face those deeper issues. Simply making a space look better wasn’t enough. Exposing the roots of behavior and beliefs underneath the piles revealed the heart of the matter. It required some honest soul searching along with a determination to change their habits.
While I enjoyed my decluttering and organizing work with clients, I was always happy to return to my clutter-free home. I took great pride in the fact that for the most part, I had managed to avoid an over accumulation of stuff. My home wasn’t perfect, but it certainly wasn’t cluttered.
My understanding of clutter began to grow as I read material on minimalism and considered the broader definition of clutter found in these resources. Defined more broadly, clutter is anything that gets between us and our goals, anything that distracts us from our priorities. Considering that definition, I realized that it was time for me to do some soul searching. I too have huge issues with clutter. While my clutter issues are practically invisible, the consequences of my clutter are just as serious, if not more so.
In my book, Unholy Mess: What the Bible Says about Clutter, I am very honest and transparent about my issues with schedule clutter and attention clutter. I define schedule clutter as a schedule or To Do list packed with activity that keeps you from spending time on what’s most important and doesn’t align with your priorities. I define attention clutter (also called mental clutter) as anything that draws your attention away from what’s going on at the moment or away from our priorities. And let me tell you, I am the poster child for both of these types of clutter. It’s not something of which I am proud. But I am eternally grateful that God called this to my attention so that I could change.
When it comes to managing my time, left to my own devices I would fill my calendar and my To Do list to overflowing. I’m an energetic and driven extrovert. I had convinced myself that I was thriving on this kind of lifestyle. I was trying to spin too many plates, not putting the most important things first, and neglecting my family. My life was incredibly out of balance. I was filling my life with activity because I was basing my identity on my accomplishments. I talked a good talk about God and my family being the most important things in my life, but my life didn’t reflect those priorities.
The biggest contributor to my attention clutter was undoubtedly my smartphone. My family tried addressing this issue with me. They would complain that when they tried talking to me, I was often distracted by my phone. I made a few half-hearted attempts to change, but it was far too easy to slip back into the old patterns of behavior. I was only successful in transforming my habits when I faced the depth of the problem and made some drastic changes. Some examples of the practical changes I made were deleting my personal Facebook page, refusing to charge my phone beside the bed, and not using my phone at mealtimes.
I know that I am not alone when it comes to mental clutter related to smartphone use and schedule clutter related to a packed calendar and an over ambitious To Do list. I am passionate about telling my story partially because freedom from these forms of clutter has made such a difference in my life. But the main reason I am passionate about addressing these forms of clutter is that they are symptoms of deeper problems, problems that if not addressed will reap drastic consequences.
The Bible doesn’t use the word clutter. I’m not sure that word even existed in Biblical times. But make no mistake, the Bible has plenty to say about the topic. Anytime we put something else besides God at the top of our priorities, we are misaligned. When we look to something besides God to fulfill us, we are doomed to disappointment. Whether we try to find fulfillment in possessions, relationships, power, money, travel, our home, or fame, among others, we are putting our trust in the wrong things. They may satisfy temporarily, but the satisfaction won’t last. Our Heavenly Father created us, and He knows what will and won’t fulfill us. He sees all of our misguided attempts to find happiness. He is longing for us to come to Him, the only true source of peace and contentment.
The following verses are but a few that illustrate this theme:
- “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
- “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalms 63: 3-5
- “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4
If you’re ready to address any clutter in your own life, my book Unholy Mess: What the Bible Says about Clutter would be a useful tool for you. You’ll find inspiration from Scripture for a healthy relationship with your possessions and a deeper relationship with God. You’ll read stories of the freedom that comes from letting go. You’ll find practical steps to overcome the obstacles, organize your home, and maintain the order. You’ll discover tools to help you assess your own attention clutter and schedule clutter and to successfully address them.
The book is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. If you’re a part of a church group, women’s group, or book club, I’d love to speak to your group about the concepts included in the book. I’d love to connect with you through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (423-567-4273). My prayer is that we would all pursue the abundant life through Christ, trusting that He alone can truly satisfy.
Copyright March 19, 2021 and May 1, 2021 by Angie Hyche and Rebecca Henderson