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tool: the filter

By 13 September 2022January 23rd, 2023No Comments

When we consider the clutter we have in our lives, the clutter of all types, we can look at it from 2 perspectives:

  • what we currently have in our landscape and mindscape right now, and
  • how it all got there in the first place

I like to look at it through the image of the filter. The shape and thickness of our filter might shift and change over time, but to identify what we want to keep out and what we want to allow in is essential to regain our agency and control over the stuff we hold and carry.

When we think about de-cluttering, we think about a big one-off exercise where we remove everything that is unwanted and not serving us right now. And that in itself is a big task.

But to make this a sustainable change in habits, we also need to look at how this stuff gets there in the first place, and what we might want to adjust so that we are more mindful of what we let in. This can be anything from our buying habits (of trinkets, books, clothing, beauty products, food etc…) to the demands from others that we allow on our time and that fill up our diary, from the dynamics of the various relationships in our lives, to the stories we tell ourselves when we are not particularly self-kind.

All this stuff that takes up our energy is at some point allowed by us into our landscape. When we are cluttered and overwhelmed, this stuff is simply too much for us to function and remain effective with. And that doesn’t help us.

So let’s create a filter for ourselves and actively choose what we want to keep out, and what we want to allow in.


  • When you consider everything in your landscape right now, what are you noticing in terms of how it got there?
  • What shape could your filter take, and what would you like to stop from coming into your landscape from now on?
  • What one thing could you do right now to start filtering the clutter coming in?

I like the image of a coffee filter, but if that doesn’t work for you, feel free to pick any other image that takes your fancy! Having a visual representation of what we are trying to achieve can be a big help in focusing on keeping going.

Now to get started!