How often do we put something down and say "I'll get to it in a minute? ...or this weekend? ...or later?" Eventually, if we fail to follow though, we are left with piles of things waiting to be completed and what was once a trivial task has now become overwhelming, resulting in an even longer period of procrastination and an abundance of clutter.
It seems to be human nature to let stuff pile up, whether good or bad. Piles can exist to bring order, as in the case of sorting items like clothes or mail. These piles represent a single decision: to wash, to donate, to shred, to pay, etc.
Alternatively, piles can lead to disorder, like stacks of unread or unopened mail resulting in misplaced bills or invitations. Here, piles are defined as a stack of decisions deferred, a way to postpone or neglect, a failure to follow through.
Why do we wait to deal with certain things? A fully loaded question, I'm sure. The answer could stem from anywhere: forgetfulness, a lack of time, an unbalanced work/home life, depression, anxiety, physical exhaustion, laziness, apathy, ambivalence, poor habits - the reasons are infinite. However, if we wish to rid ourselves of piles, it is imperative that we ask why and honestly try to answer ourselves. Hard questions require more thought and the results may be very uncomfortable. Remember, weeds are only removed from the root, not the stem. Likewise, once we understand the reason behind the unwanted piles of piles, we can eliminate the need for them in the first place.
In Feng Shui, clutter is viewed as a manifestation of a blockage in one's life, a physical sign of stagnation that affects one's well being. With that being said, sometimes more organization is not the solution for getting rid of piles. Decluttering often does a better job - when we're forced to make clear choices about the stuff we keep. Other times we do need to get organized, but with systems that are designed for us not others to help us become more efficient. Maybe its creating boundaries in our schedules, giving us time to focus on our priorities so that we are able to make better decisions elsewhere. It could even require taking an inventory of the company we keep. In my case, its the accumulation of bad habits, where I put off completing harder tasks to do easier ones I know I can complete.
Today, I encourage you to tackle whatever piles you have, whether they are physical piles or a list of things you want to do. Make the decision to rule over your stuff instead of it controlling you!