Maintaining Motivation


If you’re on Step 2 or beyond of your Journey, I encourage you to start playing background music when you do your Clutter Clearing Sessions.


Because music changes the way we understand the world in terms of our mood, our mindset, our behaviour and – specifically for our Clutter Clearing – the decisions we make.

Specifically, it helps us do 7 things:

  1. Changes the way we understand the world
  2. Changes our mood
  3. Mindset – especially from a negative mindset to a positive one to help us get motivated
  4. Focus on our goals as the music makes us feel positive and motivated
  5. Behaviour – by motivating us to take action and do the doing
  6. Reduces stress / fear by lowering blood pressure

And because music can do all of  the above, it also help us to make realistic decisions about the things in our clutter.

Music and Motivation Research

Some research was done in the Netherlands on the issue of music and motivation.

They concluded that music influences how people felt, and in turn how motivated they were to complete certain tasks.


The researchers asked their test subjects to perform a task in which they had to decide how they felt while listening to happy or sad music and looking at a happy, sad or ‘neutral’ face.

They were played and showed different combinations e.g. sometimes happy music with sad faces, or happy music with neutral faces and so on.

When they were played JUST the music, they were asked to remember which face – happy, sad, or ‘neutral’ – had been shown to them the last time they heard that music.

They discovered that even when people were looking at a “neutral face” but listening to HAPPY music, people thought the face that they had been looking at before was a happy face.

The music had determined how they felt and what they remembered, not what they saw on the face. You could say they were looking at things that weren’t actually there.

The researchers explained this by the fact that the conscious brain – which we use when  we’re making decisions – doesn’t just make decisions based purely on what we SEE. It actually makes decisions using sound as well.

They also discovered that the sound creates the mood – so how you feel and what you see creates the experience or memory and therefore informs the decisions we make.

They concluded that our brain uses the mood or feeling plus the experience and memory, to decide how we feel. And of course, how we feel when we’re doing our Clutter Clearing or making decisions is going to be a significant factor in our ability to get through the bad days and tough weeks as we clear our clutter on our Clutter Clearing Journey.

Imagine if we could reduce our feelings of overwhelm or get through any resistance simply by putting on some positive, uplifting, happy music. Well, we can, because the researchers also concluded that we could create a mood or mindset with music.

If you doubt them, think back to a song from your childhood. Maybe a summertime song that the minute you hear it you’re taken back to that happy time – it doesn’t matter if it’s a ‘good’ song.

For me it’s Madonna and ‘Cherish’, Will Smith and ‘Summertime’, Eagles ‘Hotel California’.

Equally, if I hear Kenny G – the American smooth jazz saxophonist whose music is used extensively in hotels and airports – I’m transported back to my memories of repeated visits to West Africa and I feel down and unhappy because those unhappy memories come flooding back. No offence intended to any Kenny G fans…..

Where words fail,
music speaks.
Hans Christian Anderson

In case you’re still doubting the power of music, it’s even been shown that music makes your brain literally light up the cerebellum on a brain scan.


This is the part of the brain that coordinates our posture, balance, and coordination. Which explains why, when we hear a feel-good piece of music, we want to start moving to the music. Obviously, everyone’s idea of ‘feel good’ music is unique to them, so not everyone’s brain will light up to the same music.

So don’t dismiss the power of music to positively boost your mood and your motivation.

Play an uplifting and positive piece of music when you feel close to the Panic Zone to help you get through a bad day or tough week. Once you get on to Step 2 of your Journey and you’re doing your weekly Clutter Clearing Sessions, consider putting some music on in the background –

  • when you are doing your categorising and sorting into your 7 categories, make sure it’s low volume, low energy, positive background music.
  • When you are doing the actioning of your 7 categories, try mid-volume, upbeat tempo music.
  • Consider listening to your favourite music as a reward to celebrate your success.

Try it for just one term and see if it makes a difference.

If you struggle to get motivated with your Clutter Clearing, find out how Clare can help you in her free help centre:

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