End of Autumn and Letting Go of Clutter

Red Oak Leaves. Nature Photography by Madison Woods for Wild Ozark.

The end of autumn brings me to a state of feeling introspective. Depression, melancholy maybe, or just a need to be alone with my thoughts for a little while … It’s not “sadness”, and it’s not a negative thing. It’s normal for me at this time of year.

The Liminal Space

It’s not technically the end of autumn until the first day of winter. But just as it feels like summer before the solstice, it feels to me like winter arrives before Dec. 21. When the leaves are mostly on the ground and the temperatures near freezing, to me, it’s winter.

The time between seasons – it doesn’t feel like fall anymore and it’s not yet winter – is a liminal space. It’s precisely this kind of space that makes my mood like it is.

Letting Go

Let go of what kinds of things?


Clutter makes me feel anxious for no good reason. When I feel anxious, vague fear is usually the underlying emotion. We all have fears that we deal with on a daily basis. Some of us are just better at ignoring them or hiding it.

One of mine is the fear is that I’ll never succeed in reaching my goals. I can further refine that to pinpoint exactly what it is I’m afraid of.

It’s not the fear of never reaching them. It’s the fear that it’ll take too long. The anxiety is just a companion to that fear.

Disorganization in my workspace contributes by magnifying the disorganized feeling of anxiety. When my surroundings get cluttered and my project list piles up I feel the crunch of time. I feel like I’m running out of it and it’s that urgency drives the underlying fear of possibly never finishing.

Getting organized

The problem is my workspace. My desk and office is so cluttered I can hardly find anything anymore. I am going to do a bit of fall organization in there this evening.

It’s more of a job than I can finish in one evening, though, so that project will extend for quite a while. Maybe even a whole week or even longer. Ha. I am not exaggerating. It’s pretty bad.

Letting Go

I know from experience the vague feeling of anxiety and fear will dissipate as the clutter is eliminated. So each thing I find a dedicated place for, or put in the recycle or the burn pile or the garbage will be like one more leaf falling from the tree.

Worrying without doing anything constructive accomplishes nothing. Just like the trees letting go of old leaves at the end of autumn, I too feel the need to let go of stuff I’m clinging to which no longer serve a purpose … starting with my office clutter.

What leaves do you need to drop?

For me this year, it’s the clutter in my office. In years past I’ve had more extreme cleansing to do. The principle of letting go of that which no longer serves is worth looking at. For me, the end of autumn is a great time of year to do it because it matches my mood already.


First Hunt by Ima ErthwitchPredator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.

Nature Farming

Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.

About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

4 thoughts on “End of Autumn and Letting Go of Clutter

  1. What a good reminder to me as well, Madison. I still have zillions of boxes in the basement that need to be gone through and dealt with, even though I’ve gotten rid of many, many things already. Paper clutter is my biggest problem in the rest of the house. I tend to save things or not have a place to put things until I deal with them, not having space for an office. All the best with raking up your “leaves” and I’ll attempt to do the same here.


    1. I do the same, even though I do have an office, Janet. It’s crammed to the ceilings and when I don’t know where to put something, it just kind of piles up where it is, lol. Got a lot done with it today – the filing pile has been dealt with, at least. But now I’m running out of filing space! When Rob’s shop is finished, it’ll help free up some space because a lot of the things in tote bins under the shelves will go in his shop. But in the meantime, I have to not let it get out of hand. Good luck with your “leaves” too!

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