It’s Springtime… time to bring in the new in all areas of our lives! I’m finally opening my windows, opening my closets and opening myself to letting go of the clutter I find in them!
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re like me, you may be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of your stuff that demands to be managed. For example, are you keeping clothes that still have the price tags on them? What about that “nice, but not my style” gift you received from your aunt last year? Does your office look like a white (paper) tornado hit it? Do you realize that the cupboards and closets in our homes that harbor our physical stuff are often a reflection of the closets in our minds?
Our mind is where clutter actually accumulates first, before it manifests itself as excess physical things in our homes. Here is where old thought patterns, emotions and anxieties that keep us confused, stuck and unhealthy (mental clutter) must be “busted” first, particularly the guilty or shameful feelings that made us acquire the things in the first place.
Our outer clutter reflects a degree of our inner clutter. The mind is where the real work begins, where change must happen before any home closet can be purged.
Clutter is all about feeling “stuck,” experiencing fear of or difficulty making change, letting go and moving on. It’s about not feeling good about yourself, and possibly wanting something that has passed. Clutter keeps your energy either in the past or the future, yet prevents you from living in the now.
So what makes us collect, keep and manage excess stuff in the first place? What personal void does our stuff fill? And how does our addiction to stuff, particularly excess stuff, affect us psychologically?
Brooks Palmer, author of “Clutter-Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back,” says that we try to give our lives significance by filling it up with things, which doesn’t work. Only a feeling of personal significance will replace our need to acquire things. Peter Walsh, host of TLC’s hit show Clean Sweep, and Oprah’s organizer, adds: “Stuff robs people of so much. If your house is full of stuff, all the blessings that could fill your house can’t get in. The stuff takes over. It robs you psychologically. You can’t be at peace.”
Stuff management wastes time and creates work that works against us in our homes and offices. Melody LeBaron, Home and WorkSpace Expert, says “We each have a relationship, a partnership, with the spaces we live and work in. And that partnership is either working for us or against us. Your space is either raising your mood and physical energy level because it’s clean, efficient, and pleasing. Or it is lowering your mood and energy level because it’s not.”
So how do you tackle that mental clutter that forges our strong emotional attachment to things – owning too many things – so that your peace of mind can be restored as well as your motivation and acceptance of change and progress? I suggest that you start by taking an inventory of your excess things which will naturally lead you to taking an inventory of your life. Become aware of your thinking and behavior patterns. Recognize how your thinking shows up in your life and your things. What emotions do your things satisfy?
If it’s sentimentality, ask yourself if those long-held thoughts and behaviors are still serving you today? If not, are you willing to let them and those things go, and to replace them with clarity, insight and happiness? This mental inventory exercise should help reduce your stress and simplifying your life by making it easier to let go of things that create excess work for you, things that you must manage beyond a reasonable degree, things that no longer give you joy, or serve you here and now. Stop suffocating yourself with stuff and watch your energy flow into your life!
So, how does your stuff serve you, or enslave you? How do you decide what supports you, and what steals from you? Write to tell me about how you manage your letting-go process and how that translates into a happier, healthier you!
Brooks Palmer says
I like what you had to say about the power of letting go of clutter, Joyce. Thanks for helping spread the word!