Are you surrounded by stuff? Let’s face it, the world is full of stuff so I would’t be surprised if your answer was, yes. You are not alone in this.
Clutter is one of those insidious things about modern life that happens slowly over time. You buy something new and bring it into your home and place it beside something older on the shelf. Before you know it, the shelf is full and things get shuffled to the floor, the back of the closet or on top of the old things – everywhere.
Then one day you find yourself shifting this and that in order to make a little space to get some work done. You have reached clutter critical mass. Your stuff is now dictating your movement. But did you know that your stuff is also dictating your life?
I love this quote because it gets right down to the core of the issue. Clutter is energy from the past. You were unable to make a decision about what to do with the stuff when the decision was meant to be made and now, you are unable to make the decision because too many other decisions (and clutter) have been piled on top of it.
“But” you say, “There was a really good reason why I kept that thing.”
That may have been true at the time. Perhaps it was prudent to keep the old VCR in case the Blue Ray recorder broke down. But now you stare around both pieces of electronics as you switch your smart TV over to Netflix’s and settle down for an evening of entertainment.
I get it, technology is evolving at a breakneck pace. Who can make decisions that fast. This year it’s Netflix, next year who knows, maybe a digital chip in your wrist that will project the TV image onto the wall. With all these changes, it’s no wonder your brain is stuck on analog.
And lets talk about the closet crammed packed with all that clothing.
Does this excuse sound familiar? “I just need to loose 10 or 15 pounds and then I can wear them again.” How many years have you been saying that?
Here’s the thing, and you know in your gut that this is the truth. If by some miracle of diet, you loose that weight, you will be so proud and happy with yourself that you will celebrate by going out and purchasing a new outfit, or even a new wardrobe for that matter. Those old clothes will remain exactly where they are, collecting dust in the back of your closet.
Here’s another truth. Those old clothes are like a yoke of guilt hanging around your neck. By keeping them, you are sending yourself a subconscious message that you have let yourself down by gaining the weight. If you get rid of them and make room for new, better fitting clothes you will somehow have to admit defeat and face the fact that you lost control of your waistline. Ouch.
But you do buy new clothes. You have to in order to cover your body and so you cram them in to that already over stuffed closet like the shameful weight gaining evidence that they are.
So what if you did clear out that clutter? Would you be abandoning your possessions? You paid good money for those things after all. You worked too hard for the money all of that stuff cost just waste it with a callous toss in the bin.
You spent good money on that old boyfriend or girlfriend as well, but you didn’t keep them around. Why are all these things you are hanging on to different? If you can toss the ex, you can toss the stuff.
The thing is, clutter represents old emotions. Usually guilt. Whatever the reason was that made you unable to make the decision at the time the item needed to be removed, is still weighing you down.
Have you ever cleaned off and organised your desk or workspace? Did you have a feeling of accomplishment? And more importantly, did you find you had a new sense of energy? I bet you couldn’t wait to sit down and get working again on that shiny clean surface.
By de-cluttering our lives, we free up space and by freeing up space, energy can flow once again. Think of it like clutter is a log jam on the river of life. Once the jam is removed the water (life) flows calmly and freely as it is meant to.
There is one more component of clutter I want to talk about. That is overwhelm.
Cleaning out that crammed packed closet is a daunting task. Not only is there a large outlay of time needed, there is the many decisions that are needed to be made as well. Too many decisions can lead to overwhelm and before you know it, you are paralysed to the point where you lack the ability to make even the simplest of decisions required to remove the old clutter. So you spend an hour or two reminiscing (code word for procrastination) as you go through your stuff once again.
Remember, lack of decision is what got you in this situation in the first place.
Rome was not built in a day and neither did that closet get jammed packed in a day either. Schedule yourself a block of time each week and do what you can but heed these guidelines.
- Whatever it is that you take out of that closet, or whatever you are de-cluttering, a decision has to be made about it. Make it once only, then move on to the next item.
- If you keep it, there must be a use for it in the now. Even if it is a memento, it must serve you right now with a pleasant memory or an emotion that fortifies you in some way. Holding on to your mother’s old books because they were your mothers, and you love your mother, is not what I’m talking about. If you won’t read them, then hang a picture of mom on the wall instead and remember her with love every time you look at it, but ditch the books. As a matter of fact even if you do read them, pass them on after you finish them anyway.
- Whatever you decide to get rid of, needs to be gotten rid of now. A plan must be made to remove the item immediately otherwise all you end up doing is creating another pile of stuff with another unmade decision attached to it.
- If it is outdated, old technology or broken, it needs to go. No compromise, no negotiation. That VCR needs to go.
- If you have been storing someone else’s stuff, give them a time limit (and make it a short time limit) to retrieve it or else it goes in the recycle bin. It’s bad enough that you are cluttering your life with your own energy blocks but taking on someone else’s? Odds are they have moved on from it a long time ago.
- Take advantage of new technology. Old photos and memorabilia can be scanned into computers and stored on hard drives or archival disks taking up a fraction of the space. Added Note: Of the photos that you do choose to keep, make sure they are well documented on the backside of each picture with who is in it and a date. Otherwise this history will be lost with the next generation. You don’t want crazy Aunt Ethel to become anonymous and deleted from the family tree do you?
- Finally, reward your self with the clarity of space. You will be surprised how light you will feel and you will also notice how your life will begin to open up to new opportunities as well. The universe abhors a vacuum, it will quickly fill this brand new energy void with something more in line with the new you. I guarantee it.
We all have something we should get rid of. It’s the result of years of mass consumerism, that we are hopefully, moving on from. We are drowning in too much cheap stuff, products that have planned obsolescence built right in and industries that create completely new categories of must have, impulse buys every day.
But there is relief insight as well, because their are solutions for your clutter problem. Recycling is mainstream now. So is upcycling and repurposing and for the really old stuff, vintage shops are hot. Finally a place to get rid of that polyester leisure suit or that dusty velvet Elvis. And as an added bonus, you may actually make some money as you de-clutter your life.
Want to live life lighter and free yourself of the jumble that is weighing your energy down? Start small; start with a drawer or a shelf and break free from the chaos of clutter. Watch your life open up to new ideas and opportunities as you emancipate yourself from the hodgepodge of stuff that is holding you back.
Pick one thing and remove it from your life. Then pick another. As you progress you will improve your ability to make bigger decisions that will effect bigger clutter.
You got this, and before you know it, you are a clutter free rock star. And with all that newly opened space, you might just feel the urge to rock on!