Why you can't de-clutter on your own... and how I can help!
"Out of clutter...find simplicity." Albert Einstein
Many people find clutter frustrating and a challenge to deal with. It is, after all, a physical representation of procrastination, bad habits and mental anguish. Oooh, ouch I hear you say. Well, I think it's time to be honest about what clutter really represents. I believe there is a way to deal with both physical and emotional clutter, but sometimes you'll need help dealing with it.
Why is de-cluttering important?
The first thing is to understand why de-cluttering is important to you. Most people surrounded by clutter are aware of it, they don't need others nagging them about it, and they already feel the anxiety which comes with it. So writing down how your life would be better without it is a really good start. A good way to sort mental clutter is to put it down on paper, yep, you might think that it's a waste of time but it will become a reference for you to return to when you are struggling. Do it. And stick it somewhere you can see it! Start with just three benefits solely to you.
Your emotions and surroundings.
Once you have written that list, you will see that for the most part they are all emotional advantages. Things like re-gaining time with friends and family, less stress, less anxiety are all benefits of de-cluttering. Your brain parks all your physical clutter in your memory somewhere and the more room it takes up the less there is for the really important joyful things.
So how do we tackle clutter? The strategy is a simple one. Commit to it, schedule it, do it. The specifics are for another blog post but start with the important things, phone, wallet, keys, mail/bills, important documents, school paperwork and decided the places they will live permanently. If they don't have a place, make one. Then once or twice a day schedule a time (like before you go to work or before you go to bed) and put them back into their place. It's about creating new habits and stopping procrastination. And while you are doing that, pick up a few more things that need returning to their place, kids toys, books, clothes, cooking utensils you used the night before.
After a few weeks you will see clutter dissipate. Take notice of what you are avoiding and schedule a block of time to tackle that one job, then commit to it. Do you need to do the whole garage or office or linen cupboard? Pick one thing not the whole lot and start with that. Small bite size chunks will stop you from losing motivation.
Emotional landmines, what are they?When you start de-cluttering but then suddenly come across something that stops you , I call this an emotional landmine. There is something emotional that is attaching you to this item, be it paperwork, old sofa, mums ugly china doll collection. There is an emotional tether that has got you stuck and it's time to really think about what this means. Having a difficult conversation, worrying about letting go, re-living negative emotions over and over....? This is where a professional can help you. They can help rationalise decision making and support you moving forward. It can be very tough on your own.
What is important here is to learn to think about the reasons why this is in your home and is it serving a purpose or making your life better? If it's neither of these then it's time to let it go. After a while, this process will become easier as you build up a resilience and you will no longer feel the shame associated with de-cluttering your life.
The most important aspect of de-cluttering and living a more minimal life is that when you let these things go you are creating space in your home, office and mind for new better things to come your way. You will find a joy and sense of calm that only a de-cluttered and organised life can bring.
Now I'm not saying that de-cluttering is easy. For those who have lived a somewhat chaotic, dis-organised life it can be extremely difficult to know where to start. Some families are just super busy, some business people are just time poor...the reasons don't matter but the outcome will be as positive for all.