Do you feel like you’re ready to soar ahead, make new strides, plow new ground, claim new territory; but something seems to be holding you back? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you feel stuck, trapped, restrained, limited. Very likely what is holding you back is simple clutter.
Really. Often, before you can get ready for new and better things to happen, you need to seriously rid yourself of the old “stuff” that doesn’t work for you anymore so that you can create the space you will require to stretch and grow and expand.
Clutter can take the form of old ideas, old habits, old fears and other unfinished mental and emotional business, and you may have to deal with that clutter at some point as well, but the space in your life where clutter becomes most stifling is usually your immediate environment. The clutter that can build up in your closets, your drawers, your cupboards, under your bed, behind the doors, in the trunk of your car, in your glove compartment, even in your gym bag and your wallet is often stifling. Unless you have recently done a thorough purging, chances are very good that your inertia is caused by being mired in clutter. You could be an unknowing victim of “clutter creep.”
Clutter is the residue of past experiences, good and bad that you retain in your personal space for no better reason than you don’t know what else to do with it or about it. Here are just a few examples of how that happens:
Someone sends you flowers. Now that’s a happy thought. But when the flowers die, as flowers always do, what do you do with the vase? Chances are it winds up in a cupboard somewhere because it’s too nice to throw out and maybe some day you’ll have a use for it as well as the other ten florist’s vases you’ve saved from past gifts of flowers.
At Christmas time, you received six gifts you loved and easily incorporated into your everyday life experience. But, you also received a purple scarf with pink polka dots and a gadget shown on late night TV, neither of which you like or ever plan to use. So what do you do with them? If you are like most of us, you stuff them in some out-of-the way place – drawer, cupboard, closet, basement, attic, garage – so that if you ever need to produce them to protect the feelings of the giver, you might possibly be able to find them again.
Sure, it was very flattering of Aunt Mary to leave you the family turkey platter. In fact it really ticked your sister off that Aunt Mary left it to you instead of her, but in truth, you don’t host Thanksgiving dinner any more, nor do you plan to ever again and your children always barbecue on the holidays; and so all you are left hosting is an over-sized, unused, turkey platter which won’t fit anywhere except under the bed.
Sound familiar? Ask yourself right now, “Why am I doing this? Is the first step toward my really interesting new life to rid myself of the residue of the old? Sadly, the answer is “yes”.
Think first of distributing family treasures to your, well, your family. Let your sister have Aunt Mary’s turkey platter to put under her bed. Deliver several boxes of family pictures to your other siblings to deal with. Give your father’s old watch to your oldest child and let him or her grapple with who should inherit it next.
Next think garage sale or eBay or antique dealer – (groan) – and make those options palatable by planning a mini-vacation with the proceeds. Think charity for the leftovers from the garage sale because their new owners are driving toward the thrift shop even as we speak.
There are three simple rules for really successful decluttering. Examine each item carefully and thoughtfully. Sift slowly because these decisions are permanent. If there are memories attached, the memories aren’t leaving, just the item is. If those memories seem poignant, you may even want to take a picture of that item. But then ask yourself:
1) Do I love this item? Really love it?
2) Do I use this item? Really use it?
3) If it is broken, do I plan to have it fixed right now?
If the answer is seriously “yes” to any of those three questions, then the item stays. If the answer is “no”, it goes no matter what its origin was or why it came into your life. It may have been important to you at some point but it clearly isn’t important to you now and continuing to hold on to it is costing you.
Decluttering is a gift you give yourself. It opens the door to dozens of new possibilities. It frees you to express with renewed energy as the limitless being you already are. And as a bonus, it feels really great.
A Conscious Comment.
Did You Know?
Decluttering can literally change your life, but it takes courage, and persistence and fortitude and yes – COMMITMENT – total commitment to yourself. You can’t partially commit to yourself, because there is no power behind partial commitment.
Ex: Water, at 211 degrees Fahrenheit is very hot. Water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit is boiling. The significant difference lies in that one, essential degree. Hot water is good for some things, but it doesn’t have the power to create motion. Water must reach a full boiling point to make steam and in steam lays the power to propel large ships and trains and to run great factories. Partial Commitment = water. Full Commitment = steam. Only Full Commitment has the power to change your life.
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