Clutter. We all have clutter. My clutter is visible to those who visit my house or to anyone who’s seen the amount of emails in my inbox. Some people’s clutter is better hidden. It may be paper clutter or emotional clutter or hidden clutter in your vehicle or maybe you call it a “collection”. Maybe you hold onto things that have sentimental value or maybe you border on being a hoarder.
Image Copyright: antikainen / 123RF Stock Photo
Regardless of what kind you have, clutter chokes out the joy. It’s as simple as that.
Even if your clutter is hidden in your closets or behind a locked door, it is affecting you.
I am the queen of excuses when it comes to this issue. I can easily tell you that my clutter is because of having so many kids or being so busy or because I have more paperwork than most people because of our situation or because I have no time. I can tell you that I’ll get to it “someday” but the truth is that these are just excuses.
I have made steps towards getting rid of my clutter in the past but I’ve never been able to keep it at bay and I think the reason for that is that I had never DECIDED that enough was enough. This time, I have decided that my life will be better without the “stuff”. Stuff doesn’t bring me any happiness. Getting rid of stuff always makes me feel freer and less stressed.
As you may have guessed from the name of my blog, clutter is an ongoing issue for me. Just so that you don’t think that I’m preaching at you about your clutter while living in a perfectly clean home, I’m sharing with you a picture of what my office looked like yesterday.
I obviously don’t actually work in this office right now. It has become the catch-all room in our house. When we don’t know where to put something, “put it in the office” is what I tell whoever asked. When we have people coming over and are frantically trying to clean the house, we throw everything in the office. When I want to put things like Christmas gifts or birthday gifts or treats out of reach of the kids, they go in the office because it’s the only room in the house with a lock on the door. I have a pile of papers in my kitchen that grows and grows until we are having a get-together and then the papers get thrown into a bag and the bag gets put in the office. It’s not hard to know why you can’t even walk on the floor in there anymore!
I want to start podcasting and my husband has generously offered to set up a place for me to do it once I get the office cleared out so I have the motivation I need. I have cleaned out the office before and even chronicled my de-cluttering efforts but this time, I am planning to keep the clutter at bay by a few simple tactics:
- finding a proper home for everything so that it doesn’t find its way back into my office
- not allowing anything new in the house without getting rid of something else first
- remembering my motivation: to have a home that feels safe and joyful for myself and for my family
I have already started on this challenge and the kids and I have made two trips to our local donation drop-off with the van trunk full and even the empty seats filled with bags as well. We have all purged our closets and I have started on the most overwhelming project which is the office. My mantra has been “one thing at a time”. If I look at it as a whole, I start to feel discouraged, but I know that I can tackle it one thing at a time and eventually, it will look like I’m making a dent.
7 Steps to getting rid of your clutter for good:
- Decide that clutter is weighing you down.
- Decide that you want to be free of the prison it is creating for you.
- Decide that your life would be better without the clutter.
- Be clear on your motivation and remind yourself often.
- Start with one thing at a time and work at it as aggressively as you are comfortable with.
- Sell, give away and throw away as much as you can.*
- Start today.
*a note about selling, giving and throwing away: Don’t get hung up on this. It’s true that you may be able to make some extra money by selling on kijiji or ebay or having a garage sale, but sometimes the details of that can bog you down and derail you. Unless you are desperate for the money, I would suggest giving your items to a local charity drop-off. There are several in our community. This way, you are not only helping yourself by freeing up space in your life for joy to find its way in, you are also generously helping others who are in need.
If you are looking for a system for getting rid of your clutter, the KonMari method is popular right now.
Join us this month as I share ways to help you move towards the life you want to live. Join me in the challenge. Ready to jump off the cliff?