By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
When you look around at your cluttered home or specific areas of your home that always seem to be cluttered… Have you ever wondered what the clutter is trying to tell you?
- What messages are those “never-worn” clothes saying to you?
- What message are those never-ending stacks of unread books and magazines telling you?
- What messages are the unopened boxes in the basement and attic saying to you?
If you can gain a deeper insight as to why you clutter, it will make it easier to let go of things you’ve been holding onto—having a clearer understanding of what and why you clutter is a powerful motivator to make some lasting changes in your life when it comes to both physical and mental clutter. It will help you understand your old behaviors and habits so you can address what’s been stopping you.
Bottom line: There’s more to clutter than meets the eye!
Clutter on the outside (the physical clutter) in many ways tells us more about what’s going on the inside.
Subtle or not so subtle, clutter sends messages.
Who doesn’t have something in their closet that reminds them of a younger, thinner, happy you? I.e., the wedding dress, those skinny jeans, that little black dress.
Looking at them in your closet reminds you of how you felt when you were wearing them, who you were with what you were doing. They bring back good memories.
Even though you might not have worn those skinny jeans or that little black cocktail dress in the last 5 or 10 years, when you understand that you kept them because…
· They remind you of when you were 10 pounds lighter.
· They remind you of a special celebration in your life.
· They are a reminder of those things that trigger a feeling you want to recapture.
How can you let go?
· Start with 5 items in your closet you haven’t worn in at least a year.
· Ask yourself why you keep them.
· Understand that those items are reminding you of something in your past and that they triggered a nostalgic feeling that you don’t want to lose.
· Then, let them go.
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Is your attic or basement filled with boxes of family memories?
- Boxes of photos bring back both good and bad memories and they might also trigger feelings of guilt, regret, sadness, or loss.
- Greeting cards from your loved ones often trigger a feeling of sadness and loss.
- Furniture inherited from parents or loved ones often trigger guilt for not using something they loved and wanted you to have.
If you are struggling with letting go of these items, box by box, item by item, ask yourself why you’ve been holding onto them. I.e., your grandmother’s hope chest.
· Recall the memory of the hope chest and your grandmother giving it to you.
· Take a picture of it.
· Write a story about it and why it meant so much to her.
· If you don’t like it or can’t use it, let it go. Give it to someone who might.
Understanding the emotion and the feelings that you are having about these items will help you let go of them.
Is your garage or storage unit cluttered with the boxes and items you don’t even remember what’s inside of them?
And then, when you continue to add to those piles, letting them stack up for months or even years, they come to represent things in your life that remain unfinished. The task you are facing is so monumental that you might have very little mental energy to deal with it, so instead of facing it, you avoid it completely.
Once you understand that you are simply avoiding those areas because they are overwhelming…
· Create a plan for decluttering and disposing of items in that area.
· Block out time weekly, or monthly to accomplish this big project so you can take one step at a time to declutter.
There are many areas of our lives where clutter gets in the way of us living our best life.
Take the time to discern why and how clutter is impacting your life.
· Email clutter
· Desk clutter
· Calendar clutter
· Social media clutter
· Car clutter
You will begin to understand why you clutter in the first place. Then you can begin to experience what it feels like to live a clutter-free life.
I’ve just touched the surface on this subject, but will be sharing more with you in future blogs and will be offering a new tool to help you challenge yourself to live a clutter-free life.
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