Friday, February 7, 2014

Living Deliberately ~ Clutter

One of the things that people who Live a Deliberate Life have in common is the lack of clutter. Clutter is a detriment. It prevents the flow of energy - energy will stagnate in a cluttered home and consequently a person's life will then begin to stagnate. Good, positive events will become fewer and farther between. But once a person begins the process of letting go, that person will notice higher energy levels, more clarity in thinking, and even a greater sense of well-being. And it opens the doorway (and space) to positive energy.

All of the 'stuff' we had packed away in boxes, oh so many years ago, soon became a distant memory. Amazing how things that a person thinks they 'can't live without' can disappear and not be missed! But I knew I would have to tackle the mountain of boxes sooner or later. Preferably sooner as the box mountain seemed to be growing (I know, it was only my imagination, but still...)

I wanted a small house to live in, less acreage to clean and maintain, which meant that a HUGE portion of our 'stuff' had to go! I was so tired of all of our 'stuff' dictating where we could live, how we spent our money and taking up so much of our free time! I began to go through the boxes of our stuff and our kids were the lucky recipients of many family heirlooms and the rest of the items went to a booth at a local curio market to sell. Amazing how unburdening ourselves of this 'baggage' gave us a chance to finally breathe! And have fun!

We are still currently decluttering. Progress has been slow because of time constraints but the mountain is now smaller. Because decluttering is a very emotional, yet therapeutic process, I would just as soon go slow. Giving ourselves time to go through 'stuff' means that we are able to really assess what is important to us. And to say goodbye to an old way of living. I won't lie, it hasn't been easy. I have kept many items that will eventually end up in the 'go pile' or in a box for one of the kids. Aren't they so lucky? 

I did learn some helpful tips during this process of decluttering. 

1. Allow yourself plenty of time to purge! Don't set goals which are unachievable, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. In the beginning I set a goal of filling the outside recycle bin once a week with boxes, packing, etc. This was a very attainable goal while I had nothing else going on, but once I became busy with other projects this goal became a source of stress. So now I simply hope to go through a box a week. If I am able to go through more, then Huzzah! and if not, no big deal. The boxes will still be there waiting for me when I get a free moment.

2. Put on some energizing music. I love music. And I work best while listening to music.  The type of music has everything to do with motivation. If the music is mellow and sappy, then you might just find yourself taking more walks down memory lane than you care to make. Music with an upbeat is so much better!

3. Don't be afraid to keep an item or two (or three). Don't feel like you have to get rid of everything all at once! This will be a source of stress. Keep what truly speaks to your heart! You may find as time goes by, that even these items will lose their appeal. If in doubt about something, place it in a closet or storage box and then come back to it in a few months. You may be surprised by how you feel the second time around.

4. Decluttering is hard work! Not only physically but also emotionally. Be sure to eat properly and get lots of rest. And if you find yourself stressing about the whole process, take a step back and work on the project another day. You'll make no progress or feel bad about the progress you have made if the stress level is high.

5. Decide what items will best serve you in the next stage of your life. The multitude of antique books we had collected gave us very little enjoyment. So off they went to be sold. Maybe that old fruit compote dish is a gorgeous antique but does it really serve a useful purpose stashed in the back of the kitchen cupboard?

6. Re-organizing in not the same as decluttering! Decluttering means to physically remove the items from the house. Re-organizing is simply just re-arranging. Decide on a charity or organization to give your unwanted items to. If the charity truly speaks to you, then decluttering will be easier to do.

7. We all like nice things, but is that dollar store statue really that nice? Do not blame yourself for being materialistic. Our society brainwashes people from the time they are old enough to see to think that material objects will bring them happiness. As I stated yesterday, love, laughter and family is what nourishes the soul not that shiny, sparkly, do-dad! Stop buying numerous trinkets and save your pennies for that one item which is truly nice.

I have found that since I have begun the purging process, I want less and less stuff. Oh, I still hear the books calling me, but I am learning to like the Kindle.  And digitizing our music library got rid of BOXES of music and movies. Don't be afraid to explore other avenues for enjoying your vices! (Still not sure what to do about my plant hoarding....)
I wish y'all the best in your decluttering projects! If you have any good hints or tips, please feel free to share!


the dogs' mother said...

I loves to declutter and organize. It soothes my soul.
I like getting caught up on paperwork and putting my shredder into turbo mode.

FreeDragon said...

I love these Living Deliberately posts!

I'm with you on 'plant hoarding' I always have too many. I plan carefully, I harvest, I set out, I repot...and still I have a house full of plants. Giving to friends doesn't work because most of the m garden like I do and they will gift me with just as many or more than I gifted them. I don't want to throw plants away because they are living beings. If you find a solution to this problem, I'd love to know.

Jeanne said...

FreeDragon ~ Plant Hoarding, I think there should be a support group! LOL! We could all exchange plants with each other.
I was born & raised in Colorado which has a very dry, cold climate. All my life I've adored tropical plants. So when I moved to Louisiana I began to acquire plants. And more plants. I was soon over whelmed but I couldn't bear to toss any out. Then one day a friend of mine told me that putting the 'excess plants' in the compost would not equate to murder. The plants that ended up there would nourish their brothers & sisters in the coming months and years. So now I do not have a problem with excess plants. I explain to the (excess) plants what is needed of them - that their energy is needed to help their siblings to grow and flourish - before I ceremonial place them in the compost bin.

Danni said...

I'm an art supply hoarder and that is the stuff that I have the hardest time decluttering and letting go of. I try to stick to the rule of thumb that if I haven't used it in over a year, it goes.

I've been on a serious decluttering spree over the last few months, working slowly through a room or closet at a time. I've been collecting things to donate and things to hold in a garage sale. Just getting the junk out of our main spaces and boxed up in the spare room (future nursery) has been a breath of fresh air.

Jeanne said...

Danni ~ I hear ya! When we moved to our current house, my creative area was minuscule compared to other places we've lived. I had to do some serious de-stashing! And I used that very rule, If I hadn't used it in a year, then out it went! The more clearing I did, the easier it became. Two of my granddaughters go to an art based elementary school, I donated my unwanted items to them. Having a good cause to donate to was good incentive to clear clutter.

Jeanne said...

Dog's Mother ~ Wish I had a turbo paper shredder.......

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Very wise advice. I've got a couple of clutter areas in the house that I really need to address. I have lots of BS rationalizations about why I'm not on top of it right now. I need to just DO IT!

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I do my very best to live minimally and without "stuff". My husband on the other hand is the opposite. He "needs" his "stuff". I told him if we ever have to leave quickly, I could go out the door with one bag. He'd be left behind because of all his "stuff". It drags you down!

Iesadora said...

Deborah I'm right there with you!! My 2 main rationalizations are 'it just needs to be organized' and 'I need more bookcases' lol I just haven't gotten off my butt yet.

Loving the Living Deliberately post so far!!! =)