Everyone does it. I am certain you have, many times actually. Just last week I did it.
Why do we do it? Maybe it starts out as a creeping sensation. It’s all around you but not really bothering you, not yet. Until one day in the corner of your eye, it’s become bigger than you. You feel crowded, and there’s this heaviness that you can’t explain. You may feel unfocused and distracted just being in your own space.
Guilty as charged
This familiar sensation happened to me last week. As someone who works from home, the bevy of mail, notes, folders, and Amazon ordered books (they make it so easy) with the every day busyness between my husband and me are pretty much the norm in the home office. But there are those times we experience that monumental creep. Sometimes it happens over the week or it may happen over several weeks where the mini piles manifest into what is now the CLUTTER. Hello, it’s you again. This mess triggered something in my brain that jolted me into a sort of robotic wonder woman mode after dread, frustration, and annoyance. Not always in that order. That’s my cue to start shredding, stacking, clearing and letting things go. Rinse and repeat. Electric bill, file. That 9.5% APR credit card transfer offer, junk. Publisher’s Clearing House mailings, hey you never know.
It wasn’t always this way. Years ago, I was content in leaving my piles the way they were for months, like an old friend greeting me every day who overstayed his welcome. There was always something else I can do. The thought of clearing out my mess zapped the energy out of my brain and body. But now, I do this with much enthusiasm because after all, as the saying goes, “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind.” Something has definitely changed.
As human beings, our natural inclination is to create order out of chaos. Some of us have a higher degree of tolerance for chaos than others but we all have a threshold that eventually nudges us into some kind of action for relief. Our environment affects our mood, our quality of life, our thoughts…basically how we see our current circumstances. Our home, work space, the man cave, the upstairs craft room or that corner table of neatly manicured photo frames when organized according to our own direction provides us with a clarity of purpose. These are movable, tangible, external things that our minds can process with certainty of outcome.
Decluttering brings about an organized calmness that helps with our mental focus and productivity where our minds become less crowded and we become more energized. Even though we know a clear space means a clear mind, and understand the benefits that come with it…there they are – piles and heaps of your life around your home built up like mini Mt. Everests across the carpeted continents. This is something I was faced with years ago before realizing what a beautiful mess I was creating.
You and the pile against the world
Piles are piles because incrementally and over time, you chose to avoid the task. And the reason you are avoiding could be the many excuses we give ourselves, “I’ll do it later, it’s not that urgent, I have more important things to do.” Curiously, now ask yourself, ‘how am I approaching my time, responsibilities, relationships, health and other areas of my life?’ Are they in flux or in peace, is there chaos and stress?
You see, clutter starts with you. This could be a temporary state in your life where you feel overwhelmed or perhaps it’s an unpleasant ritual you find great comfort in its consistent familiarity.
So, how do you slay this cluttering beast that seems to have risen from some shadowy corner of your bedroom?
Change your mindset
Ask yourself, ‘what am I really ignoring or avoiding?” There is a reason for the lengthy procrastination. Go into a quiet place and get in touch and acknowledge your personal challenges, and your fears because we are not alone in that regard. Give yourself that trusted space without judgment and with an open mind. For example, the pile of bills speaks loud whispers when it is reminding you of the state of your finances. Change starts when you pay attention to that fear and find ways to create opportunities to resolve and work through the fear. Start letting go and focus on what you really want. Once you do, you will notice that fear isn’t as scary when it first arrived.
Chunk it up
Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was any great modern city so why should chipping away your Mt. Everest be as such? Start with the least scary room, a pesky pile, an overstuffed closet, or that section of flowery dresses. You don’t have to do it all at once. Not only is this manageable but it’s also motivating to build up the momentum and confidence to tackle your next decluttering session.
When you are chunking up your clutter, it will take time to get to ground zero. Ensure you are taking consistent, small actions to take care of your space. Use a calendar, have a friend, a family member or a coach to help hold you accountable for that time you are doing this project. Your piles will get smaller and these consistent actions will give you a sense of affirmation. You will get there but you don’t have to do it alone!
Celebrate … and repeat above (when necessary)
As you build up confidence in decluttering, the method that journeys along with it will create some shifts in the way you do other things. Take note in every session. Really absorb the cleared space. How does it feel? Celebrate that you did that today and the next no matter how small or huge the clearing. You are not only getting to the bottom of the pile, you are getting to the bottom of how you operate in life by slaying your fears. Celebrate that you’ve done it and be grateful that the original mess you created is a beautiful one that can inspire change.