There is something magical about getting an area thinned out, dusted, vacuumed, rearranged and stepping back to see the fruits of your labor. A successful decluttered zone. The air feels cleaner. Your soul feels lighter. There seems a clearer space in your mind that is wallowing in relief.
So why is it so hard to do?
There are a lot of reasons we hoard things. Mental health issues, depression, fear. We hold onto things when we can’t hold onto people. We are frugal. We might need this or what if we suddenly get in the mood for it and it is not here? What if we need it and we don’t have the money to go and get what we need? We like the things. They are things we enjoy. We have plans for the things.
On an individual basis, these things may truly make us happy. We pick up that book we have been meaning to read and the possibility of the joy of that great read is right there. Within our power. Waiting for us for whenever we need it.
But collectively? These things require care. Storage space. Dusting. Moving and hauling from one place we live to another. Collectively they are a beast that grows larger than the energy we have to maintain. Our things outgrow our spaces and instead of bringing us pleasure — they fill the spaces where pleasure would fit if we had the room.
Collectively, our things deplete us. They hold us back.
Purging is difficult. (But not impossible.)
You have to pick up each item and make a decision. The item presents us once again with its possibilities/promises of pleasure or reminds us of that future need we may have of it. This is where dogged determination, a true plan, a desire for clearer spaces and minds all have to come together. A perfect storm of decluttering.
Re-read that first paragraph:
There is something magical about getting an area thinned out, dusted, vacuumed, rearranged and stepping back to see the fruits of your labor. A successful de-cluttered zone. The air feels cleaner. Your soul feels lighter. There seems a clearer space in your mind that is wallowing in relief.
This is the magic you must cling to if you want to get through a successful purging and free up the space within yourself that all of this collecting-of-things has been trying to fill. The only way to fill that space, calm that fear of loss— is to take control of your living spaces in a way that opens you up.
Getting started — make a plan!
Have a plan. Take a quick tour of your living spaces and see what areas make you feel overwhelmed or look junky and out of control. Jot down a list of the worst things on which you must focus and divide the tasks into time frames. Then tackle each. You are much less likely to feel overwhelmed if you break down the work into manageable portions.
Today I began a purging. Here is my order of operations if you’d like to use it for inspiration. (Week one is currently posted in huge letters on the front door — no family member is escaping this!)
- Week One — Media. This includes all books, DVDs, CDs, games, electronics and all those drawers of extra wiring and electronic spare parts.
- Week Two — Clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry, bags.
- Week Three — Kitchen items and household items. De-junk the areas under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. De-clutter the laundry space.
- Week Four — personal items, crafts, entertainment activity items such as workout equipment, home decor items.
- Week Five — Paperwork and drawers. (This one might take me forever.)
- Week Six — outdoor spaces and tools.
A few decision-making helpers:
- Is this (are these) item making my life easier or better in some way?
- If this were gone would it really make that much of a difference?
- Which of this area’s items are the most important and would it be easier to maintain it if this, this, and this were gone?
- Can this space better serve the family’s needs if this stuff were gone and we had more space here?
- How can I simplify this area?
Simplify. Declutter. Open up your living space for more comfortable, emotionally spacious living.