Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo? If not, then you might be the only one 😉 It has been such a popular book, I see it pop up so much on social media and blogs. It seems that so many people have had a wow moment over it. I can’t say I was super wowed. It may be that we have moved a lot, so we have less stuff in general than the average reader. I read it and Kondo certainly made some great points. I particularly liked thinking of items as serving their purpose, you can let them go, and not downgrading clothes to lounge wear. I recommend it, but with the disclaimer that it is a bit repetitive, the information I found most useful was in the middle and some parts are not my cup of tea. I do think most people can pick up something valuable from it if you give it a chance. Clearing the clutter in life can be most valuable and not just physical but mental too. I wanted to share a little bit about how I approach both physical and mental clutter.
First Consider These Few Scenarios…
Every time you open the hall closet to get your coat or bag or whatever, something falls out. How does this make you feel? What thoughts flit through your brain? What emotions come up? I bet there are not nice thoughts. I bet some of you feel anger or guilt or anxiety. So what steps could you do to avoid these feelings that come from the simple act of opening your closet. You take half a day and pull it all out and I bet you could reduce it by half or at least a fourth. How much better would your life be by just taking this time and fixing this one area of frustration in your life. Sure by the time you get in your car maybe you have forgotten about the closet, but still those feeling are not something you should be feeling every single day.
You know you should make a doctors appointment but you keep putting it off. You know that getting a check up will be good for you and is an important part of your health, but you keep avoiding it. Maybe you are scared, maybe you don’t think you have time, maybe you don’t like your doctor or don’t have one. How many times have you thought about making this appointment in the last month? How many times has it popped into your mind and you think, “oh, I really should do this?” Again, maybe you feel guilty, sad, scared, anxiety every time this thought pops up. How long have you been pushing this thought to the back of the “closet”? So clear it out.
Do you have something in your house that you look at and you know you don’t use, or is broken, or brings up some kind of guilt? Every time you see it, do you feel a little tightening in your chest or a little bit of darkness in your mind? Maybe it is that sweater you bought for so much money but hate wearing. That end table that has a broken leg, you thought, “oh I’ll fix it but it’s been ages”; it’s not serving it’s purpose because it can’t. That hobby you tried and decided it wasn’t for you, but you are holding onto the supplies because you bought them. How are these things serving you? They aren’t they are there taking up space and feelings that you could wipe away. Stop thinking about it and get rid of it.
How many of you were reading the above saying, “yes” or nodding in agreement? If you were, then I have some homework for you.
Homework To Do Something About It
Sit down and think about how many times in a day you have these feelings of guilt, anger, anxiety about things that you just keep pushing to the side. Things that keep coming back up and cycling through your day. How many of these things could you “easily” fix, by making a phone call, by scheduling an appointment, by cleaning out a draw, getting rid of an item?
Since you are sitting down thinking about it, start a list. I call mine the shit list, it’s things that I know I need to take care of but I really don’t want to. Things like finding a new dentist and making an appointment, returning something I ordered and didn’t like, consolidating banking information, cleaning out the filing cabinet. Not only does writing it down help to get it out of a constant loop in your mind and makes it less of a guilt and more a action item. Think of it as a place to make improvements.
Now that you have the list, you have to work on it. Most people are not going to have the motivation to tackle the whole thing at once, and frankly it may not be possible. What you can do is set a schedule for yourself to work on it. This is going to depend on you, but at a minimum you should be assigning yourself one of these items a week.
I personally like to set myself a reward for getting through all the items in a month. You could do a week, or when you mark off five, or whatever you think will make you stick to your schedule. The reward can be anything, something that brings you joy or builds on the life you want. If you have a particularly hard (high avoidance) item, write the reward you can have if you take care of that one.
Ask yourself why are you constantly cycling through these feelings of guilt and anxiety when you can do something about it. Why are you not taking steps to reduce frustration in your life? Don’t hold onto things that are not serving you, clear the clutter both physical and mental. Get it done and get it out of your mind or out of your face 🙂 Trust me, you are going to feel so much better when you don’t have these things weighing on your mind or hitting you in the head. Take action!
How do you handle the clutter in your life?