The Energy of Clutter: Come into AlignmentOct 13, 2021
Open your imagination and create ways to align your space to your vision.
What can I change in my space to change my life?
If you haven't already, check out the first two posts in this blog series here.
Cleaning out clutter is like getting a haircut or a manicure – it’s a refreshing change that can be real treat! It's akin to how we always seem to think our cars run better after they are washed and vacuumed out.
And although it’s energizing to get rid of the old and bring on the new, it can be a heavy and draining activity. To counter this energy, take time and go gently as you move through this process. Drink plenty of water, play music, take breaks and do it little by little. It's a life-long process, not a sprint. There is no static finish line!
Remember that by paying close attention and realigning your true wants and needs, you can prevent the clutter from building up beyond reason in the future. We live in a consumer-oriented, materialistic society, and we are constantly driven to acquire more stuff. Don’t forget that the more you have, the more effort it will take to manage it!
And, because we have so many things, we can constantly clutter clear. This is a process that you can adopt and look forward to. Even I find it necessary to do a clutter clearing every three months or so. I sort through catalogs and books, purging and cleaning as I go.
I make sure that my space holds only what I intentionally desire to have—and when it does, it gives me the energy in my life to play, laugh, entertain and enjoy my freedom.
You may also opt to go through a quarterly 'spring cleaning' in order to keep the clutter at bay.
Begin planning a strategy by being realistic about your needs. Holding the vision you have of a liberated room, start by creating a strategy for de-cluttering. If this is too overwhelming to start by yourself, ask a friend to help you establish your plan.
When working on your plan, consider what kind of storage or containers you want in your space to support your lifestyle. You can use baskets for magazines, bins for recreational items and toys, etc.
If you investigate your home, you will find secret extra spaces in drawers or shelves that may be currently under-utilized. For example, you can store a spare folding chair behind the couch or even keep that extra blanket in your car!
Next, let's talk about dealing with everyone in the household.
The larger your household, the more clutter you may need to deal with. In order to successfully resolve the problem together, have a meeting with your partner, roommates, and/or children and set up systems everyone agrees to adhere to.
Ask each member of your household the same questions you’ve been pondering above, such as: “What do you want and need in the living room?” and “How can we prevent/manage clutter?”
We all have our own patterns. Some of us are organized and some are chaotic, but either way it’s important to identify these patterns and the 'hot spot' points of clutter.
Clutter is not wrong, nor should it be guilt-inducing.
Ask those in your household, what do each of you need to create more order and take care of your things?
If one person clutters and another doesn’t, then disciplined systems should be established for each person. Work with your family and set up baskets, bowls or hooks to help avoid some clutter issues. You have to be willing to break a pattern in order to live together in the same space.
Everyone needs to give a little. If there is resistance, it may be there for a deeper reason and you should open up a dialogue in order to explore that.
- What matters to you most in your space?
- What do you need to support that?
- What could you do differently in the shared space that would support your relationship(s)?
Sometimes, we’re actually afraid of living in our interiors! We believe that everything should be in order, or we are perfectionists. Perfectionism that makes someone feel uncomfortable goes beyond being streamlined and orderly. When we have to live by a dominant person’s strict rules, that enforced order can actually break down due to rebellion.
What does it look like when we can’t live our way in our own home?
This is where resistance can take hold, such as when a teenager may keep a very messy room within a sterile environment.
The solution is to work together and agree on common ground, and also to let everyone have their own place to do their own thing—whether that’s a bedroom, office, den or hobby room.
Set up a 'staging area' works well. This is simply an organized spot for the transitional items (purses, schoolwork, briefcases, dry cleaning, etc.) in your living room and for things that should go out the door. Systems and schedules can help, too.
It's time to use your space to unleash your inner designer and create change in your life.
How to Do It:
On your own, start very small and go slow. To get into motion, take tiny steps. You don’t have to clean your entire living room today or even this week in order to clear your clutter. In some cases you can, but it’s not always entirely necessary to go quickly. It’s like improving your eating habits—incremental, slow, small changes build momentum, confidence and lasting results. Baby steps lead to big changes over time!
Clutter is one of the main areas where you may need to ask for help. If you’re not motivated to do it on your own, then definitely get a Clutter Buddy. Have a trusted friend who can be objective (a key requirement) come over and sit with you.
So where do you start?
Begin by setting up containers labeled Toss, Recycle, Give Away, Sell, Fix/
Repair, and Keep. If needed, have your Clutter Buddy put things in front of you and very gently ask, “What do you want to do with this?”
Then, step by step, item by item, put things where they belong, asking yourself along the way:
- Do I love this item?
- Does it serve a purpose?
- Does this belong in the living room?
- Does it represent me truthfully?
- Can I get a better, newer, more useful version?
- Can it be repaired, fixed and/or cleaned?
- Can someone else use it or can I sell it?
Watch for mood swings! Take a break, or take a walk. This can be a challenging process, and once it’s done it will give you a ton of positive, vibrant energy.
Once you start stirring up the clutter in order to sort through it, you’ll draw out items that possess a cacophony of energies that may overwhelm you, such as bills to pay, projects to complete, clothes to take to the dry cleaners, etc.
Even good memories can be stressful, such as unearthing a greeting card from a friend you haven’t found the time to call and thank.
This is your opportunity to practice thinking non-harming thoughts. Congratulate yourself on taking the steps to deal with your clutter. This is a big step—an important step and a step worth dancing about!
As you begin to 'unjam' the clutter piles, you may find that you begin to feel dusty, dirty and a bit grimy. This energy is not only the natural dust particles that seem to gather everywhere, but the emotional dust bunnies that scurry around inside all those newspaper clippings, correspondence and old items. It’s natural to feel this energy and it helps to drink a lot of water, as this is a very dehydrating activity. You should also take a head-to-toe shower afterwards to wash away the energy of the past.
More Ideas for How to Do It:
- Start with your vision. What is your deepest desire for your life? What would you be doing if you had no fear and no obstacles?
- Make an honest assessment of how challenging this venture will be for you. Don’t be afraid to enlist the aid of a clutter coach to assist you along this journey.
- Take a look around for where and what type of clutter you have. Is the clutter everywhere (house and garage) or hidden in pockets and secret places?
- If the task feels overwhelming, start small. Choose one drawer (like your junk drawer or telephone table) and begin there. You can save any area you know will affect you emotionally for later, while you strengthen your clutter-clearing muscles. Or, dive right into the center of the challenge and see what happens...
- If you feel that a lot of your purged stuff still has value, decide whether to sell or donate individual items. Pay attention to and acknowledge how hard this is and try not to get stuck here. Once the decision is made to release something, attempt to release it quickly. Otherwise, you may just move these things from one location to another. Make a point of getting items out of the house as you go. Clearing clutter is easier if you have designated areas to sort stuff, such as labeled boxes or plastic or paper bags. Make piles: Donate, Sell, Toss, Repair, Relocate, etc.
- Decide to bring new things into your space only when you know you love them or really need them. You can even adhere to a trade-off policy: Whatever you bring in means something has to go!
- When feelings come up, deal with them directly and with support. Recognize that it’s not just stuff, but intense energy patterns that you are acknowledging and releasing. If you need professional support, by all means get it.
- Pay attention to any corresponding shifts in your habits of thought and behavior.
- Honor and celebrate yourself for your courage and willingness to create change in your life. Give yourself some credit and have some fun!
Evidence: After you’ve made changes to your space, notice what changes in your life.
When I made these changes in my space, what impact did it have on my life?
It's important to acknowledge what you've done! Write it down, and revisit your notes when you need a reminder of just how amazing you and your progress are!
House as a Mirror of Self, Clare Cooper Marcus
Let Go of Clutter, Harriet Schechter
Making Peace With the Things in Your Life: Why Your Papers, Books, Clothes, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You and What to Do About It, Cindy Glovinsky
Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui, Karen Kingston
One Thing at a Time: 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day, Cindy Glovinsky
Outwitting Clutter: 101 Ingenious Space-Saving Tips and Ideas to Make Any House or Apartment More Livable, Bill Adler Jr.
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