Personally I think decluttering is the first step to leading a more simple life. Why ? Because it is the easiest way we can feel that we have accomplished a step forward. Clutter, whether it be physical or emotional can cause such tension and stress in our life. It clogs our mind, body and our home and only when we are free of excess clutter, do we actually feel lighter and stress free. In this post I will talk about physical clutter and how it affects us.
I am, at present going through this process of decluttering and yes, it takes time. After 54 years on this planet, two marriages, three children and various house moves in my life I have acquired more clutter than I care to admit. So I understand how overwhelming it can be. But, I am now at the stage in my life where I want to feel free of this clutter so I can live a simpler life.
I really do believe that the more ‘stuff ‘ we have, then the more stressed we are. Think about sitting in a room full of papers, boxes, used cups on a coffee table, photo frames clustered together on a tiny window sill and piles of laundry in the corner waiting to be ironed. The very thought makes me feel claustrophobic and hemmed in. Now think about a lovely hotel room when you have just checked in. Imagine the space of the room, the uncluttered bathroom, the top of the dressing table free from lots of useless objects. I always find hotel rooms so calming when I first arrive don’t you ? Of course hotel rooms are not real life and no one could live like that on a daily basis as we all have personal possessions that we need.
So what is clutter ? According to the Oxford Dictionary clutter is ‘ a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’. I believe that this clutter has a detrimental effect on our life, both physically and mentally. I am a great enthusiast of Feng Shui which basically is the art of balancing the flow of energy in our lives to create positive benefits to our life. Clearing clutter is an essential aspect of Feng Shui as it is believed that too much clutter can affect your energy field. This is known as ‘stuck energy’ and can be draining. From my research into this ‘stuck energy’ issue I believe that clutter affects us in the following ways.
- Clutter can make you feel drained and tired. This is due to the stagnant energy that surrounds excess clutter. For me, looking at a pile of clutter can make my mood drop and I can become lethargic. So it naturally follows that I will feel drained and fatigued.
- Clutter can keep you stuck in the past as you may be hanging onto things that are no longer relevant. I have definitely done this on many occasions. Do we all have old utility bills from years ago ? Do we hang onto old Christmas cards that really serve no purpose ? Do we keep things that only bring back bad memories ?
- Clutter can actually stop us from moving forward with our life. Do you ever say ” No I can’t go out for a meal tonight as I have to clean the spare room” knowing that the spare room is so full of clutter that it will take you hours to clean it. Thereby missing out on a chance to go out and have a good time.
- Clutter can actually make us feel depressed. Just looking at that huge pile of laundry can send us into the deepest of moods as the sense of been overwhelmed can make you feel weighed down.
- Clutter causes extra cleaning. This was the biggest revelation for me and yet it’s such a simple one. I remember cleaning my bathroom wondering why it was taking me so long every time. Then I realised ! It was the amount of toiletries, bath lotions and potions that were clogging up the surfaces in the bathroom. I have since decluttered the bathroom by throwing away excess toiletries and keeping the ones we need in a storage basket in the bathroom. And now cleaning is SO much easier.
- Clutter can make you more disorganised. If your kitchen table is full of incoming post, newspapers, this morning’s coffee cups and other bits and bobs, how can you find your car keys easily when you know you threw them on the table yesterday ! There is a place for everything and think of how much time we save if we can retrieve what we need in a matter of minutes.
Please don’t feel overwhelmed by what I have written. Decluttering doesn’t mean getting rid of EVERYTHING ! If you treasure something then you should keep it, but make sure you REALLY treasure it. Decluttering is about letting go of things that you no longer need, that no longer serve a purpose in your life and that you don’t treasure anymore.
Decluttering is a slow process and should be tackled in a calm, thoughtful manner so that you are serious in your wish to get rid of the clutter in your life. To clear clutter means letting go and many people are scared of this ‘letting go’. Our ‘stuff’ can make us feel safer in some way and so it is understandable that some people are reluctant to let go of their clutter. I guess in a way I felt this at some point. I kept old documents and papers from years ago ‘just in case’ I needed them. Of course, having looked at them objectively I would never have needed them. And so, I discarded them and instantly felt lighter and free from the constraints of keeping them in a filing cabinet I never actually opened. Of course there are some important documents you should keep such as birth certificates etc but if you approach the task objectively then you will know the documents that should be discarded.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought about your own situation. I do truly believe that getting rid of clutter really is the first step into living a more simpler and fulfilling life. I think more people now are shunning the ‘have it all’ attitude in return for a life that is full of experiences rather than ‘stuff’. And only by simplifying our life can we find the time to enjoy these experiences that we yearn for.
Next time on my blog I will discuss my thoughts on how to go about the decluttering process. Don’t worry it will be an easy and gentle way that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. It isn’t for everyone but if you feel like trying to make your life simpler then why not give it a go ?
Until next time dear friends