Three Ways to Find Freedom from Your Stuff
REPRINT from Susquehanna Style Magazine
July 3, 2019 8:00 AM
Three Ways to Claim Freedom from Your Stuff
As we celebrate Independence Day, I’m all about claiming freedom from not just our physical stuff, but our mental and emotional clutter as well. Tall order for a blog post, I know, so I’ll just touch briefly on each of these clutter hubs. I want to dig deeper in my coming articles because it’s more authentic to who I am and what I’m learning myself. Plus, I know it will have a more permanent effect on our clutter roadblocks if we can address the root cause(s) of why we hold onto things that no longer serve us.
I like to start with the physical stuff because those are the things that we can’t escape from very easily. Physical clutter can literally (and figuratively) crowd our vision and cause us to feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed. The way a room feel plays a large role in what we do in that room. It’s hard to enjoy cooking a good meal for the family when there are piles of paper crowding your kitchen counters. It’s easier to relax with a good book on the sofa when the kids’ toys are neatly put away in their respective cubbies.
Claim freedom from your physical stuff by addressing the closet, cabinet, or drawer that is overflowing and keeping the space from functioning to its full potential.Toss or donate gifts you’ve received that are not useful to you and do not bring you joy. If the item given to you was truly a gift, then it is yours to do with as you please.Protect your space by guarding what comes into your home. Decide what criteria has to be met for an item to take up space there.
Mental clutter is often behind our physical clutter. Jam-packed schedules, overflowing to-do lists, and perceived expectations can all crowd out the self-awareness and peace our minds are craving. This is where I struggle the most because I have so many passions and interests that I can end up exhausted pursuing those things before I’ve had time to invest in my family that day. Simplifying our responsibilities and information intake can bring clarity, creativity, and inspiration back into our lives. And saying no to more can open you up to a bigger yes in the future.
We can claim freedom from our mental clutter by saying no to the things that don’t bring us to life or serve us in the long run. If you’re only singing in the choir because you feel an obligation, you are free to step down and volunteer somewhere else or just take a break altogether.Share a calendar (physical or digital) with the whole family and schedule a day of rest. Google Calendar makes this very easy, or find a big wipe-off board at TJ Max and put it in a place where everyone has easy access to it.Focus on one task at a time, and preferably one that will take care of a few others on your list. Reward yourself when you’ve completed three tasks.
If you’re ready to start claiming freedom from your emotional clutter, there’s so much to learn. Emotions run deeper than the mind and clearing our physical and mental space can truly aid the process. It isn’t sexy, but the fewer distractions we have, the easier it is to notice how we’re feeling. Our bodies give us red flags all the time: cold sweats, upset stomach, shaky hands, but it’s often more convenient to suppress the feelings instead of sitting with them and exploring why they come up. Once we notice our emotions, we may be tempted to control them too and that’s just not possible. What is possible though, is controlling how we respond to them.
Practice stillness and quiet, even if it’s just for 5 minutes each morning.Start a yoga practice. Listen to your intuition and your body.See a therapist or join a 12 Step program.
Wherever you are on the decluttering journey, remember that you are okay, enough, just as you are. Let that truth be the motivator for change, nothing else. Guilt, stress, and fear can only motivate for so long before we burnout or become resentful. Freedom from ALL our stuff starts with giving ourselves grace and then taking the next right step and that could be different for each of us.
I’d love to hear where you are on your journey! Follow me on Instagram @morespace_organizing and make more SPACE in your life!