Decluttering is not about perfection or keeping a set of rules but rather a *doable system to manage what we have accumulated. Decluttering what we have is an ongoing process. Decluttering is a decision to release the things which have no value in living our best.
I’ve had times when decluttering was one more thing to do in my jammed-packed life so I gave less time and energy to it. The thing is . . . as clutter piled up . . . it took more time to declutter. No win in this brilliant move.
Avoiding clutter doesn’t work. Clutter finds its way to where we are at. I’m not kidding. I’ve watched a room morph from being clutter-free to filled with clutter between dinner and dessert. This happened with adults, there were no children present. It’s yours to translate.
Clutter is a fact of life because we have the ability to possess and attain things. Along the way, things often lose their value, taking unnecessary space and time. Decluttering is essential in managing life. Listen. I have thought about how it would be to live without being responsible for these kind of chores. The thing is . . . there are some of us who see it as our responsibility and others who also see it as our responsibility. In other words, they aren’t going to spend their time decluttering. I could list some names but I won’t.
Big revelation. You and I may think we can make people do want we want them to do. We can’t. Ever. People do what we want them to do because they choose to do it not because we want them to do it. Think on that and get back to me. The fact of the matter is that I don’t always do what I want me to do. So, there’s that.
Anyway. How we manage life is a choice. So, it’s a choice to manage clutter by decluttering or letting it pile up and disrupt our best. The key to begin the decluttering process is to take the leap and begin doing the work. The process is not near as enjoyable as the outcome of decluttering.
Begin with a vision for the space without clutter. Study what you have in the space with an analytical eye, determining what needs to be kept, given, and discarded.
The overall process of decluttering is emptying out. Whether it’s a drawer, room, home or office the process can become overwhelming if, it’s not done in incremental doable steps. Take time to look at the following basic steps. Pay attention to what resonates with you and use those specifics to *build a system which works for you. Clutter in any area of life is not failure but a revelation of what has been disregarded and mismanaged. Decluttering is the the required solution to manage the clutter. Remember it’s not about perfection but rather a workable system:
- Strip the space down to the bare essentials. Place the residual items in a different space. Organize the bare essentials.
- Make three piles of the residual items: 1. Keep. 2. Give. 3. Discard.
- Shift mental and emotional attention from the item to the value of living free from clutter.
- Take time to enjoy the space left with the bare essentials. At first it might seem empty, but extra space lightens the mental and emotional load, providing room to breathe. This step usually provides the motivation and energy to move forward with the task of decluttering.
- Evaluate the remaining keep pile, repeating the process by making three new piles.
- Schedule a day to take the give and discard piles to the appropriate places. Be decisive. Each time you release an item, you’re giving yourself more room and energy to manage the crucial matters of living.
I have watched my family’s response when they walked into a decluttered space. They often take a deep breath and smile as if the clutter had smelled. I seriously don’t keep anything that smells. Seriously. I don’t. Well, one time my refrigerator smelled horrible. I cleaned and washed it repeatedly. Of course, we had overnight company who were traveling through during my battle with it. The smell started extending its reach in the house. All of us, including our guests, tried to figure it out. Thankfully they were good friends and made it more like a game–Find The Smell. After they left, I found a baggie of food stuck to the underside of the refrigerator. My son had hid part of his dinner so he could be excused. Lovely.
One of the best outcomes of decluttering is experiencing the calm in a space, which has previously been chaotic with clutter. The atmosphere impacts us. Calm comes from peace, which is the ultimate healing. Whether I am at home or work, I want to make sure I offer a space of calm, peace, and healing.
In the end, there’s a bigger picture to keep in mind when we invest our time and energy into decluttering.
Choose to be diligent and declutter what does not belong in your story.
*Look for our upcoming courses, Rise and Systematic Organization. Also take a look at similar articles under TableThink’s Organization section.
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