Clutter — yep, we all have it!

I’m committed to getting rid of my clutter. My goal (long-term) is to down-size my living space, and in order to do that, I need a whole lot less stuff. I know this will be emotionally freeing and physically beneficial for me, but I procrastinate repeatedly when it comes to setting time aside to even start this chore.

I heard a TikTok influencer on television talk about cleaning and the contrast between Keeping up vs. Catching up. And when it comes to my debris, catching up (on things like the mail, my receipts for taxes, even my intended reading schedule) is more my modus operandi. I’d love to learn to simply KEEP UP with my plans for all these parts of my life, but I’m endlessly catching up!

I do get rid of stuff from time to time. I throw out junk mail, recycle old newspapers, sort through my magazines and discard the oldest issues. I happily throw away things that are broken, frequently notice duplicates and discard the “extra” object, and I’m always throwing away old pens (yet they repeatedly reappear! It’s magic!).

Certainly, I’ll need help with the “big stuff” you know, furniture, large decorative objects (where did that chain-saw-carved bear come from?) or heavy boxes of debris, but a lot of it is stuff I can manage, if only I would allocate the effort.

Why does clutter hold us back, weigh us down and act like an anchor dragging us away from our intended path forward? Well, in part because our brains simply prefer order. We like to be able to see the path ahead. We like to know with confidence where our keys, our glasses or our work-file for the day might be. Order keeps life dependable; disorder and cutter make it confusing.

Here’s a sample (below, before & after) from my own office…

Not perfect but definitely worth the effort!

organized desk area with light on

Also, our stuff makes cleaning harder (that’s why we call our collected objects “dust catchers”!) and may discourage us from even starting to clean. And, if our space is so cluttered that it borders on hoarding, we may feel shame and that may be reason enough to self-isolate, keeping others out or ourselves in.

Clutter can have other dangers – we’ve all seen a commercial with the woman (it’s always a woman) headed down the stairs cluttered with children’s toys or pet toys, she’s carrying laundry and can’t see what’s in her path. We don’t see her fall, but we can anticipate what’s likely to happen.

Clutter is even linked to eating disorders – obesity and the tendency to eat emotionally. One more reason to manage our debris while we also manage our nutrition choices.

Clutter can feel comforting (I like my stuff!) but it can easily get out of hand and begin to either cause problems in life or reflect problems in life. Either way, it’s definitely an arena of concern and affords us an opportunity to “clean up our act!” as I hope to do.

How do you begin? The experts (yes, I read the expert writers on these matters!) tell us that we can use the rules we’d apply toward any other change we hope to achieve:

  • Start where you are. Start small, with the familiar, empty that junk drawer, but take a first step toward the change you desire.
  • Use what you have. No need to buy organizing tools, bins and boxes, new furniture or a labeling gun – organizing isn’t decluttering, it’s rearranging the debris piles or disguising them as worthy assets to keep.
  • Do what you can. Which means maybe allocating 10-minutes a day to this effort. On days when you can be more generous, do so. But the accumulation didn’t occur overnight so there’s no reason to think we’ll banish our debris quickly. It will take some time.

For me it’s about real estate. Does this object (this book, this kitchen tool, this tee-shirt) deserve the expensive real estate I’ve given it, on my shelf, in my drawer or closet? Is it worthy of my effort to move it when its in my way, store it until perhaps I’ll need it or archive it for some future generation? Unlikely!

Wishing you stamina for whatever clutter you need to clear and the clear focus for whatever path to order its redistribution may afford you (to trash, to charity or to others who might genuinely use it!). We all have debris in our lives, clearing it out will allow us fresh focus and open new possibilities! I’m eager for that!

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.