Clutter stops the flow of positive energy ~ Jayme Barrett
What is clutter? If you ask me I’d say – Anything that drains you or takes up space in your environment that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life. Clutter can be classified into physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter. Everything that looms in your closet, home, car, and office space that you no longer have the use for or have not touched in more than a year constitutes physical clutter. We often collect items: an impromptu purchase, or something that could come in handy at a later date. Mentally, the physical clutter in our lives mirrors a negative and racing mind. Emotional clutter is when we get caught up in cycles of anger, resentment, guilt, fear, and anxiety. When any or all of these clutters prevent us from living in a sense of oneness and deep alignment, it results in spiritual clutter.
The idea of decluttering often is associated with clearing out ‘stuff’ that is taking up some prime real estate in your life. Be it in your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual space. If something takes up your space and energy in an unproductive way that keeps you stressed and stuck in life, you got to let it go. Sounds simple enough, right?
So What’s The Problem?
Humans are, by our nature, creatures of habit. Research has shown that 45% of what we do on a daily basis is habitual. This means close to half of our actions occur outside the spectrum of our conscious thoughts. In his book, Clutter Busting Your Life, Brooks Palmer points out that clutter represents the fear of change. According to him, if you hang onto things, you will feel as though your life is staying the same. It gives you an illusion of stability. How often do you put your needs aside in order to please others? Or, continue to hold on to something, be it a belief, story, or a physical object that has long past its expiry date. Be honest with yourself.
When your external environment ends up calling the shots in your life, it is your call to action to stop, observe and reconnect with yourself. Yet, a lot of times, we choose to power through. We create excuses and convince ourselves otherwise that this is temporary. This too shall pass. Or, as James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits rightly puts it, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems, habits, and excuses.” Because when we don’t do this, our lives become cluttered with things, thoughts, emotions, activities, and people that drain us.
Every change begins at an identity level. And decluttering is no different. So, instead of having a narrative of “I am trying to declutter and clean up,” switch your words to using something like, “I am a person who prefers a clean and decluttered environment.” The trick is to make it a part of who you are rather than simply trying to do things. Start with having a vision of a clutter-free and clean life. How would it look, both internally and externally? What would this feel like? Imagine a clutter-free life. Visualize the clarity of thoughts, the regulation of your emotions, the burst of creativity in your life, and also your living spaces.
Next, drop any activity that doesn’t contribute to this vision. Easier said than done, but be deliberate in what you choose to spend time, energy, and money on. When you come across something in your home or office space that you no longer need or want, toss it out or donate it to non-profit and local communities. Before purchasing anything, have a good idea of how you see it being used in the space to meet your needs and what it would feel like. Stop trying to please everyone around you. Be picky with whom you give your time and energy. In my book, The Winning You, I use the metaphor of a tortoise to create your total focus bubble and to protect yourself from energy drainers. Say Yes to connecting with others who fuel your growth and goals. Say No to those who drain you. Period.
Lastly, remember that tiny and seemingly insignificant actions done daily always beat a spasmodic herculean effort. As you are trying to build this new identity, consciously ask yourself whether the action you are about to undertake is going to cast a vote in favor of your desired identity or not. And, slowly build up your vote bank.