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De-Cluttering Your Physical Space

July 24th, 2010 in Book Selections, Organization, Personal Growth

We all share many common threads in our lives.  Clutter is one of them.  Like it or not, we hold on to “things” that burden and weigh us down.   In this Universe, there is stuff hanging out taking up space and energy.   Time to recycle or destroy.

Four possible areas where clutter accumulates: 

Physical – our homes, cars and bodies
Emotional – our thoughts, feelings and reactions (actions)
Financial – our spending habits
Spiritual – our never-ending desire for connection and purpose

Today I want to talk about the physical clutter that surrounds us each day.  All clutter is interconnected and affects all areas of our lives.  In order to handle clutter, we need to separate one form of clutter from another.  When you separate physical from the emotional, any changes you make in the physical world will influence your emotional makeup.

Using the 80/20 rule:  80% of what we use comes from 20% of our things.   Think about the other 80% of stuff that we hold on to just in case.   Just in case rarely comes.  It’s important that you be honest with yourself that you are holding on to useless stuff.  This honesty will free you up to be more open to receiving what actually gives you satisfaction and joy. 

I’ve reread “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston.  If you come into my home, your first impression of my home doesn’t elicit a sense of clutter.   I do love my books, so there is a large collection of them.  Sometimes I’m a bit co-dependent on them for my entertainment.   A couple of weeks ago I donated around 100 books and will need to go through another scrutiny test.

Anyway, as I was reading Karen Kingston’s book, I started to go behind the scenes in my home….closets and storage areas of my home…and looked at what I was keeping.    In my extra bedroom, hanging out for over a year, were clothes that others could enjoy.  I was too busy to call for a pick up or put into the car to the donation center.  They are gone…I donated 8 bags of them yesterday.

Another area that I noticed was my collection of costume jewelry.  Lurking on the shelf is a pile of jewelry with minor parts to fix…off to the jeweler I go this coming week.   In my collection of costume jewelry, were pieces that I would never ever in a 100 years wear again so I gave them away to someone who gleefully treated it as new “stuff.”

I then found out that I had 6 watches, all not working, and I don’t wear a watch.  I will keep a gold and silver selection, fix them, and let the others find their resting place.   I discovered silver jewelry that was tarnished and I cleaned them up and started to use them.   It was like buying something new.  

I wasn’t a one-night wonder.  The following night, I came home tired, but tackled my shoes. I was amazed how many shoes didn’t fit right and never fit right.   Tells me I need to be smarter about my purchases.   I now have a clear shoe rack…in less than 30 minutes. 

I share my de-cluttering stories because most people can relate to the staleness of stuff that sits in the same place year after year.

I believe that clutter accumulates on the body as well – obviously with extra weight.  I see a connection when my body mimics my physical environment and the opposite is true.  It’s all interconnected. 

A year ago, I started to follow a dietitian’s food plan and lost 20 lbs, which I’ve been successful in maintaining.  I still have more pounds to lose and yet I feel good with this new weight.  De-cluttering is also about the foods we put into our bodies.  I cleaned the cupboards of foods that added no nutritional value to my body.    Yes, I indulge, and am encouraged to do so, but I leave that for a treat when I’m out to dinner once a week.

One must be aware in the de-cluttering of our physical space our thoughts and feelings will surface and could potentially sabotage our desire to clear up our space.   Lately I realized that just showing up each day, do a little, will have an immeasurable impact on my life.   I just trust that if I step up into action and enjoy what I’m doing, that at the end I will be a different person.   Trust is important in moving forward in one’s life.

Another area that I have to work on is seeing what isn’t done yet vs. what has been done.  Do you share the same thought patterns?  When we let go of our attachment for perfection we can enjoy the process of clearing better.  

I ask myself two things when I look at something:  Am I using it and so it provides a functional value, or do I love it and enjoy the beauty of it.   Just start small and be grateful when you tackle manageable areas.  Leave the big projects to when you have success with the small areas.  For me a big project will be paper in file cabinets, hanging out in my office area as well as stored within closets.   I will get to it and first I start in manageable areas.

Change is important and we need to let go of stuff in order to move forward towards what we want in our lives.   I feel more confident after tackling the small areas sorting through, tossing, donating and clearing a space at a time in my home.

A big life lesson for me is if I want to bring more joy and happiness into my life, the clutter must go. The more things I let go of, the freer I feel.   

The things I own need to be supporting me and not the other way around.

What About You?
Are you a minimalist or a clutter person?    When you think of “your stuff”, does it bring you pleasure or do you feel overwhelmed?

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill) 

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Thanks for your help.


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4 Responses to “De-Cluttering Your Physical Space”

  1. Richie Perl Says:

    Congratulations,Pat, on having the discipline to de-clutter.

    I’m in the process of discarding my old LPs. It’s like a history of my life!

    But, life goes on. There’s not enough rppm physically and psychically to keep stuff that no longer serves us!

    Keep up the good work!


  2. Pat Says:

    Hi Richie
    Thanks for mentioning the LPs. They are lurking behind a closed door in my bedroom…if you have let them go, why not me. Where are you discarding them? I too was holding onto the history…I even have the record player and that is dating me.


  3. Phil Chapman Says:

    Hi I’ve been wrestling with this problem w ithout realizing it. I appreciated the things and places that get cluttered. I also recognized the stuff clutter is partially symbolic or emotional clutter. Now that I know what the enemy is I have got half the battle won. Now if Ican be a visionary and act on a plan I’ll be better off.

  4. Pat Says:

    Hi Phil
    Start small…celebrate everything you give away for another person to use and enjoy. Celebrate the papers, books, magazines that you recycle. It’s not just about de-cluttering, it’s about feelihg good about yourself, breathing more freely and enjoying your space.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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