These days, television seems to be filled with programs about “hoarders” and those who are disoriented and buried in their clutter. Some individuals have even died as a result of their clutter.
How does that happen? We all tend to cling to the familiar, even when it’s not healthy for us. We cling to physical items (such as clothes, furniture, and trinkets) as well as relationships, jobs, and behaviors. Unfortunately, we cross the line from normal, healthy behavior into the realm of “hoarding” when the items become excessive and we’re unable to discard them.
It’s hard to feel calm and focused when our physical and mental spaces are cluttered. “Spiritual clutter” includes the noise, stress, and normal life chaos that we all cope with every day. Spiritual clutter interferes with living a full and satisfying life, but when we de-clutter our emotional and spiritual aspects, we nurture ourselves, support our life mission, and create habits that fully support our passions. The “space clearing” that results from eliminating our physical and spiritual clutter (they are connected!) is essential to supporting our health and energy.
Some items in our lives are worth treasuring, while others should be given or thrown away. As seasons end, relationships or jobs change, and we turn our minds and energy toward new opportunities, how can we clear the clutter from not only our garages, bedrooms, offices, back porches, and entryways but from our minds as well?
We can start by asking ourselves the following questions:
- Have my emotions, lack of self-nurturing, or lack of awareness led to physical clutter in my life?
- Do I have a hard time getting rid of items that are no longer useful?
- Do I have difficulty practicing forgiveness or breaking habits that no longer serve me?
- Do I see a connection between the physical clutter in my life and some spiritual, mental, or emotional issues that I struggle with?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you probably have some de-cluttering to do!
As you begin the process of de-cluttering, consider these questions:
- What are my life goals? What type of inner life do I want? What core beliefs comfort and sustain me in times of difficulty?
- What do I do to get in touch with my true self? What makes me feel centered and complete?
- Do I have a community of people with whom I share similar beliefs?
- Where do I go or what do I do to regroup?
- What charity or cause do I believe in? When was the last time I donated time, money, or items to that cause?
- What am I doing to de-clutter my health? What is my relationship with my body?
- What have I done to de-clutter every room in my home?
Try the following options to de-clutter your life and create a new physical and emotional openness to the great new adventures life has in store for you!
- Create a vision for your life and share it with your partner or dearest friend. Develop a “vision board” and put it where you can see it every day, to help your conscious and unconscious mind support you as you move toward your vision.
- Get rid of items that no longer serve your vision. It doesn’t matter if the items were once expensive. Donate your unused or unwanted items. If you don’t have any items, consider donating your time to a worthy cause or organization. Also consider whether jobs or other relationships support your vision and whether you need to let go of them as well.
- Simplify your life. Reduce the number of commitments you have, cut back on work hours (if you can afford to), donate unused items, and practice “brain dumping” (writing down things you need to remember so your mind is freer and more creative).
- Commit to spending a portion of every day clearing out items that no longer serve your vision. Take an hour or so and commit to cleaning one small section of your home every day. Check your closet, look under the bed, clear that office clutter, and have a yard sale! Breaking up cleaning chores into bite-sized episodes prevents the cleaning experience from becoming overwhelming and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Think more positively. Set boundaries and limits on your relationships. Learn to say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
- Live in the present. Learn to forgive and forget. Let go of past grievances, bitterness, and resentment.
- Face your fears. Understand the importance of letting go. Learn to embrace the angst that accompanies the process of giving up old items and patterns that no longer serve you. Consider professional help if you need it.
- Become aware of whether your inner life is reflected by your outer life. Be sure that what you think, how you speak, and what you do are congruent with each other.
- Find ways to engage in activities that calm, center, and reenergize your spirit. Take part in them regularly and give them the respect they deserve.
- Find time to meditate, pray, spend time in nature, and enjoy the company of supportive family and friends.
- Exercise, move, and be more active in every aspect of your life. Treat your body and your health with respect. Get rid of unused exercise equipment, diet books, or other items that no longer serve you. Get professional help if you need to address body issues that stand in the way of your evolution.
- Organize your health records and practice preventive health. Visit your doctor or dentist for regular checkups. Get rid of old medications and beauty products.
- Commit to eating healthy meals and enjoying the meals you eat. Be present during eating and avoid watching television, working at the computer, or talking on the phone during mealtime. Clean out your kitchen, refrigerator, and pantry.
- Start a journal. This is a great way to reflect on your activities and see if they match your inner passions.
- Remember that important things are not always urgent, and urgent things are not always important.Learn to evaluate what you need to commit to (based on your vision) and choose to spend your time on those issues.
As you clear away your clutter, you’ll feel lighter—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Take a much-deserved deep breath and celebrate your success.