How to clear stuff organically and with minimal resistance
75% of Inspired Home Office newsletter readers say their #1 problem is clutter.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter, take solace in the knowledge that you’re not alone and in very good company (people who read the newsletter are awesome).
However, solace alone isn’t enough to dissolve your overwhelm, right? And the clutter doesn’t go away on its own. You’ve probably noticed that.
The downside of “kicking yourself into gear”
The downside? It hurts! Kicking is ouchy.
Instead of feeling guilty, frustrated, and trying to kick yourself about your clutter, how about trying a gentle, non-violent process that honors all of you – and still gets results?
I offer to you a non-traditional way to work through clutter. Follow the steps below.
Where is the clutter?
Look around your space and zero in on where the clutter is and what it is. Is it a box? Some piles? A piece of furniture full of magazines? Is it everywhere? Just notice.
What does it mean to you?
Take a moment to look at one area that’s really bugging you. Chances are good that the stuff there holds some emotional significance.
When you look at the clutter, notice: what emotions come up for you? Maybe you feel overwhelm, or resentment, or apathy, or confusion. Or something else. Can you tell what you’re feeling? Give that feeling a name.
Open up to the feeling
Lots of people think that moving the clutter will make their feelings go away. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it’s more loving and respectful to feel the feeling first and take action after.
Once you have named the feeling, make some space in you to feel what comes up. Let it be okay that you feel this way. Emotions are good and they give us useful information.
What does it remind you of?
Stuff hold memories.
I worked with a client recently who had several boxes of things that belonged to a beloved family member. Although she didn’t like the cluttered boxes, she realized that she still felt grief over the loss of this special person. This is what the “clutter” reminded her of.
Another woman realized that the clutter in her office reminded her that her husband had “taken over the house” after he retired. Her feelings were about the clutter and also her loss of space and control. Big stuff.
So, I invite you to gently inquire if the stuff you have reminds you of something unresolved. It’s okay if it doesn’t. But ask. It might be helpful information.
You might have more emotions. That’s okay and totally normal. Just let yourself feel whatever comes up.
Ask yourself what you need.
This is the most important question at Inspired Home Office: What do you need? If you have clutter, if you have feelings, if they remind you of something, ask: what is it that I need?
When you ask yourself this question, trust. Trust what comes up for you. Give this process some time and really listen. You might even want to write the words down.
Asking this question will give you better ideas because, in the end, no one knows how to care for you better than you do.
Think about how you’d like to meet that need.
Once you get a tiny idea about what you need, begin to think about how you might like to create it. Take some small steps. Reach out for support.
Yes, repeat. This is because clutter will continue flowing into your space. Clutter is a lot like leaves in autumn. Leaves fall and scatter, so we rake them up. Spring and summer create more leaves, and then they fall again. So we rake them up.
There’s nothing unnatural about that. That’s just how nature is. It’s the same with clutter. Paper. Email. We can spend a little time paying attention to it, asking some insightful questions, and the way to rake them up appears.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
Why these steps work
Usually clutter exists for more complex reasons than we realize.
This process creates space for the whole story instead of treating clutter like The Problem. After working with me for a while, some people report that the clutter just doesn’t come back. And they feel peaceful about the stuff that does appear. So cool!
When I work with people 1-on-1, I use the very same process with them and it works magic. The discovery in this process can feel exciting. The amazing part is that people really do get excited about cleaning and decluttering. And so can you.
The non-violent process is organic and can meet your need for a clear space in a way no “handy organizing tips” ever could.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.