Choosing What Stays

Have you ever heard that your outside environment is a mirror of your inside environment? No? Well, now you have. And even though I may make things up all the time, I can’t lay claim to this one. When looking around my home, on rather chaotic days, I hate to agree that this true. It seems chaos leads to more chaos, unless something gets cleaned up.

This leads us to today’s topic: clutter. Clutter is simply too much stuff. Too much stuff in your house, your car, your life and your brain, and it’s weighing you down. Imagine how much lighter you would be without the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Now if you can’t seem to lighten the load that is on your mind, you could try to lighten your environmental load. I mean, how many bowls does a person need? And socks? OR towels? Just because you have a place for it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Each item that you have is an item that you have to take care of. If you looked at each thing that you have and reminded yourself that you are responsible for it, it would be overwhelming. It is overwhelming! We are all overwhelmed!

The crazy thing about our gathering of things is how little we actually need and how little this stuff makes us happy. Often the things we accumulate lead to more stress, frustration, and worry. The less you have the less you have to worry about. I’m all for less worry and an easy(ish) life. I live with other people so I don’t always get a say as to how easy things are, but I do get to choose the things I worry over. Less stuff has improved my quality of life and has helped to reduce my desire for more. I find joy in what I have and it is quick work to get my house under control and decently clean.

So now you’re probably wondering what to do about it. I mean you can’t just get rid of it all, can you? Yes, actually, you can, but you probably want to keep some things around. I prefer a bed over the floor. I like to look at the things I have multiples of. Things like certain dishes, clothing items, bath items, blankets, towels, toys, and books. Generally going room to room and seeing that room with new eyes will help you uncover the clutter you may overlook. Going into a room like you are visitor there changes your perspective and allows you to see your “mess.”

I know that just me telling you about cleaning and reducing clutter isn’t really going to motivate you to clean up your act, but I do have some inspirational things up my sleeves. One of my favorite documentaries is Minimalism, which talks about over-consumerism and the freedom and health benefits of owning less. I also enjoyed the series Tidying Up, which helps people figure out how to get rid of things without guilt or judgement. A good step-by-step book on de-cluttering your home is Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider (I swear that’s how her name is spelled). I enjoyed the book because it is easy and gives other resources and extras that you may not have thought of. If you want to feel proud of  your house, as it is, you can always watch Hoarders.

Side note: none of these people are paying me to talk about their work. I just liked them enough to share with all of you.

Anyway. The idea here is to see that you may have too many things. To see how the overload of items is effecting your everyday life and to picture what it would be like with less. Then to find your path of least resistance. Choosing one place that is either an easy starting point and will give you quick-fix or attacking the one area that has been driving you crazy for months. If you have lots of stuff or lots of rooms, this will not be quick and easy, but it will be worth it. A calm environment leads to calm inside our heads. I relax better when things are cleaned up.

Quick reminder here, you can only work on yourself and inspire others around you. You cannot force change on the unwilling. I tried. It backfired. Now my garage is a mess. You have to do this for you and for the improvement it’ll make in your life. As your life gets better those closest to you will follow or get out of the way. Leading by example is all you can do.

As always, I hope you found this helpful or at least humorous. If you ever need to talk about your hoarding problem, I’ll listen.

Have a squeaky clean day!



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