One major reason it can be challenging is when your home becomes cluttered. If it wasn’t an issue for you before, it may be now that you’ve been spending more time at home, and if clutter was an issue for you before, it may have become worse.
Once clutter begins to take hold, it can be very difficult to get it under control and it easily becomes overwhelming, causing you to feel stressed.
In this article I’ll share what clutter is, how it affects you, and I’ll share some strategies for regaining control.
How to Master Clutter
It can be quite a dilemma because you don’t have the time, energy or motivation to be able to deal with it. Follow these tips to help you regain control:
Understand what clutter you have: we don’t always recognize what clutter is. It’s so much more than piles of stuff. Here are some examples:
- Anything you don’t need, use, want or love
- Things you do want and use that are untidy or disorganized
- Too many things for the size of the space
- Anything that is broken or unfinished
- Things that you’re holding onto “just in case”
- Things that you don’t really want but are holding onto out of guilt (such as an unwanted gift from a close family member, or things that belonged to a loved one who has passed away)
Understanding what type of clutter you have is the first step to eliminating it for good.
Know how your clutter affects you: Something that people don’t often realize is that everything has energy, including your stuff. This means that it is connected to you energetically, which is why it can cause you to feel more and more tired and lethargic and unable to deal with it. Clutter affects your overall health and well-being in many ways.
Things that hold negative memories and associations for you continue to affect you deeply when you have them in your home. The more you have, where it’s located and the longer it’s been there can all add to the stress. Clutter can keep you stuck in the past and create confusion and disorganization in your life.
Understanding your clutter helps you to see why it becomes so overwhelming. You have memories and associations tied up in everything you own. You are connected to it emotionally and energetically. This can make it very difficult to let go of things, even if you don’t need, use, want or love them or if they evoke negative memories. They keep you stuck.
Everything is energy, and when you have a better understanding of the effects that your possessions have on you, it can give you the motivation that you need to take control.
Here’s an example - let’s say you go on vacation and you bring back a memento from that trip, every time you see it then it will remind you of what a great time you had. It will bring back memories of the trip, where you went, who you were with, what you did, and how you felt. This will move your energy to a high vibration.
Now, think of something you have in your home that reminds you of a difficult time in your life. Perhaps of someone who treated you badly, or a time of struggle. Every time you see that item it will trigger those memories and move your energy to a lower vibration.
When you think of it like that, what would you rather be surrounded by – things that have good associations or negative ones?
As you look around at the things you are keeping, consider that the more ‘unhappy’ things you have and the longer you have been keeping them, that is lowering your energy vibration on a daily basis.
Why We Accumulate Clutter
There are many reasons why we hold onto things that we really don’t need, use, want or love, such as:
- Just in case – you might need it someday
- Holding on to the past - how things used to be and how you used to be
- It was expensive
- You’d feel guilty letting it go
- You used to love it and use it
- You intend to do something with it, but haven’t been able to get around to it yet (how long has it been?)
- It’s hidden away, so you don’t see it and forget you have it
As with everything, awareness is key. Once you become aware of the energy of things, the memories, associations and emotions that are tied up with them, and how those things affect your energy, it’s difficult to ignore the situation.
Change is happening constantly. People and situations come into our lives and move out. There is an ebb and flow to life – and so there should be with our ‘stuff’ as well.
There are times when things are useful and times when they’re not and it’s essential to be able to let them go, otherwise you are holding onto energy that is not a good fit for you anymore and it will keep you stuck.
How Clutter Affects You
Clutter affects us in different ways, and it affects some people more than others. The more sensitive you are to energy, the more it affects you.
Here are a few of the ways that clutter and disorganization can affect you:
- Low energy – clutter makes you feel tired, and lethargic. The more you have, the more overwhelming it is and the less you feel able to deal with it. This is why people say they feel more energized after they’ve had a good spring cleaning session.
- Keeps you stuck in the past – as an example, I’ve worked with many people who were ready to move on from unhappy relationships or family situations but seemed unable to do so. In each case, we discovered they were holding onto items that had very unhappy memories and associations for them from those relationships. They were able to move on only when they were able to let go of those items that were keeping them stuck.
- Congestion – when you have clutter, not only is your home congested, your own energy is congested too. Because you are connected to your home energetically.
- Lack of self-care – as well as an energetic connection, there is also a large emotional connection that you have with many of your possessions. Clutter represents some dissatisfaction with yourself and/or your life. When you look after your environment, you are also more likely to look after yourself.
- Confusion/disorganization – have you ever been unable to find something you know you have? Or have you purchased something that you already have and forgot you had? I worked with someone once who had 4 copies of the same book – she just didn’t know she’d already bought it before (and she hadn’t read it yet)! The more clutter you have, the less clarity you have, and you waste time searching for lost things, or money buying things you already have.
- Affects how people treat you – people tend to treat you the way you treat yourself, which means that you can attract people who mistreat you or at the very least don’t respect you. Sorting out clutter can improve your relationships.
- Procrastination – things you put off attending to in your home represent things you are putting off in your life.
- Disharmony – clutter is often a major cause of arguments within a household. It can also distract you from what’s really important.
These are just some of the ways clutter has an impact.
Remember that your possessions are not only alive with energy, they are also alive with your memories and associations, and so you want to make sure that you surround yourself with things that you love, need, use and want.
Understanding the clutter is the first step to eliminating it. When you know what you’re keeping and why, it’s easier to let go of it.
When you’re ready, here are some strategies that can help you see real progress quickly.
First, it’s helpful to prepare some boxes and label them. One is for things you want to throw away, one is for things you want to donate, another for anything you want to sell, and then there’s what you want to keep.
Once everything is out of the room, cupboard or closet, then you start sorting. You put things into the various containers and the things you want to keep go to one side.
Once you’ve sorted, you start putting back the things that you want to keep – but you must make sure that you have a place for each item. The only things you put back are the things you want to keep, nothing else.
The reason for doing it this way is that it’s very difficult to sort through things when you’re in the room or space you’re sorting. That’s why it’s helpful to take everything out – then you can really sort properly.
When I do this I like to play some upbeat music, which really helps me make progress.
This method can feel very overwhelming for some people. If we’re talking about a large area, such as a basement or garage, you might want to divide it up into areas and tackle one area at a time.
If this does feel too overwhelming to you, then you can simply set a timer for a small amount of time that feels good and manageable to you. It could be 5 minutes, or it could be 30 minutes, or one hour. Whatever amount of time it is for you, you’ll want to do this regularly. So, for example, it might be 10 minutes every day. Or 1 hour every other day. Or It could be 3 hours every Friday.
Whatever it is, you need to set a schedule and stick to it. This may not seem like very much, but you’d be amazed at how you can accomplish this way. The key is frequency and consistency, and making the amount of time manageable and not overwhelming.
You could set yourself a challenge to do 10 minutes every day for 1 month. That adds up over time. At the end of 30 days that would be 5 hours! You can accomplish a lot in 5 hours.
If you’re like most people, I think you’ll find that once you get started you will want to keep going after the timer goes off. I wouldn’t recommend doing that the first few times you try it, but later on you can if you want to.
If even that doesn’t seem doable, then simply throw out one thing every day. Even that expands over time, until you find that you’re beginning to make real progress. Start somewhere. It doesn’t matter how small, just do something, and do it frequently. The energy will soon build.
Start with the most simple things - ones that you are not tied to emotionally. When you have a lot of emotion tied up in things (such as things from a deceased loved one) that can make it more difficult to let go, so start with something easier until you feel you’re making progress.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you find that you just can’t get started. Ask a friend or family member to help you, or hire a professional organizer. There is no shame in asking for help. What’s worse is not asking and continuing to feel stressed and overwhelmed by all the clutter.
When you declutter and organize your home, think of it as clearing out old, stagnant energy and allowing new, positive energy to enter.
Despite the fact that we know how important it is to remove clutter, it can be painfully difficult to part with our possessions - even the ones that have been stuffed in a box in the corner of a closet for the last year or more.
To help you, here are some questions you can ask yourself as you assess what to release and what to keep:
- Do I use it?
- Do I need it?
- Does it bring me joy?
- If I lost it, would I seek an exact replica to replace it?
- Does it remind me of happy memories or create positive emotions when I'm near it?
- Would I take it with me if I moved to a new home?
- Will it create pleasure or be useful to my heirs (and if I think it will, am I sure they really want it)?
One final note: If it's broken or irreparably damaged, then throw it out.
By clearing your home's clutter, you can create a more open environment to welcome positive energy that will result in a better life for you and everyone under your roof.
It doesn’t really matter what strategy you use - learning to think about clutter energetically, what you’re keeping, why you’re keeping it, and how it affects you - can help you find the energy and motivation to overcome the clutter in your home.