When you begin de-cluttering your life, you make room for better things.
When the things in your life don’t serve you, it’s time to let it go. I wish I could tell you how many times my first-time clients arrived clinging onto the negative junk in their lives that never served them. Some old stuff (and negative people) just held them back. We all have the proverbial, “Junk Drawer” at home and yet, we rarely open it to clean it out.
Most of the time, it’s not the things… it’s the memories associated with the things.
While it’s not my intent to talk much about my coaching practice, I think it relates to this issue and other coaches might benefit from the value of decluttering. It’s amazing how many coaches don’t want to share techniques, as if there was a fear of giving away the “Secret Handshake”.
Each person is unique and their world, or the way they perceive it varies. The Reader’s Digest version of my work with clients is a variety of processes helping them to find better life directions, positive people and a supportive environment. When clients reach milestones, that cumulatively adds up lots of small successes, specifically in the first two areas of direction and people.
While a quick way to change an environment is to pack up and move, for many reasons, that’s not always workable. Another way to change your environment is by changing the way it looks and feels.
We all love our junk and the thought of getting rid of it causes stress. It would seem tossing out items that bring negative memories to the surface is easy. Not so. Have you ever watched one of those reality TV shows where hoarders try to justify keeping a favorite “Beenie Weenie” can? The experience induces a stress response where they hang on to an item for no good reason.
Anything in life that moves you forward, or backwards always starts with a choice.
We each benefit when we choose to inspect our environment and find stuff (That’s my “technical” term) taking up space that doesn’t serve us. There will be stress as you mentally weigh the value of the surrounding objects sharing life’s space with you. I recently began this decluttering mission, and I found it initially generated internal stress as I sorted through lots of unnecessary things.
A Stress-Relieving Segue
Before jumping into it, I set up a page discussing a free stress-relieving helper that you can use just about anywhere in life to bring calm. It’s a simple but powerful thing — Your breath.
There is a free bookmark I designed as a reminder that we can be in control of our stress levels. I tested this little bookmark with dozens of people that have them around their home or workplace as a reminder… to breathe.
It describes how to use your breath to your advantage, and why it works. Each person described a calmer existence with the little reminder. It’s free. Just grab one and print it out.
We all live different lives and store our stuff in our own unique places. It’s been a hectic few years with work and business and stressors of all sorts pulling from many directions.
When I finally slowed down after a health incident, and then a pandemic, I looked around and had to ask: “Who let the hoarder in here?”
I didn’t just have things here and there. I had junk everywhere, in drawers, cabinets, piles of books, papers, an outdoor shop, a basement. It wasn’t like a “Hoarder”s show, but enough to know I needed to start decluttering.
I Didn’t Know Where to Start.
I knew if I didn’t start somewhere; I wasn’t going to start at all. I recommend starting with a small and manageable area. I began with a dresser drawer used for my junk storage. I sat on the bed, did a couple minutes of breath work and began.
Go ahead, open that junk drawer and look through the closet. Look at the trinkets and old books and stuff filling your home or where you work. Begin exploring your environment. Look at the stuff you’ve stashed away. Unless it brings you pleasant memories of times when you were happy and felt loved, cared for and important, then you no longer need it because it doesn’t serve you.
Get Rid of It... Let It Go.
The Crazy Stuff I Collected
I began sorting through the drawer and began pulling junk and tossing it into a large trash bag. I found a comb that I used to carry 30+ years ago. Scroll up to the top of this article and you’ll see a photo of a guy that hasn’t needed a comb in three decades.
Why would I have kept that?
Was I in some sort of denial, believing I’ll wake up one day with hair?
Nope… ain’t gonna happen. In the trash, it goes.
Really now… Why do we keep so much stuff that fills our homes, or sometimes reminds us of painful experiences or people? We keep things that we tell ourselves, “I’ll use that one day” but “one day” never gets here. I had over 300 plastic hotel card keys from various places taking up space in one of my bookcases.
Only a few come from unique places. I put them in my scrapbook with backstage passes when I shot celebrity concerts 40-years ago. Four or five of them bring good memories, but I don’t need 300 card keys.
About five years ago, a friend gave us a birdhouse. I live on an acre of property full of birds of all kinds. That birdhouse sitting atop a piece of furniture wasn’t doing anything for me, and it sure didn’t do anything for the birds that should be enjoying it.
As I decluttered the drawer, I looked around and found a box of old papers to shred. I then started on the closet. Each minor success became a larger victory with the next part completed.
This process taught me that life’s experiences and the people in our lives are far more important that the stuff we store and move around.
A Good Book to Let It Go
Marie Kondō’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” where she describes a section called “The moment you start to reset your life.” When reading that, it resonated with me as I looked around my home.
Kondō says, “A messy room equals a messy mind.” I believe that. Once I began clearing away noncontributing parts of my life, I noticed small freeing pockets of life and time amid a really busy existence.
As a reader and a writer, I inspected my many book cases. What books have I read and which ones will I probably not get to? Unless they evoke an emotional or positive response, I don’t need them anymore. During my last visit to Goodwill, I donated over 100 books for others to enjoy. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I’m exposing my own excesses to help you see possible areas where a life reset can happen for YOU.
I still have work to do after going through a few rooms. I’m happy to say my messy mind is becoming clearer, and that’s what I wish for you.
Oh yeah… There will be new residents in the bird house soon. 😊🐦