Ever thought your thinking was cluttered?  No?  How about your stuff?  All of us accumulate stuff and most of us are reluctant to throw out a lot of this stuff because this seems like abandoning some part of our past.

There is a correlation between this ‘Stuff’ you hold on to and the mental ‘Stuff’ that goes on in your life and business.  We tend to hold on to beliefs and attitudes that we once associated with even though they don’t make as much sense.

In some cases, old beliefs actually hold us back from finding a new and creative direction.

The problem is, of course, that you can’t bring in new ‘stuff’ when the old ‘stuff’ is cluttering up the room.

This week’s guest blogger, Collette Barker from Supreme Organising, is having a chat about clutter (if you haven’t already guessed that).

Everything in your life; your money, your stuff and even relationships, all have energy.  You take on that energy and manifest it into emotions.  When this happens, you have to keep your eye on two things:

  1. Is the energy flowing properly? When energy banks up, with no outlet, your sense of a balance flies right out the window.
  2. Is the energy mainly positive or negative? How is that affecting you?

This can be tricky as many things carry both good and bad energy, for example, you love your favourite mug that you got for your 21st – you experience happiness, pride, nostalgia, the love shown to you by the gift giver.

But now it’s cracked and can’t be used, you experience guilt and regret for breaking something bought and entrusted to you, sadness at not being able to use it like it was intended and an obligation to continue looking after it out of respect to your friend.

What do you do?  We all have stuff, but sometimes the excess clutter ends up holding you hostage.  Then you practically drown in your own negative thoughts and emotions about it.

Here are some more common examples (and solutions) to thoughts that chain you to your clutter:

It has sentimental value, so I must keep it

If you have room for an item, you see it often and you get real happiness from the memories associated with it, then it’s not clutter.  But you only have so much room and attention, so sometimes tough calls must be made.  Luckily this process can be made easier by keeping a photo somewhere with a few words about what made the item so special.

Now instead of having a clunky mysterious item, you have a precious story book that will be treasured by generations to come.

It was a gift, so I can’t get rid of it

Nobody wants to hurt the gift-giver’s feelings.  However, if the gift is one of many items clogging up your home and destroying your peace and sanity, then you’ve got to treat yourself nicely too.  Remember these three things:

  • The item is not the actual person.
  • The item was given as a symbol of care and love.
  • Their goal was for you to be happy, not to burden you with another thing to look after.

Separate your feelings for the item from your feelings about the person.  Value the friendship more because that was the point.

What if I need this someday?

I’m sure you’ve heard this, “if you haven’t used it in ___ then throw it out.”  While a practical piece of advice, this doesn’t take into account the unexplained panic you feel at that very suggestion.  This is a more primal fear than just wanting to have lots of cool stuff.  It comes from our natural mentality of Lack.

Remedy this by looking at how far you’ve come in life and how up to now, you’ve always made it through every situation.  If you could replace that item, or the need for it with a couple of hours work or some creativity then it’s OK to let go.  Trust in yourself and your tribe to look after one another.

Letting go of the lifestyle the Stuff symbolises is too hard

Do you have building materials, craft supplies, cook books or clothes that you haven’t touched in years?  They were a big part of your life in the past and you enjoyed them, but now they just don’t fit into your schedule.

Looking at them, you don’t understand how you used to be able to use them, but can’t now? That’s because the only constant in our lives is change.  Yesterday’s done and dusted and by tomorrow, this day will be too.  We’ve got one chance to enjoy right now and make the most of it.

What’s even better, is how we feel today can flow into tomorrow.  There’s nothing so freeing as letting go of old objects that no longer fit into our current plan.  Let go or be dragged.

I paid good money for that, besides it’s practically new, so I can’t let it go

Note the difference between, ‘still has use left in it’ and, ‘still useful to me’.  Getting rid of an expensive object can sound crazy.  But keeping the thing won’t bring the money back.

Look closely: did you subconsciously download a cultural buying behaviour that doesn’t serve you?  We made a shopkeeper happy and helped him pay his bills, we got our shot of endorphins from buying something new and we might have even had fun using it a few times.  But now it’s getting dusty and taking up room.

In the end its most useful attribute might just be the lessons it taught us.

Look at the underlying reason you felt the need to buy it when you did.  Recognise the thirst it quenched?

Going forward, is there anything you’d do differently?  Good.  Now disembark the guilt train, be pleased with your new money-mindset savvy, then send the thing off to its new and appreciative home.

Now you’re seeing the whole story.  That’s growth.

The job’s too big to finish right now, so I won’t start yet

If you’ve already visualised the job right through to its finish and quickly calculated what’s involved in doing it all on your own, then this can be really overwhelming.  There are ways to minimise the job, like covering a large pile in a sheet and just pulling back a small section a day, setting a 20 minute organising time limit, or just focusing on one shelf at a time.

Maybe you’ve given up and just thought, “this is my life till the kids leave home” or something similar.  Whereas, it can be much, much quicker to solve than you imagine.  The best tool you have is a good Professional Organiser like me.

With advice, coaching or hands-on help we can whip through all that important stuff in no time, making previously impossible decisions quick, simple and painless.  Author, Annie Dillard, wrote “How we spend our days is, indeed, how spend our lives.”

What in your life, could you turn around this month with just a little coaching?  With help, you can stay focused long enough to create simpler new systems and richer ways of thinking; a home that you don’t need a holiday from and an organised lifestyle to be proud of.

Collette Barker, Supreme Organising, www.supremeorganising.co.nz

If you want to know more about how you can declutter your thinking around money in your life, or in your business, book a free strategy call with us by clicking this link.

If there isn’t a time that suits you, drop us an email and we’ll arrange something.