11 Reasons Clearing Clutter Can Change Your Life!

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I was reading a story about Paris Hilton the other day (yes, I am that shallow.)

She had a new man. I was confused.

Didn’t I read last week that she already had a man? (See, I really am that shallow – I read about her all the time.)

I read further and learned that that man was her old man because now she had a new one.

Inside a week.

Sheesh, I don’t change my sheets that often.

I got to thinking about the parallels of her life with mine.

You know how it goes…

(Well, maybe you don’t but bear with me.)

You’ve been mulling things over. (And I’m not talking wine, here.)

You lack your normal enthusiasm for your favorite things. (Let’s not even get started on your un-favorite things.)

You want something different but you’re not sure what.

Life seems humdrum. Settled but not exciting. A bit grey around the edges. You’re ambivalent but not hateful. Perplexed rather than anti.

When you get a free moment, you slump.

It’s like life in a hammock – easy to fall into, even comfortable for a while but ultimately unproductive and difficult to get out of.

Well, I’ve been contemplating life from my hammock place just recently.

Something has changed.

Like Paris and her man, the love affair with my laptop has been shaken.

It hasn’t been giving me the rewards I’ve come to expect from a big pash.

I’ve been feeling a bit down after spending time with it and reluctant to go on as many dates.

So we broke up and while I couldn’t go strictly no contact, I went on a laptop diet.

Which freed up my day no end.

I spent time with my children, interacting rather than merely inhabiting the same physical space but entirely different mental planes as we surfed our different electronic worlds.

It was fun but then they dumped me, went off to camp and left me alone in an empty house.

I was determined not to go back to my laptop.

I am an empowered woman, am I not?

And one day, while I was slumping on my own in my sad, little world (aww, so sad, too bad,) I pulled out a book I read many years ago before I moved to the US, before I had children even.

I can barely remember my life back then.

But I do remember this book.

I’ve owned at least two copies before, lent out, never got back.

It’s that kind of a book.

The cover is a gorgeous thing and being (yes, I know, I know,) one of those women who have little interest in what goes on under the hood/bonnet but who is entirely riveted by the color of the seats, the cover of a book will often draw me in and make me buy.

But this time, I found my latest copy at a secondhand book sale.

Gorgeous, interesting and inexpensive?

Had my name all over it. 😉

And now, all alone, I picked it up.

Maybe I was a sad, lonely soul on the rebound from a fading love affair with my laptop.

Maybe I was unable to be alone and enjoy my own company as I rattled around my home like Paris changing her men as quickly as she changes her knickers (and not in a superhero way.)

But.

As I gazed on the orange of the poppy and the yellow of the candle, juxtaposed with the black of the tabletop in the cover photo, I knew what would fill the hole in my life.

Clearing my clutter.

Physical, electronic, mental.

(Very mental if that statement about Paris Hilton is anything to go by.)

Three weeks it’s been now.

I didn’t have a lot of stuff to begin with.

I have even less now.

It’s been something every day. Sometimes a lot of stuff, other times only one thing.

And I’m still going.

I’m still not sure where all this will end up. The process isn’t quite over.

But I feel I’ve turned a corner and things are starting to settle.

I know for sure old half-finished projects are getting resolved.

One way or another.

Freeing up energy these halfway projects were dragging down.

Clutter clearing makes my energy hum.

I book the donation truck and I get to work, piling bag after box.

Sometimes I get sad I paid good money for an item that didn’t get used or not as much as I’d like but I shake myself out of it.

It serves no good purpose.

Many treasures are unearthed besides the ones that end up on the driveway.  Just today a tin I’d long forgotten about was the perfect storage solution for some tangly bits.

And the cleansing is satisfying, justifying, even electrifying as new possibilities are exposed to the sunshine.

I firmly believe clearing clutter can change your life.

Here’s why.

10 Reasons Clearing Clutter Can Change Your Life!

1. You gain energy. Ever set a small clearing goal and got so motivated you couldn’t stop? That’s what I mean. It feels sooooo good. Great to do when you’re a bit down (but not so down you make poor decisions.)

2. You gain a place for the eye to rest. Not having anywhere for the eye to rest can be stressful even when the body is able to. I found that even my kids play better when the place isn’t strewn with toys.

3. You gain space. More space so you can see the things you actually have, more space to create anew, fresh ideas, investigate different paths now the junk’s all out the way.

4. You get to pass on your stuff for someone else to love. Someone who will use it and enjoy it. (Are you listening, Paris, darling?)

5. You find money. Nearly always. I found two $10 gift cards to Target I purchased 4 years ago! Your old junk can also be a money raiser for a organization. Making something of nothing is one of the most uplifting feelings you can experience.

6. Clutter from the mind and the body often follows physical clutter out the door. As I clutter clear, I find my mind mulling over things for a while then it just stops. Everything becomes more mindful as I think about what I’m doing instead of darting from this to that. Physical, mental and body clutter inevitably go out the door.

7. You gain closure. As I sort through my kids clothes, I enjoy the memories, remembering the times when they were small enough to wear them. Folding them up and donating them is an acceptance that they’re not that little any more, they’re on their way to big, strapping lads and it’s time to move on.

8. It feels liberating. You realize how little you really need, how much of what we have is unnecessary, outdated, of no use. Therein lies freedom from ‘things.’

9. You re-discover forgotten treasures and discover new ones. I found some ornamental teapots I hadn’t seen in years. Finding them gave me such a thrill, I wondered what on earth I’d being thinking storing them away in the first place. I also donated items to our community theater for period piece props (yes, I’m that old. ;-))

10. It brings a consciousness to new purchases. As you pass along items you no longer use or never used, it brings new attention to the purchases you do make. Do I really need this? Do I truly love it? Is it more stuff to clutter up our home and stress myself with? Or do I just need to do without, repurpose something else, or simplify what I have?

11. You traverse the neutral zone. When I’m a bit lost, looking for direction, in need of a purpose or goal, I often turn to clearing out. That neutral zone where something has ended and something else has not yet started feels a lonely, unproductive place. Having a clear out can occupy that time with some purposeful activity without making a premature commitment (something you definitely don’t want to do when going through this temporary stage.) The lessons you learn as you go if you clear mindfully can even help you reach the other side and form part of your next project, job or lifestage. Clearing clutter can work wonders!

Now I seriously doubt Paris Hilton clears her own clutter but someone must. She shops, she drops (some serious cash,) she probably plops. Maybe she buys a bigger house to accommodate it all.

But I think she would gain a lot of benefit from the process, don’t you?

Like, maybe, take a breath between men.

Or perhaps actually go see Paris.

Now, that would be progress.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Glynis Jolly
Twitter:
July 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm

You’re inspiring Alison. I was on a diet with my PC until just recently and I’m not stuffing myself with it anymore. I should really do a little of what you’ve been doing. A small clutter each day would do nicely. After 20 years of marriage, you can imagine how much clutter I have.
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Alison Golden July 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

‘I’m not stuffing myself with it anymore.’

Great line, Glynis. Good luck with the clearing out. You’re right, a little every day. Baby steps…:-)

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Mary E. Ulrich
Twitter:
July 20, 2011 at 3:20 am

Hi Alison, I’ve bought several of the Feng Shui books. Unfortunately, I never get past the first couple pages. Wonder if there is a Feng Shui way to decorate with your Feng Shui books? (there’s a laugh for the day)

I’m also impressed you stuck with your goal and made the clean sweep. You gave excellent reasons, now I just wish I had … no, I’m goin’ to do it.

Love your humor. Had several good laughs. Wonder how Paris Hilton gets rid of her stuff? Bet she just checks in a new hotel. (Wonder if their family has Hilton humor?)

Off to find a box… 🙂
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Alison Golden July 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Did you find that box and fill it, Mary? If you don’t want to go to the bother of taking it to Goodwill, why don’t you leave it in A’s garage. It will be taken care of for you, that way. No need for you to do anything 😉

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The Damsel in Dis Dress
Twitter:
July 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

Such a great post. I’m so addicted to my laptop! And I collect uncluttering books, (I know, weird) so I’ll have to look for this one.
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Alison Golden July 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm

You’re perfectly normal. At least, as normal as me. 😉

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Bibi July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

At one point I had to go on laptop diet myself and whole new world outside blogging opened up to me ….imagine that….no I try to control my laptop portions as much as I can.

I agree with clearing clutter. I can’t think and work with clutter around….I noticed that. I get tired and cranky and unproductive. Then I clean up and I am instantly refreshed…..it’s amazing.
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Alison Golden July 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Blogging can be like going down a tunnel. The further you get in, the less you can see of the outside world. Coming back to the outside is enlightening literally and figuratively. Thanks for your comment, Bibi!

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JDaniel4's Mom July 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

I love this post! You are so right about the benefits of clearing clutter.

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Alison Golden July 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Thank you. The benefits are many and far-reaching. 🙂

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Mrs. Jen B
Twitter:
July 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm

You are sooo right! Clearing clutter is super empowering. I know that just looking around my clean, clear bedroom a couple weekends back picked up my spirits tenfold. I need to practice that in my other rooms… 😉
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Alison Golden July 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Isn’t it amazing, Jen, how that works? Teeming with energy, I get when I do it. Can’t be beat!

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Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.
Twitter:
July 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I adore clearing clutter. Adore it! My desk was clean a week ago and I felt like I could accomplish anything. Now, however, it’s time to reset again!!

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Alison Golden July 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm

That’s the thing about clutter, isn’t it? We have to keep hitting reboot. 🙂

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DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman
Twitter:
July 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

When we moved into our rental in 2004, we thought we’d only be here for a couple of years before we found a permanent home so we left most things in boxes, stored in our difficult to access basement.

We’ve been stuck on many levels so I’ve decided to start cleaning things out of the basement. If we haven’t used it in all of these years, we obviously aren’t going to miss it.

To get unstuck, I have to make space for the new opportunities to come in.
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Alison Golden July 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Great plan! I hope it works out for you.

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Renee Huggins
Twitter:
July 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

I hate clutter, but stuff really seems to gather up around here. We usually just put things in the office to go through later, but we never end up doing that. So, we now refer to the office as the Vortex.

The office is a place of such negative energy in this house. Plus, it would be nice to actually be able to get work done in there.

Thanks for the inspiring post! SU from BF!
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Alison Golden July 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Yes, I’m familiar with vortex-type places. I call them hot spots – places where things just get dumped. One of my project this summer is to get my kids to clear one part of their room each day. It was a bit of a struggle at first but now they’re in the swing of things.

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Kristl Story July 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I’m a huge advocate of clearing clutter & making money!!!! stumbled
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Alison Golden July 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Me too! I would love to be one of those who regularly holds garage sales but while I can identify the junk, I can’t seem to move easily from there to our driveway. I sometimes regret it but it clears out more easily if I donate it. At least I find a few coins and notes along the way!

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Cathy Presland
Twitter:
July 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

Definitely an energising activity to clear the clutter. But somehow I can’t seem to force myself to tidy my computer… What’s that about I wonder?

And Paris Hilton – well what can I say !!??

Cathy
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Alison Golden July 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Tidying my computer is on my list, Cathy! I think that’s so important too. I made some swingeing cuts to my newsletter subscriptions yesterday. Some I’ve been on since my very early days in this internet marketing/blogging space, they are like old friends but no more! I’m on an information diet.

And I read again yesterday about Paris. Sigh. She is not listening to me. 🙁

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