“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
The state of your home is a direct reflection of the state of your mind. Figuring out what to throw out and what to keep in your home also applies to your mind. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter in your home will help you figure out what doesn’t matter in your life. Clutter can make you anxious, but you can learn from it.
Think about why you declutter or clean before you approach a project you need to start. If the house was clutter-free and organized, would you procrastinate less when trying to get things done? With more time on your hands, what would you be focusing your energies on?
The anxiety is short-lived
Sometimes decluttering feels uncomfortable, but it is totally worth the short-lived separation anxiety you might feel from throwing away things you don’t need. Purging gives you peace because you gain space and you just have less stuff to deal with . In addition you’ll find that many items you get rid of aren’t really your style. Shirts bought on sale – dresses past their prime – baggy jeans – tight sweaters – clingy shirts – clunky pocketbooks, etc., will all look better on someone else.
Paring down to the shoes, sandals, and sneakers that you love helps you figure out what your style actually is. Then, shopping for a new pair becomes easier.
Your clothes will see the light of day
The feeling of giving away 10 bags of lifeless clothes brings you relief – not anxiety – because your mind becomes lighter and your closet becomes a peaceful place. It will see the light of day with breathing room between your clothes. Getting dressed will give you a little thrill instead of feeling like a chore. You also feel hopeful and uplifted to work on the next category of your decluttering project.
Mess = stress
Even a little clutter can cloud your thoughts and steal the opportunity to focus on all the good things you have in life. A lot of what you have is not what you need to make you happy. Freeing up your space allows you to free your mind to help you stay in the present. And, you can’t be anxious when you are thinking in the present because you are not focused on the past or the future.
Decision making gets easier
Once you’ve made hundreds of decisions on whether or not to keep your items, what to make for dinner, where to go on vacation, which book to read, and when to say no – become easier decisions because you feel more confident and better about yourself.
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” – Barbara Hemphill
Any amount of clutter is around because of unmade decisions. It can cause you to be a bit stuck in life because clutter keeps you busy. You’re not able to figure out other opportunities that are waiting for you. Cleaning and organizing inevitably happen each day and on weekends leaving little time for anything else. And the big cleaning happens a few times a year – but the boxes and piles don’t go away, they’re just neatly arranged again for the next time. The cycle of cleaning – decluttering – organizing repeats itself if you do not discard your items first. The anxiety and stress clutter causes can also return in cycles.
A beautiful linen closet is one with not much there, but the few sheets and towels you love. Take out the dingy towels and use them to clean the car. Two clean, fresh sheet sets per bed might be all you need. I was saving 10 year old sheets just in case (I never figured out what “just in case ” was.)
Your home is your sanctuary
Clutter is like having a to-do list. They are little tasks waiting to be dealt with. This piles onto your other lists of things to do. Give yourself space and make room because without the to-do list – come the possibilities. Your organized, simplified home is your sanctuary, not another place where problems need to be solved.
You discover what you really want
Minimalism is a lifestyle based on the idea that less is more. It certainly doesn’t mean we need to live with the bare minimum. It is a way for us to figure out what our needs and wants really are. You can’t help but simplify your life when you are surrounding yourself with things that have purpose and make you happy.
Freeing yourself from the vicious cycle of buying and storing things gives you time and space to figure out what things soothe your mind and give you joy.
What causes stress and anxiety is putting your effort and energy into things you don’t necessarily believe in. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter in your home will help you figure out what doesn’t matter in your life. And out the door with your stuff – go the feelings of guilt and frustration because you will soon forget about all of it.
“Get rid of clutter and you may just find that it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for” – Katrina Mayer
I overcame generalized anxiety disorder in 1999 and found the peace of mind that I had lost due to worry and fear.
Then two years ago I read The Life Changing Magic Of tidying Up. My life changed so much after thoroughly decluttering my house. My mindless purchases ended. Home is a now a place where I feel content. I am more grateful for the things I have, my life is simpler, and I figured out that my passion is helping you to do the same.
I often wonder if my anxiety would have escalated if I had discovered Marie Kondo’s method first. Traveling through Europe with all of my possessions in my back pack reminds me of how free I felt after college. I washed my clothes (and myself) from a pedestal sink and never worried about not having money. But the older I got – the more things I accumulated. The idea of not having “items” to worry about ( and pay for) keeps coming back to me. So, I’m working my way back to that same free feeling by letting go of mountains of stuff that I don’t need.
Your home is a reflection of how you feel. Give yourself the best chance at living a peaceful, purposeful life. It’s going to take some time to declutter and organize but you will learn a lot about yourself and you’ll get that time back for years to come.
What is your idea of minimalism?