There is a lot of hype in the media about minimalism and decluttering. But what exactly is clutter? And do you have to embrace a minimalist life style to be free of it?
I define clutter as being "anything that gets in the way of your happiness". This definition allows you to look at all the areas of your life where you want to feel more freedom, flow and happiness and see how your possessions are impacting on them. By asking yourself the two following questions you can easily decide whether or not to keep something. 1. Does it add value to my life or does it drain my time, energy and resources? 2. Does it serve a purpose or help motivate me to reach my goals or does it keep me stuck?
Of course there is the obvious physical clutter: the clothes you no longer fit, the piles of paper stacking up and the kids toys overtaking every space. But clutter often is more subtle than that. It's the stuff that slows you down. The chaos that means you waste hours every week searching for keys. The stuff that you keep out of guilt. The broken stuff that you never mend. The things that trigger negative emotions. The clothes that remind you of a miserable experience. The stuff that is a health hazard. The stuff costing you money but not giving you any value or return on investment.
Clutter is the stuff that makes you dread walking through your front door and shudder at the thought of anyone else doing so.
The things we choose to own have more influence on our we feel than we realise. If we're not conscious of the affect they have on us they distract us from what is important. They help us to procrastinate and give us excuses. Excuses we give other people but mostly to ourselves. That's not to say our possessions can't provide great enjoyment and fulfill a purpose. It's simply that keeping too much stuff is both form of procrastination and a defense mechanism. We allow our clutter to act as a buffer between us and the real issues in our lives. Clutter gives us convenient excuses to avoid people, circumstances and most of all your own thoughts.
For some stark minimalism feels like bliss and to others a nightmare. I also know people whose houses are filled with decorations, art and collections of bits and bobs. Everyone is different and everyone thrives in different environments, with a different level of 'stuff'.
You don't have to become minimalist to enjoy a clutter free environment you just need to find the level of stuff that allows you to feel good and to function at your best.
An organised home and clutter free home, isn't a perfectly immaculate home. It's not even necessarily all that tidy. It's a home that helps you to be the best version of yourself. It gives you the time and head space to truly enjoy your life and be more productive. Less stuff, less stress, less overwhelm. More joy, freedom, time, clarity and creativity. Actually just more of ALL the good stuff!
So do we create all this clutter on purpose. For the most part no, we simply aren't aware of just how much our possessions keep us stuck. It's often said that the state of your house (or car for that matter) is a reflection of your state of mind. I like to think that the opposite can be true: the state of your mind is a reflection of your environment. The best thing about this is you can intentionally choose to change how you feel by changing the spaces you spend time in. It doesn't have to be expensive either. It can be as simple as getting rid of a clock you couldn't stand and replacing it with a picture of somewhere or something that inspires you.
By decluttering, consciously creating spaces and intentionally displaying items that are in alignment with your true self, values and goals you will experience life on a whole new level.
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