Why Clearing Clutter Is So Hard (And How To Do It Anyway)
Clutter is not a term used in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. Clutter is: junk, paperwork, insane amounts of furniture, stuffed drawers, intensely disorganized storage, broken stuff, bad-memories-attached stuff, overflowing shelves and exploding closets.
Clutter is a modern condition, and it deserves its place in feng shui today because where clutter exists, energy cannot flow. Clutter is an obstacle. Cluttered rooms leave you no room to grow and no space for the new to come into your life. Clutter blocks circulation. It makes you feel like you have no options. It kills motivation.
Convincing people to clear clutter is perhaps the most challenging part of what I do (and have done for more than a decade) with clients. There are a thousand excuses I hear, along with reasons to procrastinate and fingers to point when I see a space overrun with stuff.
How do I motivate someone in a huge mess to start clutter clearing?
Here are some big reasons you may have a hard time clearing clutter, along with some of the amazing gifts waiting for you once you clear things away!
I had my grammar school desk dumped when I was in first grade. It was totally humiliating to see all the old quizzes and Jolly Ranchers and all my stickers that I stuffed in there for a month dumped on the floor by teacher for everyone to see. It was the unhealthiest way to learn a lesson, but I never had a stuffed desk again, and I would not have done it on my own because I was already ashamed of my mess.
Shame keeps lots of us from digging in and organizing and getting rid of everything we’ve accumulated that is taking over our lives. You may need to have a moment of “How did I let this happen?”… but, tackle the mess anyway.
This is the mega-reason we can’t confront huge messes. “Where do I begin?” is what I hear over and over again. Overwhelming clutter is a sign of other overwhelm in life. When you clear overwhelming mess in physical space you may find other situations will cease to be overwhelming as well.
You just need to start. 10 minutes a day if you can. 20 if you can bear it. Sort through things, recycle and donate things … but be consistent.
3. Hiding from life
Clutter creates lots of excuses. You can’t have people over, you can’t find things to wear, you can’t seem to lose weight though you try, you can’t figure out your finances … the list of reasons that big clutter brings to help us hide is impressive.
Most of my clients drop extra weight, find more time to socialize more and yes, they make more money … after clearing lots of clutter.
4. Holding on to an unresolved past
Keep your family heirlooms, but think twice about bad memory items that you can’t seem to let go. One client couldn’t bear to get rid of her divorce papers — in her bedroom — but when she finally did she told me she was forced to confront her unresolved feelings about the divorce and it set her free. She also found her new husband shortly after.
5. Squashed self-esteem
If you have grown accustomed to being squashed and minimized by people around you, this is often reflected as a cluttered life. With every step you take to clear space, you reclaim the giant space you deserve, a space that you gave away to others who were not kind. Start cleaning things up!
This is the monumental reason that keeps many from clearing their homes and even their schedules — fear that if you get rid of things you will never get an opportunity to have them again. “But what if I need that one day?” is the battle cry of scarcity.
The more you trust in a benevolent universe to take care of you, and the more you trust yourself to create a life that supports you, the more you will be able to let go of the things weighing you down. Start even before you feel that way, and with every single thing you let go of, you will gain more confidence that more will come.
In short: Clear clutter and your life will change.