Clearing Clutter: How to Get Rid of Stuff

bigstock-Brown-girl-holding-several-box-38835454Fitting for the start of a brand new year, the challenge for members of our Soul Sanctuary this month was to get rid of stuff.

Most of us are owned by the things we think we own.

If every surface in your house is covered, the sacred buried under the mundane, and you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer weight of possessions in your house, it may be time to ask yourself:

Does your living space support your life and work, or does it drain your precious energy?

Your external environment reflects your internal self. If your surroundings are disorganized, it's impossible to experience clarity and focus on the inside. If you think you can just close the door behind you and pretend chaos in your environment doesn't exist, think again. Those masses of unanswered emails, piles of paperwork on your desk, unpaid bills, unopened mail, useless gifts gathering dust, tupperware containers without lids and mismatched socks, all have a suffocating effect on your soul.

By cleaning up the items that crowd your life, you eliminate their negative influence, free up energy and creativity, and unlock your true potential. The Buddha laid it out pretty simply: Attachment causes suffering. The more attached you are to useless 'treasures,' the less you're able to remember which bits really matter.

Perhaps even more important than the effects of the junk in your garage and closets, is the clutter that has made a nest in your mind and heart. What are the outworn beliefs you hold dear that trip you up from moving forward? Do you believe you're not worthy? Do you believe you can't change? Do you believe that health and wealth and happiness are difficult to create?

Do you think it may be time to just let those beliefs go?

You created your beliefs so you can uncreate them. Delete them. Undo them. Throw them out together with those old CD's and odd sculptures and things to put other things in.

The more you commit to clearing clutter in your external and internal life, the more your relationship will change to your outer and inner 'stuff'. You begin to realize how very little you actually need to bring into your space; how much is actually as Stephen Kings says, needful. You don't need thoughts and feelings that don't serve you, just as you don't need all those old birthday gifts that you never really wanted, the nice clothing that hadn't fit in years, and the souvenirs from holidays long gone. And when you truly GET this, you're gifted with a new way to view the training of culture and decades of television commercials that tell you that you'll only be 'good enough' if you have more of what you don't need.

Here are a few thoughts to lead the way:

1. In the words of Brooks Palmer, your stuff is not sacred, but YOU are. Don't make your space a temple to useless objects.

2. Reflect on the mindset that enabled you to create so much clutter in the first instance. Was it avoidance, procrastination, good ole' laziness? How can you change your mindset to get excited about clearing clutter in the first instance, and maintaining habits that will prevent you from getting in the same predicament in the future.

3. Realize that holding on to objects has an addictive nature. Learn to recognize the addictive voice. It whispers things like, 'what if you need it some day?' or 'I could still wear/use this…,' or '…but I paid good money for that!' Don't argue with the addictive voice. Just notice it, and then take action anyway. Owning seven salt and pepper sets are really not that crucial to your happiness.

4. In making a decision on whether an object stays or goes, ask yourself only two questions:

Do I love it?

Do I need it?

If the answer is yes to either, keep it. If not, bin it or gift it to charity. In due time you may find a trip to the charity shops as cleansing as a yoga retreat.

5. Remind yourself that clearing clutter makes room for clarity and sweeps away confusion. It makes room for new and exciting things to enter into your life. You don't have to do it all at once. Perhaps it will serve you better to commit to getting rid of two old things every time you bring something new into the house. You'll be amazed at the sense of 'lightness' it opens up in your world!

When you commit yourself to clearing away clutter, you'll notice that you don't end up missing much. In fact, it's so much easier to breathe when you leave your hands open than to make a fist to hold something tight.

What's still standing between you and freedom?

I would love to hear  your thoughts and tips on clearing clutter in the comment box below.

Let’s create miracles together!

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  1. I love this: “…your stuff is not sacred, but YOU are.” Very good advice.

  2. Gladys Diaz says:

    Wonderful article, Mia! You gave me so many things to think about (and ideas about what I can get rid of)!

  3. Pamela Wills says:

    Those are the basic questions, aren’t they?
    “Do I love it? Do I need it?”
    This double sentence needs to be my mantra from now on. Not just with stuff, like you so wisely point out here, Mia but also with thoughts, emotions, habits…This is oohhh so good.
    Thank you for writing and sharing this post!!!

  4. I’ll come back to this article often. It’s such a great reminder that our energy is DRAINED from the clutter. So instead of telling myself I don’t have the time to clear the clutter, I see that I really don’t have the time NOT to clear it. Clear the SPACE – I love the sound of that πŸ™‚

    • Great reminder for me too that we don’t have the time NOT to clear our clutter. I’ll keep that thought close to heart! πŸ™‚

  5. Mia,

    For a long while, I declared a WAR on Clutter. I even used to post about it, and armed myself with tools and affirmations and all sorts of battle energy to rid myself of this evil in my life. One day, while traveling out of town, Mt basement flooded, and a good portion of my clutter was swept away in one God- blessed wave. When HE gets rid of clutter, HE doesn’t mess around, and HE doesn’t care if you are attached to it or not! Everything goes!

    I mourned for exactly a few days when I realized how wonderfully peaceful life was without all that “Junk”. Now I hardly even remember what was down there.

    I decided to end the war. Now it is more of a daily practice, an awareness of when and where the water of clutter is lapping at the shores again. Sometimes the waves are big, sometimes small. But the awareness that if I don’t manage clutter, that I could be in for another metaphorical flood is always in the back of my mind. Take care of it while it is small.
    Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

    • I love your attitude, Wendi. You’re so right… it’s a daily practice, and even more so, a spiritual practice that clears our energy and helps us detach from ‘stuff’. Thank you for sharing your story. xo

  6. Great post, Mia. I personally do not like clutter, however over the years, you just DO collect stuff. When I go through my closet I ask, “does this honor where I’m going?” And unless it’s recently purchased (and even sometimes then), the answer is usually “no” as we are constantly evolving.

    • That’s a great question to ask yourself, Kerry, and a wonderful way to detach from the past. Amazing how often we try to hold on to things that no longer serve us. Thanks so much for visiting. πŸ™‚

    • Kerry, your "does this honor where I'm going?" mentality is amazing! As a teenager who is going off to college soon, trying to battle my childhood clutter is a recurring struggle. I've always had problems with keeping things that reminded me of a special memory, but since I have a pretty great memory I ended up keeping a lot of junk. Using your mentality will be a great way to only keep the most important things around that can help me in the future, not keep me stuck in the past. Thank you!

  7. I STILL have to clean out my garage and storage shed! I’ll have to tackle that soon.

    As I’ve spent the last few months clearing space in my home, organizing, and cleaning, I’ve reached a different level of longing. Now I yearn for up-leveling my furniture. I’m really trying to practice being happy with what I have, grateful for the beauty that is around me. However, I am yearning for a beautiful, yet comfortable couch that does not have my cat’s scratch marks all over the front legs. I’m yearning for a nice set of shelves instead of the hand-me down tv stand. I’m desiring hardwood floors instead of emerald green carpets. *sigh*
    Maybe I’ll focus back on the garage and storage shed, as I have more clearing to do.

    • This made me smile, Lisa. I too have a deep yearning to uplevel my furniture. Let’s hold that intention together! πŸ™‚

  8. Deanna Fenton says:

    Mia, I loved “If your surroundings are disorganized, it’s impossible to experience clarity and focus on the inside”. It is so true! I have recently declared war on clutter in my home office and, little by little, I feel lighter and clearer. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

  9. I’ve held on to things I may need someday … but then I forget about them and end up re-buying something I already had, only to find the old one later and kick myself for not remembering I had it.

    Now I just let it go, and if I need it in the future, I’ll buy it then.

  10. This is such a powerful message, particularly for businesses.  Sometimes, the clutter is physical, either too many chefs and not enough cooks, as they say.  Other times, it is a matter of reducing the clutter of projects or services offered in a business in order to be effective.

    Thank you for sharing!


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