Moving You From Surviving to

Summer of Self Care – Day 18

Decluttering: One Pile at a Time

Disclaimer: This is NOT my clutter. It’s a free stock photo. But it could be…

Today’s self care for the summer prompt is brought to you by someone who sometimes worries that she is a hoarder. Yep! That’s me!

After we lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, I realized I had accumulated a lot of stuff. Seeing that pile of home debris out front of our home made me feel sad and discouraged. After living without all that stuff for awhile, I felt as though most of that stuff was essentially unnecessary as well.

And almost immediately, people started replenishing household items and my creative supplies. I appreciated that greatly. And felt like I “deserved” to pick up a few things myself. Then, gradually, I started accumulating the same number of bookcases full of books. Add the death of my mom and the acquisition of the things she had kept, I began to realize I had started to accumulate more than I have room to store.

I am confronted with the realization that I have a lot of stuff. And that said piles of stuff sometimes makes me a little less than calm.

At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to make decluttering one of my daily habits. Because it’s so important to me, I decided I needed to spend a little or a lot of time every day going through my stuff and purging what isn’t serving me any more. Or yes, what isn’t bringing me joy. I do like the philosophy of that book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I don’t take it all completely to heart, but there are parts of her process that I think are very effective.

Now you don’t have to declutter every day, but if there’s a space or a category of things you are feeling crowded by, today’s the day to take on the process of decluttering. And note that I said “process” – because it is not an event.

Decluttering takes consistent time and effort. It’s more of a self care activity than many people realize. Getting rid of clutter brings in space for things that will really serve you. However, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings when you are sad about the connection you feel to a particular item. Sometimes we hold on to things that are broken, just because they were given by or belonged to someone we love and miss. Give yourself permission to take a bit of time to let go of things that are emotionally connected.

Clutter lives in your home, your car, and your office.

How many emails show up in your inbox every day that you delete without reading? Are you subscribed to things that just clutter up your inbox?

Is your sock drawer full of “holy socks?”

Are you regularly wearing all your clothes or shoes in the closet?

For me, taking on the task of laying new flooring in about half of our home, I am hyper focused on clutter. As we empty a room, I am mindful of what I can do without so I don’t have to bring the same amount back in. Even though I recently decluttered my clothes and office supplies, I am finding that a second pass through results in the decision to trim off just a little bit more.

And it feels good to release it all! You can donate stuff to a local charity or host a yard sale – both feel great!

Decluttering is an act of self care and creates space for more self care. We feel differently when we carry a lighter load.

Starting now means you will have less stuff before the holidays. Imagine how that would change the way you decorate for and celebrate the holidays? And your clutter just might be someone else’s “Christmas in July.”

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Laurie Johnson

  • Certified PRINT® Coach & ACCESS Certified Coach/Trainer
  • Regional Director and Faculty Expert for BetterYouniversity
  • Member - International Coaching Federation & MS Coaches Association

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