Clutter and The Lightness of Being

Happy Spring! With the arrival of Spring today, it seemed a good time to bring up to the front an old post from five years ago—Springtime, 2012. Time to spring clean, declutter, release the energy of things we don’t need, and experience a lightness of being! I realize some of this may be similar to the little book on decluttering that has taken the world by storm (I haven’t read it). However, I wrote this post years before that book came out 🙂 and I’ve followed the guidelines below my whole life. I hope they are useful.

[Reposted from June 7, 2012 ] Clutter and The Lightness of Being

I admittedly know next to nothing about feng shui. I know that it has something to do with rearranging your furniture to release blocked energy flows in your house (I think). What I didn’t know until the other day is that apparently it also has to do with the elimination of clutter. Now this is something I know about.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been a bit of a neat-nik. I put things away and kept my room clean (ask my sister with whom I had to share a room). My father had an axiom from the Navy “everything has a place and everything in its place” that I lived by and still do to this day. But as an adult, I’m a busy (and sometimes lazy) person and, like everyone, I let things build up.

I also live with three lovely beautiful people, one big and two smaller, who are not particularly neat. No matter how many times I say my father’s axiom to them, it doesn’t seem to stick. I want so badly for them to embrace clearing the clutter so they can learn what I have learned—that clutter weighs a person down. When I have cleared off the counters of junk mail, or put away all the stuff lying about the living room, I feel a lightness that actually has a physical expression, like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I can think more clearly.

Clutter can have other health impacts as well. It can add to anxiety and a chaotic feeling, create spaces for dust or mold to build up, add to emotional issues by hanging onto the past, even add to physical weight.

I have been working on Project Declutter Our House for over a year. As I said, I’m a busy person so I’ve been tackling one area at a time when I have the time. I recently cleared out my bedroom closet and my kids’ bedroom closets. That was a big load for Goodwill! But man, do I love opening my closet and dresser drawers now and seeing space! I love looking a the top of my dresser where papers and other odds and ends were piled and seeing space. It is truly a lovely lightness of being. If that is what feng shui is about, then I’m up for more of it!

Here are my 3 tips for decluttering your home:

1. Start with one room at a time. By chunking it down into smaller projects, they are achievable as one or two day projects and not so overwhelming.

2. As you go, make three piles: donate, throw out, keep. Keep only things that are precious, beautiful, fit you, and that you really, really love. If it’s broken, toss it. If it’s unbroken but you don’t love it, donate it–let someone else love it as you never did. If you haven’t used it or worn it in 2 years, donate it. If you’re wanting to lose weight to wear that garment again, by all means lose the weight but buy yourself new clothes (that are in style) as a reward when you achieve your goal.

3. Don’t get too sentimental. Do you really need to keep every t-shirt from every event you’ve walked/biked/run in? Do you really need every single drawing your child made in preschool? Remember, keep only what is beautiful, precious and brings you joy.

Enjoy your clutter free home and let me know in the comments below if you feel lighter!

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