When 'Just Do It' Isn't Enough:
Coping with the Emotional Aspects of Clutter Clearing
by Stephanie Roberts
One reason so many clutter-clearing efforts fail or remain uncompleted is that we have this idea that all that it takes to get rid of clutter is a little effort and determination. While a "just do it" attitude does help you get started and persevere, clutter-clearing is not quite so simple as that. Running unprepared into the not-so-simple aspects of clutter can bring all of our good intentions to a halt.
For every piece of clutter that has piled up because we've been too busy or too distracted to deal with it, there's probably at least one piece that you have avoided dealing with for emotional reasons. The underlying problem is not procrastination, it's that dealing with clutter means dealing with our own difficult emotions:
Acknowledge to yourself that clearing out your clutter will involve some emotional risk. Start by exploring why keeping certain kinds of clutter feels comforting to you. For example:
Healing and growth come from recognizing your feelings, no matter what they are. If your enthusiasm for clutter clearing suddenly turns into feelings of anger, resentment at the task itself, or a vague sense of anxiety, that's a sign to pause and reflect on what deeper feelings are being triggered.
Many of our reasons for hanging on to clutter are, at their core, about fear: fear that we won't be equal to the challenges of the future, and fear of confronting our regrets about the past. Clutter can be comforting; it acts as a buffer between us and reality.
Here are some points to help you maintain a perspective of clarity as you work on your clutter:
If difficult feelings come up for you as you work through your clutter, acknowledge them. You may discover that you just aren't ready to confront some tasks or part with some things yet. It is self-defeating to push yourself all at once through changes that are too large for you today. Be gentle with yourself, take baby steps, and work at your own pace.
Remember that the space you create by releasing clutter will allow all kinds of gifts to flow into your life, on the physical, spiritual, and emotional levels. Letting go of excess makes room for blessings.
© 2003 Stephanie Roberts
[exerpted from "Clutter-Free Forever!", Lotus Pond Press, 2003]
Stephanie Roberts is the author of "Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home", a #1 most popular feng shui book at Amazon.com. Her new "Clutter-Free Forever!" e-book and Home Coaching Program are now available at http://www.clutterfreeforever.com.