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What to Do with All the Stuff?

woman clearing away old blankets after a one on one coaching session


All the mental and physical stuff that invades and fills up our drawers, closets, inboxes, desks and all the stuff in our heads.  Clutter is spiritually heavy.  It is the result of a postponed decision.  “I don’t know what to do with that,” so I will keep it, file it or store it.

With the new TV show from Marie Kondo – the author of the bestseller, “The Magic of Tidying Up”, many of us have been on this band wagon for a while.  “Does it spark joy?”  That is the question that we have been told to ask our stuff, in order to decide if we should keep it or not.

My husband and I are currently downsizing.  We have moved to a townhouse that is a little over half the size of our other home.  While this is a decision we made with enthusiasm, the issue of “stuff” has been the hardest to deal with.  I pride myself on my ability to edit – get rid of things that no longer serve me. — and yet, letting go of excess dishes and towels and clothes and knick-knacks has been harder than I imagined.  My husband is very attached to his stuff.  Letting go hurts him – he agonizes over these decisions.  I have watched him hold one item in his hand for 30 minutes, pondering the uses of it or what he might do with it if he saves it, or who might use it if he lets it go.

I know that for many people this is hard.  If you are someone that has a hard time dealing with letting go – I understand.  I also understand that there is a lightness that comes from being able to open that kitchen drawer that holds all the stuff (menus, extra pens, chargers, lighters, etc) that don’t go anywhere else.  Or, to be able to move your hangers around in your closet with ease.  There is lightness and freedom after you make those choices to give your life space.  It is worth the work!

I don’t want to ignore the significance of mental clutter.  That tape we have running in our heads of things we need to do, things we can’t forget, things – or more stuff.

In my speaking about productivity and “Getting It All Done with Grace and Ease”, I ask the participants to rate their level of stress, anxiety and lack of sleep.   Lack of sleep always wins!  We have trouble sleeping because of the mental clutter.  If this is you, there is hope.

February is a good time to tackle some of the clutter in your life.  Think about where to start.  Pick something manageable in a few hours.  Is it that kitchen drawer, a coat closet, or your desk at work?  Set aside a few hours to do this.  Get your supplies ready – garbage bags, boxes, containers, etc.  Set an alarm and start.  Don’t overthink it.  You probably don’t need it if you haven’t used it, worn it or looked for it in over a year.  If you haven’t used that crock pot – let it go.   After you finish, celebrate that space that you have opened up in your life.  Pledge not to fill it back up with new stuff.

I send a lot to goodwill. It makes me feel that I am not throwing away something but moving it along for someone else to use.  It helps on taxes too.

Freeing clutter frees your spaces – your house, your office and your mind leaving you room to breathe, relax and enjoy.

Make a promise to yourself to start this month.  It will make a difference in how you feel and how you enjoy that space after it is de-cluttered.

I have and will be continuing to ask myself, “Does this bring me joy?’ Check in with your stuff this month and see what brings you joy, and what it’s time to let go of to free up your time, productivity, and sleep better at night.

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