Renewal Through Decluttering

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Let’s talk good old-fashioned spring cleaning! Back in the day, our grandparents always did a big deep cleaning when spring came around. They didn’t just tidy up – they went ceiling to floor, scrubbing inside the cupboards and out. They would even go so far as to hang the rugs out on the clothesline and beat them with the broom! 

A couple months ago, I embarked on a declutter challenge. I tend to be pretty good at keeping spaces decluttered and possessions at a minimum, but the piles still seem to accumulate. My closet starts to bulge with extra clothes. My laptop slows down from extra files. My mind gets bogged down. Hence, declutter challenges to get rid of those piles and those things that don’t work for me anymore!

In the past I’ve just taken a deep dive and decluttered for a few hours or a few days, gone through closets and drawers and files and cupboards and gotten rid of things I know I don’t want. That’s pretty much my MO – get it done and move on. Sometimes I’ve even done a number of items for a number of days but the longest I ever did before was 14 days.

While there is no right or wrong way to declutter, I found that this 21 day challenge really went deep! Here’s the deal – when we declutter our physical space, we also start decluttering our mind & emotions or unwanted stuff we have picked up. You know those old thought patterns and beliefs that maybe once worked or even never did work but that we’ve held onto? Yeah that!

The reason I chose 21 days was based on the idea that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. My idea here was that once I started decluttering that it would help me get in the habit of decluttering as a lifestyle. And YES, it did reinforce that and a whole lot more! Throughout the process, I learned several valuable lessons:

Digging Deeper: At first, it’s like a big lightbulb moment. You have this idea that you are going to declutter and clear out all the things and be better for it. But, let me tell you, it is a lot more than just that! The 21 days took me deeper with my thought patterns and beliefs than I could have imagined! 

Love It or Leave It: If it doesn’t spark joy or serve a purpose, then it has to go. A UCLA study found that “clutter has a profound effect on our mood and self-esteem,” noting links between a high density of household items and high levels of stress hormones in the body. Once you declutter the first layer, you can see what’s underneath.

Use It or Lose it: If something hasn’t been used or worn in a year or more, it’s time to bid it farewell. Once you have put your items in the giveaway pile, get them out of your house as soon as possible. Why? Because if it tugs at your heart strings, you might be tempted to pull it back out.

Embrace Discomfort: You may have to sit with some tough emotions that you didn’t even know you had. Maybe it’s easier to stay with what’s familiar and comfortable even if it no longer serves you. Parting with sentimental items or confronting tough emotions is part of the process. Growth often happens outside our comfort zone.

Release and Replace: Clear out the old to make room for the new, whether it’s physical clutter or mental baggage. Doing so helps you make space for positive energy and new opportunities. You’ll have better concentration. You’ll sleep more soundly. Your mood will improve. All of those are already big wins for your health! But you will also be able to let go of the past and focus on your goals.

Persistence Pays Off: Don’t give in to the temptation to quit when the going gets tough. Decluttering is a journey of mental and emotional release. A little random clutter is like all of that fluff that floats around in your head taking up space. Just like clearing out material things, we also shed outdated beliefs, habits, and behaviors that weigh us down.

I’ve said all along in this clutter challenge, it’s not just the clutter in your space so much as it is the mental and emotional freedom that you will find through doing this exercise. Ultimately, the goal of decluttering extends beyond a tidy home.

For those embarking on their own decluttering journey, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Whether you tackle one area at a time or dive headfirst into a full cleanse, the key is to start. However you decide to declutter, you will feel lighter and ready to usher in some new. After all – it is SPRING!

Do you have any plans for spring cleaning? Let us know in our Facebook community!

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