Over the past few years I’ve realized I have a lot of stuff. In fact, too much stuff if I am ever going to actualize my goal of living in a Tiny House. I’ve done a fair amount of downsizing work, but stuff just seems to continually accumulate around me.
I’m a follower of Hay House and a few weeks ago, they sent an email about a five day, no cost workshop they invited me, and thousands of others, to attend about decluttering. It caught my eye and made me ask myself, “Why do I have so much clutter and so much stuff?”
Clutter to feel safe and connected
Upon reflection, I realized stuff was the way I created a sense of connection and belonging when I was a child. I gathered little things, stuffed animals, clothing, books, pens and pencils in my room so as to have something that was mine and that had meaning to me and that could provide a sense of comfort. This pattern of things creating that sense of safety, belonging and comfort has stayed with me my entire life. It’s a pattern I am finally ready to let go of, as I now have a sense of connection, belonging and love with myself, and with a network of amazing friends.
When I got that invitation from Hay House, I went to the webpage to sign up and I watched the welcoming video by the teacher of the workshop, Denise Linn. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to Denise’s welcoming, affirming opening video. Every cell of my body knew doing this five day workshop would help me. I took the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and blocked time in my schedule to watch the first video on day one.
Declutter and clean
I was so motivated that when I woke up on Monday morning, I had taken the day off from my job, and took Sam for a walk, I decided I was going to start working on the clutter in my bedroom. I ended up spending four hours doing a deep clean and sorting stuff in my room. I ended up with seven paper grocery bags of things to donate.
In the middle of those four hours of cleaning and sorting, I attended Denise’s Day 1 workshop session, it was online.
Denise defines clutter as things you don’t love or use. I looked around my bedroom and my office space and realized there are a lot of things in both spaces that I don’t love and I don’t use. She also talked about the energy that items have. Encouraging us to hold the item and breathe deeply and feel into the object, paying close attention to if the energy of the item causes our personal energy to go up or go down. I believe in the energy of items and I had never done this exercise with my numerous items.
As I was sorting items in my bedroom in the afternoon, I tried this technique and I noticed that quite a number of things caused my energy to go down. What a surprise that was to discover. That made it easy to put items in the “donate” bag.
How to declutter according to Denise Linn
Denise also gave guidance for how to go about decluttering. She encouraged us to first set an intention for the decluttering session. Then to set a specific amount of time to do the declutter work. Her suggestions were 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 60 minutes. Then to divide the time in half. For the first half, do the sorting, sifting work. Then for the second half of the time, clean up and organize. Critical to the success is to celebrate the accomplishment.
Denise did beautiful storytelling about the value of taking time to declutter. She told us how when she was a child and she got a cold or flu and had to stay home from school her mother would go into her bedroom and help her do some decluttering, telling her that it would help her feel better. No surprise, it did, every time!
She told us about a Scandinavian country that would send in declutterers to the homes of people in hospice and how time after time the decluttering seemed to cause the person in hospice to get better and live longer. Another example of how getting rid of things we no longer need is good for our health and for our lives.
Mindfulness helps with decluttering
Denise led multiple meditations about intention setting and helped us get centered and clear about what we needed from our space and our homes. Her meditations over the five days were incredibly helpful.
5 steps to a successful decluttering session, according to Denise
Step 1: Set the intention
I started by taking three deep breaths. I opened my arms to the heavens and I asked my spirit guides and the Universe to help me let go, release and clear things out. I said I wanted to open my heart and release what is no longer needed so that I have space in my heart and soul for what is coming.
Step 2: Decide on the time to spend decluttering and divide it by two
I had 30 minutes to work on clearing a shelf of stuff on my bookshelf next to my desk. That meant I had 15 minutes to declutter and sort and 15 minutes to clean up.
I got out a paper bag for items to donate.
Step 3: Declutter
I held each item and asked myself if I use it or if I love it. I did that with everything in the basket I was sorting. Very quickly I realized the many old, expired credit cards, little pouches to hold coins and old never used checks (ones from bank accounts long ago closed) were not things I loved or used. I got out my scissors and chopped things up and moved items into the donate bag. It went quickly and as I sorted I noticed how much freer and lighter I felt.
Step 4: Clean up
I used 15 minutes to dust off the shelf and straighten and organize. I took the donate bag out to my car and I emptied the garbage that contained all the shredded credit cards.
Step 5: Celebrate
I did a little happy dance smiling like a goddess as I shimmied around my office! I even ate a bite of healthy dark chocolate! Celebrating my accomplishments is a step I often forget to include. It makes a positive difference to remember this important detail. It makes me want to do another session.
My decluttering session was a success. It only took half an hour plus a little extra. This made me want to schedule additional short sessions to continue to declutter my office. I will add more sessions to declutter and downsize the many boxes in the basement.
I had invited my Team Looking Sharp triathlon friend Marie to attend the workshop with me and throughout the week we sent each other before and after photos and we encouraged one another as we both scheduled and held short decluttering sessions.
Marie made the decision to sign up for the Certified Clutter Coach Online Course with Denise. Now going forward if I want or need additional support as I continue decluttering my office, the basement and the garage, I can hire Marie to coach me. It’s good to have support on this journey!!
What about you? Do you collect clutter? How do you deal with it? I love hearing from you!
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