Are your dresser drawers filled to the brim? Do you have a “junk drawer” in the kitchen full of miscellaneous parts and pieces and tools and things? Are you paying rent for a storage space that you haven’t visited in months, or years? Is your closet stuffed with stuff? If you answered yes to any of the above, read on…
“That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. …your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!.” George Carlin
The U.S. department of energy reports that one-quarter of people with 2 car garages don’t park cars in there — they store their stuff instead. If you rent a storage facility to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry – bigger than the Hollywood film business! 1 in 11 American households rents a self-storage space, spending an average of $1000 per year in rent.
It’s true, we have become the “more is better” society, and we flaunt it with t-shirts and bumper stickers that say “He who dies with the most toys wins”. The reality is that more – is simply more, and he who dies with the most toys – dies just the same.
Why we create clutter.
So what’s this attachment to stuff all about? Why do we hold on to things long after they’re needed? Why do we allow our homes and our lives to become so cluttered with things that are no longer useful to us?
It starts with the things that have “sentimental value”, and progresses on to the things that “I might need someday”, then before you know it you catch yourself saying things like “in another couple years this is going to be back in fashion”.
What is clutter?
Clutter is: Anything that does not serve our greatest good. The feng shui definition of clutter is: “postponed decisions and the inability to move forward.” Clutter holds us back and keeps us from making progress. Clutter is stagnant energy.
When we hold on to things that no longer serve us, we send a message to the universe that says, “I don’t believe that there is enough”, or more accurately, “I don’t believe that there’s enough for me”, or “I don’t deserve more than what I already have”. Clutter is also a form of protection, protection from a perceived lack in some aspect of our life.
The truth is that we live in an abundant universe. If we allow the abundance to flow both to us and through us, we will always have what we need when we need it. This is the law of circulation. Being open to receive and refraining from taking more than we need puts us in the flow.
The Impact of clutter
Look around and ask yourself: how much of this stuff do I need on a daily basis? Honestly, how many pens do you need on your desk? When was the last time you actually wore that hat? Do you really need twenty-four pairs of shoes?
Still having trouble letting go? Try this one: If the house was on fire and you had to get out fast, what would you take with you?
If you’re starting to feel a little uncomfortable, you probably have some clutter clearing to do. Now don’t panic, I’m not suggesting that you burn down the house or give away all of your possessions and become a monk. I’m merely inviting you to take a look at how the clutter might be impacting, or more importantly, mirroring other aspects of your life.
The Law of Attraction tells us that “What we think about we bring about”. So it should come as no surprise that if your environment is cluttered, your thoughts must be cluttered too. The mental clutter is forming your physical world.
If you’re holding on to things that you haven’t used in years, chances are that you’re holding on to beliefs that aren’t serving you either. As you clear the clutter on the outside you’ll find the clutter on the inside clearing away too. It also works in reverse – let go of old resentments and before you know it, you’ll find yourself clearing out closets, drawers, and the garage.
Resentments, regrets, blame, shame, and any other beliefs or thoughts that don’t support your greatest vision for yourself are all mental clutter. How much of the dialogue that goes on in your head is uplifting and positive? If your answer is anywhere below ninety percent, then you have some mental clutter to clear. We all have the occasional “negative” thoughts, but if the majority of your thoughts have you dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, then you’re thoughts are cluttering up your experience of the present.
The Side Effects of Clearing Clutter:
Side effects may include: An increase in energy, feelings of joy, more freedom, unexplained smiles, deeper breathing, better sleep, and an inflow of abundance. Oh yeah, and weight loss. It’s true, I have seen many of my clients lose unwanted pounds as they release the clutter in their lives.
Clear the closet – Lose the weight
Weight gain is another form of clutter. It wasn’t long ago that we lived nomadic lives. Just a few hundred years ago we hunted and foraged for our food. There where bountiful times and there where lean times. It was natural to gain weight and store food for the lean months, extra fat on our body was a form of protection from cold and famine, and our survival depended on it. Now we have grocery stores and restaurants on every corner. It’s no longer necessary for us to store up for the winter, but that programming is still active in our DNA. All it takes to trigger the fat program is stress. A feeling of lack or a need for protection in any aspect of our lives is understood by the brain as stress.
Clutter creates stress – stress raises the cortisol levels in the body triggering our bodies fat retention program. When we clear the clutter our stress is reduced, and our cortisol levels drop causing our bodies to release excess fat.
It’s no wonder that weight loss centers across the country recommend that patients clean and organize their homes before beginning a weight-loss program. A clean, organized home raises the vibration and helps to create the psychological state needed to lose weight. That’s right, releasing clutter from your life will help you release excess weight from your body. And this doesn’t just apply to body weight. That’s right, skinny people have clutter to clear too, and don’t go thinking that having things neatly organized saves you from the clutter police. Organized clutter takes it’s toll on us too. Here’s why:
Our surroundings are an out-picturing of our thoughts and beliefs. The outside is a reflection of what’s going on inside. If you’re closet is full of clothes that don’t make you feel good about your self, chances are that your head is full of beliefs that don’t make you feel good either, and every time you see those clothes the negative beliefs are reinforced. It’s time to clear your closet and clear your mind. The same goes for the photos on your walls and the furniture in the room. Everything around you has an energetic impact on you. Look around, how does it feel?
Three Realms of Clearing Clutter
On the Physical level – It’s about releasing the old to make room for the new, and staying in the flow of circulation. It’s like pushing the reset button.
On the Emotional level – Stress, anger, and trauma are stored as trapped energy in the body, often blocking healing on both the emotional and physical levels. Clearing these blocks allows you to break unproductive or unwanted habits leaving you free to create what you want in your life.
On the Spiritual level – By identifying and clearing away the thoughts, habits, and patterns that no longer serve us, we free up space for a more heart centered life and in turn, a deeper connection to Spirit.
Start small – Don’t try to take on the whole house in a day. Start with one closet, or the junk drawer (we all have one of those), or just one corner of the garage. Starting small will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Be consistent – Do a little every day. You’ll have better results if you do a little each day. Your old pattern of holding on to things will slowly fade away as you reprogram your brain with the habit of releasing.
Get help from a friend or professional – Nobody else is as attached to your stuff as you are. Sometimes just having someone around to support you as you throw things out will make it easier and more fun. If you don’t have a friend that’s suited for the job, hire a professional organizer to help you get started.
Have fun – Crank up some of your favorite upbeat music, dance, laugh, and play as you fill the bags and boxes for donation. Imagine the joy that your donations will bring to someone else.
Acknowledge your accomplishments – When you’ve finished clearing a closet, or a drawer, or any other area, stop and take a moment to acknowledge the work you’ve done and give yourself a pat on the back.
Little Helpers – Can’t decide what stays and what goes? Try applying these simple rules.
The One Year Rule – “If you haven’t used it in a year, you don’t need it.” Get rid of it. Donate it put it back into circulation. If you ever need it again, something like it will be available to you. That is how the law of circulation works. We must be in the flow of giving and receiving.
How Does It Make You Feel? – If you’re keeping that pair of blue jeans that you haven’t fit into since high school because you’re determined to get back into shape so that they fit again, notice how they make you feel. If you feel motivated and inspired to workout, then keep them, but if instead you feel guilty for not being in the best shape of your life, then get rid of them. Do the photos and art on your walls bring you joy and make you feel loved?
Resist The Temptation to Replace – A common reaction when we create space is a need to replace what appears to be missing. Don’t do it. Live with the opening that is created for at least two weeks. Notice the feelings and emotions that come up around the open spaces.
One In Two Out – If something new comes into the house, two things like it must go. Yes, that means shoes too.
Any project that you haven’t worked on in the past year must go. This means anything that you planned on making, fixing, painting, or building. Either hire a professional to do it, or get rid of it.
Before sitting down to write this article, I looked around my office and noticed what I would describe as “organized clutter”. My office is also my treatment room and where I formulate my essential oil blends. There’s my alter, my desk, my shelf full of essential oils, and a shelf with various crystals, stones and feathers that I use in my healing sessions. I have a small shelf with books, and a mirror on the wall in front of my desk that I use as a dry-erase board. This is the room that I spend a good part of my day in. This is the energy that I’m soaking in right now. How do I feel? As I looked around I noticed that my thoughts where scattered, and I was having trouble focusing on the task at hand, so instead of sitting down and writing, I spent yesterday cleaning and organizing my office. I took everything off of every shelf, cleaned every nook and cranny – each and every item, and then before putting anything back, I took a moment with each item, tuned in and asked “how does this make me feel and how often do I use it?”
The result of this cleaning and reorganizing project is that I threw away one box of stuff and donated another. My space feels lighter, cleaner, and more comforting now. I feel refreshed clear-headed, and ready to begin the task at hand.