No More Guilt

The weather has turned colder here,  which means I am spending more time indoors today instead of out in the garden preparing for our summer bounty. Normally, when the weather reverts back to the cold I take that time to productively clean or declutter my home.  This year I”m fortunate that I have very little to do.  Instead I curled up with a book and a bowl of homemade soup.  Would you like to be able to take a day off and know you have nothing nagging at the back of your mind waiting for you to get to? Today I will give you some tips to declutter your home and simplify your life so you too will have a home you can be comfortable in knowing you can relax any time you want.

What is clutter?

Clutter is defined as a confusing or disorderly state or collection and is a possible symptom of hoarding.  I also came across a quote by Bruce Lee: Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own. While he wasn’t speaking about clutter, you can use this, as I did, to determine what you want to keep as you go through the process.

As our living arrangements change so to does our needs.  In my situation, my children grew up and moved out on their own. I was left with things that I no longer needed.

Where we are today

I used to guilt myself into cleaning when I would rather be doing something else.  My mother was a hoarder who couldn’t stop buying at auctions because it was fun for her.  When she passed away the home was filled with boxes stacked to the ceiling in some rooms, counters were cluttered with dishes she no longer had room to put away. Every possible storage space was filled to overflowing and rooms had become smaller as she pushed furniture into the middle of the room to store her surpluses along the walls.

I insisted I would never live like this, and haven’t.  But even refusing to purchase things I didn’t need, my home became cluttered and not tranquil. We’ve all been there, don’t beat yourself up about it. Start where you are and know what you want your home to feel like. That will be your starting point.

Tackling the clutter

First I want to caution you not to try to take on your whole home in one frenzy of a weekend.  Also don’t take vacation time from work to spend every day working in your home.  You work too much already, you  need your vacation time for you, family, and the passions you put off on a regular basis.

Start small.  I would tell myself I would set 15 minutes aside to tackle a closet, or I would only clean out one cupboard today.  The key is to keep that one spot clean and neat while you move through your home.  I recently came across an article discussing this very same approach of setting aside a few minutes a day. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed with the task ahead of you

There are many ways to do approach your clutter.  Are your counter tops cluttered check out the guide to keeping your counters clutter free?  By attacking the counter tops, you will have more room for meal prep and feel a sense of calmness when in your kitchen.

By setting a goal for each day you will soon find the calming home you have desired for so long.  Seneca said: It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.  Looking at a whole house full of clutter can be overwhelming.  When we feel overwhelmed we may instead try not to see what annoys us.  By remembering that any job can be broken down into simpler tasks and accomplished in smaller amounts of time we can accomplish anything.

Digital clutter

I had also decided to transfer any thing possible to my computer. In eliminating books I had saved for a handful of paragraphs I wanted to reference, I added these to my digital files.  Today I finally tackled the clutter that has become my computer.  So many things I thought I wanted to hold onto I find I no longer need.  Digital clutter will slow down you computer, and can be just as hard to find things as in an overfilled drawer or closet.  Don’t make the mistake myself and others have done by keeping everything on your computer. Periodically check your files and delete what you don’t need.

You may also enjoy these articles I wrote on the process I went though to lighten my life and eliminate the things I didn’t love to find my happiness

Embracing the Give-Away Ceremony

What is enough, the answer is in your past

How to de-clutter gifts and family heirlooms



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