Ok. Let’s talk about one of the greatest keys to healing, continued health and peace of mind:
Decluttering & Organizing Your Home!
I know, some of you are groaning already, “but Ruth, I’ve decluttered and tidied before and somehow my house always goes back to being in the same state as it was then.” Ok, I hear you! That’s how it was for me too, for years! But here’s the truth: Mess = Stress! It’s so stressful to be unable to find something you’re looking for. It is a horrible feeling of helplessness to look at that cupboard or room that has become the “catch all” space where everything get’s thrown into and has grown so monstrously out of control that you’re starting to wonder if your cat has actually just gone on a 7 day wander in the neighborhood…. It’s also frustrating to feel as though you own a ton of clothes but have “nothing to wear.” (amiright?)
According to Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D., clutter causes unnecessary stimuli for our brains, causing our brains to be not only distracted from what we are meaning to focus on, but also to work overtime trying to process this unnecessary stimuli; making it nearly impossible to truly relax or even to access creativity & productivity as we need “open space” in the brain to think clearly, problem solve & create. Not to mention all the feelings of guilt, embarrassment and dread that come with a cluttered house.
I’ve lived in the same home for nearly eight years and it’s amazing how much “stuff” you can acquire over time. Not just that but a year ago I realized I had about 10 boxes of stuff that had come to the house when we first moved in but we had never even opened them. Every few months I’d get a sudden rush of inspiration (or was it frustration…) that would lift my spirits and flex my super cleaning muscles causing me to tear around the house and tidy up quicker than the Tasmanian devil. These “episodes” we’ll call them, were often accompanied by a less than positive attitude, and more of an “I hate my house, I hate how messy it is, I don’t really want to live here, I don’t want to come home, I’m so overwhelmed etc… etc…” kind of mood. (Yup, suuuuuper fun to be around!) Each neurotic episode was neatly followed by several days of maniacal house hunting, because obviously it’s this disgusting house that I live in that makes things messy! However, I am pleased to say that one day, I believe it was a Sunday (bless) I had an epiphany. I realized….. it wasn’t my house’s fault it was such a mess, and that both mine and my husband’s habits may be a contributing factor! I know. You’re probably just as shocked as me at this news. This was a huge breakthrough that Freud himself would’ve been proud of!
Let me share with you how in a span of a month I tidied and organized my entire house and even fell in LOVE with my home (I seriously never want to leave it now.) All the while on a very small budget with a bit of DIY and a lot of simple decluttering and intentionally keeping the things I love.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the wonderful Marie Kondo, author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” and inventor of the “Kon Mari Method”. If you haven’t, You’re Welcome. I just changed your life. Marie Kondo has helped me to truly believe in the magic of tidying up. It’s a real thing, and you too can discover said magic! You can listen to her book for free on youtube here (just pop it on in the background while you do other things, it’s an easy listen.)
For those of you who don’t have time to listen to or read the book, I’m going to break down the 6 steps of tidying your life, I mean house, into a few posts, starting today with the first step.
Step One: Start by Asking Yourself: What is Your Dream Life?
I know this sounds like a big question. Marie says to go into as much detail as you can, to truly visualize it, because then you can work towards seeing it come to fruition. Maybe ask yourself “In a perfect world, what would my ideal days look like?” After asking myself that question I also began to list things that I love doing, things that bring me joy and things that I didn’t love doing/didn’t bring me joy. From there I just began to add “I want to…” to the beginning of that list of items that did bring joy and then I strung it all together.
Here’s some of what I wrote:
I want my bedroom to be a clean, peaceful and beautiful hang-out haven; inspiring personal growth, sweet sleep & creative dreams. I’d like my life to flow and to live casually and not busily. I’d like each morning to include connection with my husband over breakfast & epically good coffee. I want to be inspired by my wardrobe and to feel feminine and beautiful in my clothes. To be excited to get ready for the day and to partake in satisfyingly creative and ground breaking work. I want to read good books, to take luxurious baths each night and to watch good movies. To cook amazing food and enjoy it with close friends and lots of laughter. I want my house to be a place where I love everything in it, for my living room to be warm, cozy and welcoming. I want to enjoy my body as it is and to love it to full health and life, living an active and fun lifestyle.
This became the vision and drive for my house and lifestyle. I began to look at my life and the lists of things I loved and didn’t love and began to make some decisions (empowered by the practice of decision making that comes with decluttering.) and some actual changes (albeit slowly). I actively added things/activities/thoughts/people that fit my “dream lifestyle”. I began to remove from my life things/activities/thoughts/people that didn’t. I’ve now been working on this for about 5 months and I now have a routine down that makes me happy, have found an outlet for creativity and love living in my home. Some of the changes were quicker than others. For example: decluttering happened over the span of a couple weeks but it has taken a couple months for more positive thoughts to be my first thoughts in a stressful situation. However, I encourage you to stick with this, to discover what your dream life is and to begin making steps towards change, starting with my next post.
What about you? What do you want in your dream life? I’d love to hear a few of your ideas in the comments below.
Next week I will begin to share the practical steps of how to declutter your house from top to bottom as inspired by Marie Kondo with Step 2: Your Closet: Clothes, Footwear & Outerwear
I promise that by the time you’re done all 6 steps you will:
- Learn to Flex Your “Yes” & “No” Muscles
- Get in touch with the true you and what you actually like and do not like
- Become an effective decision maker, in touch with your preferences
- Have a spot for each item you own in your house so that it can go back to it’s “home” easily after use
- Find your house is tidy on the regular and doesn’t need a giant clean up all the time. (side note: you will still have to dust, vacuum, run the dishwasher and clean the bathrooms. I know. Sad Face Emoji)
- You will fall in love with your house once again and love spending time in it
Don’t forget to leave a comment below letting me know what makes up your dream life!
Lots of love to you all,
Disclaimer: Although these posts are heavily based on the Kon-Mari Method, I am not trained in her methods. I simply read the book and will share with you how I personally applied some of her ideas to my house decluttering process.
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