The process of de-cluttering is often spurred by a significant life transition. A transition holds the place of just before and just after, the line to cross, the threshold to step over. These are the markers of life. I find myself referring to events in relationship to these transitions, “oh, that was before I moved,” or, “that happened after my daughter left for school.” Regardless of the initial reaction to a job change, divorce, or empty nest, I’ve may come to appreciate the experience for what I eventually learn about myself and what the “after” has to offer. I feel energized by the newness and openness of my reality. I am driven to re-set my personal surroundings to mirror the inner shift in perspective.
Often, while in the process of clearing what now feels like clutter, I expend a lot of emotional energy. After about an hour I feel stuck, sad, tired and overwhelmed. I try to remember to be kind to myself, it takes some effort to consider each item and choose which to keep and which to donate. These uncomfortable feelings are typical but they don’t have to stop progress. I pay attention and do the following when I feel stuck:
- I step outside and focus attention on what is around me. How my feet feel on the ground, what I hear, what I see. I breathe slowly and deeply.
- Go for a walk around the block, stretch or dance.
- Treat myself to a cup of hot tea, sparkling water or glass of wine.
When I feel rested and clear, I resume the de-cluttering for another 30 minutes, knowing it’s okay to take a break if I feel stuck again. Here are a few more things I do be successful:
- Deal with de-cluttering projects in short chunks; no more than two hours at a time.
- Take before and after pictures to share and remind myself of how much I’ve accomplished.
- Spend a few minutes appreciating myself for focus and efforts, even if I don’t finish the whole job.
Nikki Crawford, Ph.D. is the owner of Your Peaceful Space, where her focus is to help you clear the clutter and create more peace in your life. To learn more, contact Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 913.908.2298.