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De-Cluttering {Fall Fresh Start}

I think I’ve gone through phases with regards to ‘stuff.’  First – ‘more’ was the focus.  When I was young, early on in a corporate career, I was excited to be able to get ‘things’ that I wasn’t necessarily able to get before.  More decorations, more makeup, more clothes, more shoes, more jewelry…more ‘toys.’  More things equalled power and comfort, and though ’ve never thought of myself as materialistic, but I really enjoyed all this.

‘More’ was also the focus when it came to things like being busy, and working long hours, or having more going on with lots of friends and social engagements, and – honestly – more stress.  There was a time – and I know I’m not alone in this – when being more stressed was a way we validated ourselves – our existence, and the work we were doing.  It was just a few years ago that we wore our stress like a badge of honor, and the person that did more and was more frazzled was, essentially, more.  

Times have changed.  When I left my corporate job in the midst of a pretty tumultuous personal time, I abandoned all my ‘things’ as well.  More ‘things’ no longer brought comfort – they brought a sense of unrest and unease with all they were and all they represented.  I moved out of my apartment and back home, I gave furniture away, I boxed up trinkets and things that I loved, storing them away.  I left trips untaken, and plane tickets unused.  I wanted nothing to do with any of it, or anything this lifestyle represented.  From where I stood, it hadn’t brought me anything good, and I deeply struggled to keep it all in perspective.  

After this, I really brought things back to ground zero – stripped things in my life down to the studs – and rebuilt on a much more solid foundation that’s more true to who I am.  I have shifted the focus from ‘stuff’ bringing power to the realization that the real power is having ‘less,’ but  – what you do have – it is of high value and quality.  I’ve since evened out a little from both extremes, and I crave less clutter and less ‘stuff,’ so that I can continue to build on my foundation of what really matters.

Physical clutter is one thing – and I have my work cut out for me in that area.  I crave clean, open space, and as I’m moving in a few weeks to a new apartment, now is a good time to clear things out, and not move anything I don’t really need.  I have a few spaces that really need to be cleared out, like clothes, office supplies, papers {I have an entire box of things that need to be gone through and shredded…ugh}, and general things that I need to organize or get rid of.

But there are other kinds of clutter.  Things you just need to get rid of, things you have too much of {like overstocked pantries}, and things you hang on to because you’ll want to read it or review it later.  I call this ‘intellectual clutter,’ and it’s things like saved emails, Facebook posts, podcasts, notes, business courses, magazine pages, Pinterest links, highlighted books, and the list goes on.  Really anything that you have stored up somewhere, but you’re not using (and some of this stuff I haven’t reviewed for YEARS), and it’s bringing you nothing positive.  

And then there’s the mental clutter.  When you’ve got too much in your head and you don’t know where to start, sometimes – that kind of thing.   And I’ll admit it…I can be a hoarder.  Of the intellectual and mental clutter especially.  There’s a blessing and a curse that comes with always having so many ideas.  It’s exciting because you don’t know what these ideas could evolve into and where these they might take you, but at the same time it’s overwhelming – for largely the same reason – you don’t know what to make of them.   The question of ‘Where should I start first?’ rings in my head all too often.  

My focus this week is to dig out of this, and to make a huge dent in these pieces of information – getting rid of what I don’t need, and putting into play the things that are actually helpful to me – both personally and to my work.

By doing this, I hope to have more of the things that matter.  More open space – physically and in my head and in my heart.  Fewer things, but things of better value.  Quality, not quantity, in all aspects.  With friends, a tighter circle, but stronger bonds.  More time, more experiences, and more space to breathe.

I’ll touch base soon with some notes on my progress, and any stumbling blocks I’ve run into.  Think about this in your own life – if you could clear out one area that would instantly make you feel more grounded and less scattered, what would it be?  


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