Spring is finally here! At least that is what they say, anyway! So, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of spring cleaning, we need to understand WHY spring cleaning is so important to us and to our well-being. I am also going to re-organize my life at the same time. It’s time to start fresh forever! Let’s do it together!
I know everyone has a lot of “clutter” in their lives, whether it be physical and/or emotional. I am a person that LOVES to throw stuff away. However, I am the only one in my family that loves to do so. I wouldn’t say our house is over-cluttered, but that it has just enough “stuff” lying around to make me crazy!
On top of that, I have been handed an emotional pile of “clutter” recently and I just want to “clean house”. I am turning the “NO VACANCY” sign on for the emotional clutter hotel. I’m a strong girl and I’m gonna buckle down and do so right along with you! If our emotional lives are cluttered, it just piles on the anxiety and the mess we feel inside as well…and that’s not healthy for anyone!
So, I wanted to share with you a bit of psychology about clutter and the way it makes us feel…
WHY SPRING CLEAN? Well, there are many negative effects that clutter has on our lives. Emotional and physical clutter can cause us to feel many ways:
-Clutter makes us feel depressed, overwhelmed
-It robs us of our energy
-Clutter can affect our relationships
-It can take away the peacefulness of our home-Clutter makes it harder and take longer to clean
-Physical clutter takes up our space at home, emotional crowds our heart
-Emotional clutter stays with us all of the time, there is no escape
-It robs us of thinking clearly and logically
These are just some of the things that clutter does to us. So many of us have low energy in the winter anyway because of the cold temperatures. Adding clutter to that and being “cooped” up inside just drains us of even more energy. So, most of us look forward to opening the windows and “airing out” since the warmer temperatures give us more energy. We want to clean our lives out and start fresh!
KEEPING OR TOSSING PHYSICAL CLUTTER: This is not a difficult thing for me when it comes to physical clutter, but I know many people struggle with letting go of items when they are “spring cleaning”. There are a few reasons why and we must understand them so that we can figure out how to deal with those items. Each item connects us to either an event in our lives or a certain person. Here are some reasons it may be hard to toss the clutter:
- Getting the “value” out of it – Some people can’t toss things because they “still have tags” on them, or they just spent money on the item recently. Even though you keep an item, it doesn’t mean you are “getting your money’s worth”. You need to actually USE the item. So, what is done is done, if you can’t return it and don’t use it…get RID of it!
- Monkey-see, monkey-do - Some of us grew up in a home where family members had difficulty with clutter. So it is easy to see where we can “learn” the behavior of “collecting” things that may be of no use. It is hard to break a habit, but it can be done!
- Status – How many times have you gone to the store to buy that “must-have” item that everyone else has. And you NEVER use it. What a waste of money, but hey, you don’t want to pitch it, right? Wrong!
- Security – Some of us feel more “secure” if we are surrounded with “things”. At least that is how some of us may THINK we are more secure. But the truth is that “stuff” doesn’t protect us from anything. It actually hinders us!
- Emotional – I see many people in my life very attached to “things” that remind them of people, especially ones who have passed. They may feel guilty for getting rid of grandma’s favorite footstool or dad’s old broken-down tools. But the truth is, just because we get rid of “stuff” doesn’t mean we are getting rid of memories. I actually take photos of this kind of “stuff” before I get rid of them. That way, I have the visual, but not the clutter that I won’t use!
BENEFITS OF DE-CLUTTERING: There are so many benefits of de-cluttering your life, both mentally and physically. Just look at the light at the end of the tunnel:
- The less “stuff” you have the more room you have to grow and for new opportunities to come into your life.
- The less “stuff” you have , the less time it will take to find those items around your home. Hence, the less energy you waste looking for things.
- If you have “less”, you will use what you have MORE than you use right now. The value of your objects increases!
- If you don’t have as much “stuff”, you don’t have to clean as much “stuff”, saving more time and energy.
- The less “stuff” you have to take care of, more time and energy can be focused on taking care of your priorities. Don’t waste time worrying about all of the “stuff” you aren’t using!
These are just SOME of the benefits of de-cluttering and organizing your life. I know that when I go to bed at night, the list of “To-do’s” often runs through my head. “Re-organize the hundreds of toys in the playroom…AGAIN. Re-organize the shoes, hats, mittens and coats in the mudroom…AGAIN. Re-organize the cupboards…AGAIN. “ I hate it! I have too much stuff that I don’t need - stuff that someone else could benefit from. I mean, how many “Magic Bullets and Fondue sets” do you actually need? Ugh. Let’s do this!
GET READY! I am going to “spring clean” my home and life for a whole year. The reason I am going to do this for a LONG time are two-fold.
1.) Practice makes perfect. The better I get at organizing myself into a manageable system for everyone I the house, the less I will have to organize in the future.
2.) Life is busy. Really. If I give myself this goal of organizing my life in just a few weeks, I will immediately feel defeated and not want to even begin. It is overwhelming.
Give yourself time to get this together. It is too hard to change things overnight. So, the first step is to let things happen gradually. You will avoid so much frustration by moving step-by-step. It is a marathon, not a sprint. However, don’t use this as an excuse to procrastinate. Set goals and time limits. However, make them realistic enough to achieve.
DITCHING EMOTIONAL CLUTTER- Well, this is my weakness. I let things build inside of me until I crack. I have a temper that is right up there with the best of them. I’m gonna flat out tell you that my rock is JESUS and the BIBLE. It is where I am going to go to “fill up” on whatever is missing in my life. “Stuff” doesn’t cut it for me. It doesn’t make me feel “safer”, it just builds up the anxiety. But God restores, fills and heals. No matter who you are. So, that’s where I am heading. I am also going to dive deeper into what my life’s purpose is as I de-clutter. I am not a wandering soul that lives today and is gone tomorrow. I know life goes on after death and I know I have a purpose while I am here. I am going to work on listening to God as he speaks His purpose for me. It’s going to be “less” Erin and more “God”. Try as I may, I am still in the habit of doing things “my way” and it needs to stop!
So what do you want to de-clutter this year? Is it your home, office, heart? Now is a great time to start living as you were meant to live. We can start to focus on the important things in life instead of having to deal with the “garbage” all of the time. Our kids need us. Our neighbors need us. Our world needs us to be focused…
LET’S DO THIS! Who’s with me?!
We are going to take a look at organizing our life goals next time… be thinking about where you are in your life and where you would like to be at this time next year. Think about your family and what you would like to see happen in that area. Are you spending enough time with them, do you have time for yourself, are you involved in too many activities to keep up with? Keep all this in mind and stay tuned for the next spring cleaning post!
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If you are inspired to de-clutter, “share” this with a friend who may want to join you. It is so much easier to do this together!