Today, I will yet again embark on a decluttering activity. And I am excited AND afraid at the same time.
You see, decluttering is not simply a matter of picking up things to discard. Those who have shifted from a life full of stuff to a life of intentional simplicity will surely understand the emotional, psychological and spiritual process involved.
It’s not that minimalists or people living simplified lives are better off than hoarders. After all, being intentional of what we keep in our lives is one way to live and hoarding is another. If hoarding works for you and does not affect your productivity, then by all means, go ahead and live that way.
But if decluttering helps you accomplish your goals and increases your productivity, then, perhaps, this is the path you must take!
So while I go through my stuff again to see what to deal with, I recognize that the process of organizing involves something scary.
I’ll tell you what it is:
Maturity. It doesn’t stop. It is a life-long activity. It is a balancing act in the name of taking care of our homes and our families.
Are you ready to unpack it with me?
Life Changes and Decluttering
Certainly our lives are not lived on a straight line. There are zigzags, and bumps and surprises along the way.
Some are good, some are complicated, some are uncomfortable. But overall, we know that life, though in many aspects uncertain, is to be embraced. That is part of growing up. Call it adulting, if you must.
Now as our lives and circumstances change, we need to change. It’s no use holding on to something that we might use “just in case” say the minimalist gurus.
Yes, life changes happen. Families get bigger. People move. A new opportunity comes. A child lets go of old toys. Loved ones leave. Friends betray. We get old, or have health restrictions, so the bike has to go. You get the picture.
Three Things to Remember When Decluttering
In the middle of these life changes, our stuff must change, too, or at least, be seen under new light. So what does decluttering entail when life changes occur?
First, consider what stuff are no longer useful. Something is useful when we still need it, like a stroller. If the child is grown, what is the reason why you are still keeping it?
Second, consider what stuff are no longer working. Something is working when the purpose for which it is intended when bought is still the same. If a can opener can no longer open a can, why is it still taking up space in your kitchen drawers?
Third, consider what stuff no longer fits your current season. These are the things that you may have bought for aesthetic purposes. If a piece of art no longer matches your décor or lifestyle (say, a nude painting when you have toddlers and kids around), why is it still on your wall? Why still keep a pretty size 8 dress when you’re size 14? When you’re size 8 again, you can actually buy another one!
Fourth, consider what stuff no longer fits your current situation or intended location. Are you moving? Are you setting up a home business/office? These are the things that you can also think about to maximize and save space.
Of course, our lives differ. Add to that the varying seasons we are in at the moment.
But this is the question that would really help in distinguishing what must go and what must stay — Who am I and what makes me tick?
Whether we want something or consider it junk, stuff can still control us and wield us. Decluttering is a matter of choosing wisely.
So regardless of what season I am in, I try to hold the thing and ask: Does this in my space speak who I am and what I believe in and value?
If it doesn’t, then don’t hesitate to set it aside. Sell it, if you can. Give it away, if you may. Or throw it, if it helps you regain more space, which, I believe is a precious commodity nowadays.
After all, knowing when something must go is indeed a sign of maturity.
Okay, now back to work.