Things I'm Learning From Decluttering

Where do I even begin?  Don and I are embracing this empty nest season and we have begun to declutter our house.  I can’t tell you how many times we have said to each other “I had no idea we had this.”  Yep… we have been reduced to evaluating our “stuff”.  And with 8 kids, 3 pets, and 20 years of life together, we have “stuff”. We began the process of decluttering with a simple, naïve: “Hey, I wonder what’s in this closet,” and now we can’t stop.  We are obsessed.  We are organizing the kids’ stuff in their own bins, and then sorting the rest of the stuff into piles.  We currently have 4 piles we are operating from:

1.  Keep

2.  Throw

3.  Goodwill

4.  Save for the kids

It is no small feet.  And the thing is, WE REALLY THOUGHT WE HAD ALREADY DECLUTTERED AND DOWN-SIZED! That’s the thing with “stuff” -- it’s such a gradual process of accumulating.  So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it also takes a while to go through the “stuff” and then “declutter” the stuff. We have found some real gems in and amongst the clutter -- a forgotten painting from one of the kids, or a picture of a treasured memory.  But honestly, mostly… I’ll be honest… IT’S TRASH -- unnecessary and causing more trouble and bother than it’s worth. Some of the things we have found, we realize we no longer need.   Some of the things we wondered, “What in the world did we ever need this for?”  Some of the things we’ve just held on to way too long.  Some of the things we truly questioned our sanity that it was even in the mix!  Anybody got an Amen?! I guess it might be the same with our “life stuff” too -- the baggage we carry around.  How much unnecessary stuff do we really carry around with us every day? A few years ago, a dear friend of mine, Carolyn Gill (who is an excellent life coach) had me do a little exercise.  I had been sharing with her that I still carried so much shame and guilt… so much “should-have’s” and “what-if’s”.  She had me go to Lowe’s Home Improvement store and pick out a rock.  It weighed probably 5 pounds, which didn’t seem all that heavy at the time.  Then she suggested I carry the rock with me for the next week EVERYWHERE I WENT.  Really?! But, okay, I complied.  And what I quickly realized was that accommodating that “rock” (or “stuff”) became a real burden.  It affected everything -- how I walked, how I maneuvered from aisle to aisle in the grocery store, how I interacted with people in a conversation… and on and on. I think that’s such a great picture of our “stuff” we carry… every day.  The baggage gets heavy and begins to affect how we move about in our everyday life.  Most of our baggage is just, quite frankly, unnecessary.  There are a few treasures that might be found in and amongst the rubble, and we are thankful for that.  But most of the baggage, we begin to realize, has been unnecessary, or simply necessary for a season, and now it’s time to sort through it.   So, here is what I am learning from decluttering --

1.  It took a long time to accumulate the stuff; it’s probably going to take some time to go throughout the stuff.  BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF IN THE PROCESS.

2.  Ask for help in the process.  I could not do this by myself.  Don and I have to be a team in the declutter process.  Don’t go it alone.  Sometimes, someone else’s perspective is just what we need.

3.  It’s okay to LET GO.  Most of our “stuff” is just junk we have picked up along the way and held on to -- hurtful words, wounds, wrong choices and decision, broken relationships…

4.  Assess the situation… if the stuff needs tending to, then tend to it.   Sometimes there is a diamond in the rough.

5.  Things and people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  All are important, but not all are meant to hang onto forever.

May you journey well… and may you be patient with yourself as you unpack your baggage and declutter your soul. - Sandi declutter


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