Something very strange has been happening to me recently. I'm to be found at all hours of the day and night ferreting around in my office, rifling through filing cabinets, shelves and drawers and surrounded by ever increasing numbers of bin bags. Yes — the seasonal Decluttering Bug has taken hold.
I haven't made a conscious decision to do this — it's as if something is happening on a subliminal level and I suddenly feel compelled to have a massive clear out. I'm sure it's no coincidence that this is the week of the Spring Equinox and that the coming of Spring and the absolute explosion of activity in the natural world has everything to do with a desire to clear out the old to make room for new growth.
The word 'clutter' derives from the word 'clot' which immediately suggests something that's sticky and coagulated. And that's how it feels when we have too much clutter in our lives. Things no longer flow freely and it can keep us stuck in the past and prevent us from moving on. So if you feel ready for a clear out here are a few tips to get you started:
* Decluttering can feel very overwhelming, especially if you've got a significant amount to do. So try breaking the job down into smaller parts. Make a list of all your clutter hot spots (wardrobes, spare room, garage, office, drawers, hallway etc) and highlight those that are annoying you most. Choose one easy area to clear first — perhaps a single drawer or small cupboard. Each area you clear releases energy for you to do more. Take it at your own pace, doing as much as you feel inspired to do at any one time. When it’s done, give yourself the satisfaction of crossing it off your list.
* Make sure you have a place to put all the things you're getting rid of. For example: throw away – charity shop – give to friends – take to the tip – repairs – recycle – boot/garage sale – Ebay and so on.
* Use the Clutter Test (this comes from Karen Kingston's excellent book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui). If you're unsure whether to keep an item or not, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Does it lift my energy when I think about it or look at it?
2. Do I absolutely love it?
3. Is it genuinely useful? If you can't answer yes to any of these questions, get rid of it.
* Try the Paper Test: If you're faced with bits of paper and can't decide whether or not to throw them away, ask yourself 'if I needed this again could I get hold of it in any other way?' i.e. could you get a copy from the person who gave it to you? Could you download it from the internet? If the answer is yes, it's much easier to bin it.
* If you just can't bring yourself to get rid of certain items, put them into a bin bag and tie it up. Write the date on the outside and put it away out of sight. If you haven't needed any of the contents within 6 months, throw the bag away — without looking inside.
* You don't have to do the job alone. Sometimes it can really help to have a friend with you — ideally someone who is fairly ruthless about making decisions.
* And finally … don't forget to reward yourself. Treat yourself to something special for all the hard work you've done. If some of your clutter has gone to an auction or boot/garage sale or been sold on Amazon or Ebay you may well have some extra, unexpected funds to spend on yourself.
Whatever dreams and aspirations you may have, decluttering is a great way to make the space in your life for them to take root and flourish.
© Annabel Sutton, Coaching Tips – 2011