The ‘No’ of a clutter-free life is about having firm, clear boundaries and choosing to live with deep authenticity.
We can begin by saying No to more activities. Each additional interest, organisation and responsibility we become involved in adds its clutter at various levels. I’m not saying lead a boring or limited life. Anything but! I am suggesting we think carefully before taking on anything new. Does this thing really resonate? Is it really me? We can feel a need to have or do it all and end up feeling dissatisfied. Make some hard choices about what you’re involved in so that what you do you do well, and enjoy. Pare down to the truth of who you are in the world.
Begin by saying No to more stuff, too. When something waves to us from a shop window or catalogue there are two questions to ask: Do I really need it? Where will I put it when I get home?
The ‘Hello’ of a clutter-free life is about paying close attention to people who model the kind of life you’re after.
Hello can be the enemy of living a clutter-free and simple life. It can mean constantly paying attention to the new; taking on more and more in an indiscriminate manner; spreading ourselves too thinly; disappearing under stuff.
But there’s another Hello that serves our purpose here; giving attention to people who live as we hope to. There are some wonderful people living and writing about the joys of simplicity. An openness to doing life differently will bring people and ideas into your life. Exchanging ideas in a Simplicity Group can assist the process and lead to real communion with like-minded people.
The ‘Thanks’ of living a clutter-free life is about appreciating what we’ve got rather than hankering after what we don’t have.
This has the affect of helping to shift our focus to valuing the non-material aspects of life – health, friendship, family, nature, creativity, to name a few. As we loosen our hold on our belongings, we find ourselves more available for belonging – to our deepest values, to the human community, to the natural world community, to the Oneness. Ultimately we find ourselves falling in love with life.
The ‘Goodbye’ of living a simpler, clutter-free life begins with the realisation that we no longer want to live a pressured, complicated life; that it isn’t serving us or those whose lives we touch. The next challenge is the decision to act on our realisation.
The process of completion may be a long one. In fact in one sense the task of creating a clutter-free life is never complete, but an ongoing tuning-in to life on every level to check that it is serving our needs and purpose. But the initial process will involve sorting through every single piece of stuff we own, making decisions based on whether we truly like or genuinely use each item. It may take several rounds of sifting and sorting, which can seem daunting, but the magic of the process is that once we break through the fears around letting go, it tends to produce its own motivation. Some experience of living more lightly makes us want more – by having less.
Then we can look at the other aspects of life. We need to ask ourselves: am I keeping alive relationships that no longer serve me? Do my finances need de-junking? Am I truly fulfilled in my work?
Somewhere along the way we realise that we are ready to move on, to become more of who we essentially are, to realise dreams, to fulfil our real purpose.
The ‘Please’ of a clutter-free, simplified life is first about envisioning what it will look like, feel like, sound and taste and smell like. Perhaps I’ll choose clear, open spaces my living room; a sense of peace and quietude on stepping into my home; time to stop to smell the roses because life has slowed down; the joy of tasting the proper dinner I’ve cooked and shared; the delight of more music, and fewer arguments about things we can’t find?
It’s good to write down your vision of a clutter-free, simplified life. What is it like physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually?
A vision is only a dream unless we have the intention to act on it. But it doesn’t all have to be done at once. It’s best to break it down into small chunks based on manageable goals, and allot a time span for each as we go.
Cooperation is an important aspect of Please. We can consider who might you be able to help; a friend who loves to sort and organise, or a favourite aunt whom we can trust to help. Professionals can be found through the Association of Professional De-clutterers and Organisers, UK, or I would be happy to help.
The ultimate Please is prayer, requesting assistance from the higher realms. Archangel Jophiel loves to assist those who want to clear their space and let fresh air flow through their lives. And Jesus lived the ultimate in clutter-free simplicity. If you can’t connect with ideas like this, just get very clear about what you choose and it will unfold.
The ‘Sorry’ of living clutter-free is about being aware of the affect on others of the changes we are making. For a start, let me say loud and clear, we are only ever responsible for our own stuff. It is never alright to dispose of things that belong to those who share our lives or spaces. (Children are an exception, depending on their age, but far better to involve them in the process and have them make and live with their own decisions.)
In my experience as a clutter clearer I find different members of a household often blame each other for the clutter. When we stop blaming and just take full responsibility for ourselves and our possessions we may see a spin-off in other members of the household making changes, too. But this mustn’t be our motivation. We need to de-clutter our space and life because it’s what we want and need to do.
There is a real need to be sensitive to what these changes mean to those closest to us. Let’s walk in their shoes for a bit and feel their fears. We need to hold to the changes we choose to make, but at the same time smooth the way for those affected. It all seems good to us, so we may expect others to welcome it, but change can be threatening and challenging. When we feel remorse by wearing the shoes of the other, and make repair by easing things as much as possible, only then are we ready to release, to know that we have truly taken responsibility for the affect of our changes on others.
The ‘Yes’ of a clutter-free and simplified life is about permitting such a life and the changes it will bring. A choice to live simply and with less emphasis on material possessions and the trappings of affluence is not easy in the milieu in which we live. We need to accept this challenge, to reach an agreement with ourselves that it may have its uncomfortable times but will be worth it. Only then are we ready to surrender to the beautiful simplicity of a clutter-free life.
There is a very strong link between de-cluttering and trust. Often we gather clutter because we fear not having what we need when we need it. As we learn that we get what we need, that what comes is what we need, we can travel much more lightly through life, responding to its calls and prods with a trusting “Yes!”
© Margie McCallum
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