Declutter Tips

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How to Detach From Your Clutter So You Can Let It Go!

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?The surest way to detach from one outcome is to reattach yourself to a more empowering outcome: serving others, replacing a bad habit with a good one, or focusing on the present.? - Stephen Shapiro, Goal-Free Living

This is true with decluttering as well. It is much easier to let go, when you have a clear vision of what you want in it's place. Clutter is often a result of being stuck in or unable to let of the past. It could be emotional, or just not taking the time to clear out stuff you don't need.T o help you emotionally detach from your stuff, so you can let it go, it helps to focus on

  • The empowering present and future results you will achieve
  • How having less clutter will serve you and make your life better
  • Keeping only the treasures and things you really need in the "present".
Here are some examples of the positive outcomes you gain from clearing clutter:
  • A better family life with less fighting and stress
  • More time to spend on things and people you really love
  • Improved relationships
  • Able to invite people to your home or office without embarrassment
  • More energy (clutter actually physically drains energy and can lead to depression)
  • More money (clutter usually results in buying duplicates of things you already have)
  • Higher self-esteem (you feel better about your self when you are in charge - not your stuff)
  • Less stress
  • You'll be able to find what you need when you need it
  • Better health (less stuff to collect dust & dirt)
  • It will be easier to clean your home
  • You will have less mental clutter so it will be easier to focus on your present and future goals and get things done!
To help you detach emotionally from sentimental items, try meditating on the following thoughts.
  • Things are NOT people! When you toss or recycle something someone gave you, like a card, a souvenir, or a toy, you are not throwing away the person. The same is true of duplicate photos. You aren't getting rid of the person when you get rid of the extra photos.
  • People don't expect you to keep everything they give you for the rest of your life. They give you things to make you happy, and if having too much stuff is making you unhappy, they surely would want you to pass the things on.
  • Keeping old clothing from an era in your life so you can remember it is a sentiment many of us share. I have a hard time with this too! But you can learn to let go of clothing too! One way is to take photos of them instead of keeping the clothes themselves. The thing about old clothing is that is needs to be cleaned regularly and stored properly or it will start to rot, turn yellow, attract moths and other bugs, collect dust mites and maybe even get moldy or mildewed. It also can be really bad for allergies. Why put yourself through this? Isn't it better to pass on clothing to someone who can use it rather than take your your time and energy or just letting it rot?
  • Often people want to pass things down to their kids. This can be a good thing, but many people hold on to way too much on behalf of their kids. I've seen whole basements full of "stuff my kinds might want in 25 years" Trust me, they won't want all their old baby clothes! Maybe a couple really cool games, but be choosy! Set space limits on how much you will keep. Give the rest to someone who can use your unneeded things now.
  • Often people are afraid they will miss things. To counteract this fear, remember, things can be replaced, but you can't make more time. And you can't easily make space in your home without letting excess, unused things go. And if you do miss something, it usually passes in a moment and there is no harm to you. You don't need that much to survive! If you find yourself missing an inanimate object so badly it interferes with your life, you should probably seek counseling to get at the root of the issue.
Letting go isn't easy, but if you stay focused on your present needs and priorities, and learn to view your things with less emotion, you will be much happier. Mastering the art of letting go of your stuff is a wonderful way to build your self-esteem, gain peace of mind and feel in control of your life!

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed., is an organizing consultant, life coach, speaker, and author of the popular Neat Living Blog at which provides free organizing tips, home makeover photos and much more. Her mission is to help people transform their lives by helping them create organized homes and offices that support them in living productive, happier lives. Her passion is helping families conquer the chaos and stress that keeps them from enjoying their life together. She provides simple practical organizing solutions that work for real people who just want a neater, simpler, less stressful life ? not a perfect one. She can be found on the web at

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