The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Deana at Your Happy Stuff.
Hello fellow Organizing Junkie fans! I’m happy to be back today sharing what I have learned on my journey from being a clutter magnet to a de-cluttering maven.
The biggest issue many of us face ISN’T that we’re incapable of creating organized spaces; the most challenging thing for a lot of us is learning how to simplify…and be okay with it.
1. Silence your inner perfectionist.
The search for the “perfect” organizing solution can lead us into overwhelm.
When I started calming my life, I had to stop looking around and start looking inward. I had to decide how I wanted to feel.
I love feeling like life is simple. That means complicated plans and decor projects aren’t a good fit for me no matter how lovely they look on someone else’s blog.
Before I had this perspective I took on projects I couldn’t finish and bought baskets I couldn’t afford.
When I stopped spending my energy on striving, I found it easier to make decisions about what to let go of.
2. Realize that every item we own (even that 75 cent garage sale treasure) costs us BIG TIME.
I am a former garage sale FANATIC! I used to peel out of my driveway every Saturday morning with a travel mug of strong coffee and $20; and come home with my jeep crammed with “good deals.”
What I failed to realize was the expensive price I would pay in terms of my time.
It takes time to make room for things, time to move things to the basement when company comes, time to decide which things should be passed along to baby cousins, time to bag things up and deliver them to the thrift store.
The more we own, the more time we will spend on our stuff (cleaning it, moving it, etc.) when what we REALLY want to be doing is relaxing and having fun.
3. Know that releasing clutter doesn’t make us ungrateful or an eco-villain.
I know the guilt of parting with grandma’s old cookie jar or saying “No thanks” to all the hand-me-down baby toys from a best friend. I also understand the lump in your throat when you have garbage bags full of well…garbage from your space, bagged up and at the curb.
I can’t give you a trick to make that pain go away. All I can say is, sometimes it’s necessary to feel some pain in order to feel good again. If you are a woman who has ever had a baby, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The trick is to remember that when we free ourselves from clutter that weighs us down and keeps us stuck, we can be the person we want to be and do the good work we were put here to do.
4. Let our possessions mean something to us.
Let them tell our story. Many of the items in our homes hold no personal value to us. We have them because they match or were a good deal or they were someone else’s idea about what we needed.
A home that thoughtfully tells the story of who we are and what we value feels good…welcoming. A home that is crammed with a mish mash of stuff distracts us from what’s important and confuses all who enter our door.
5. We must build our “letting go” muscles by practicing every day.
If you’ve ever learned to play a musical instrument you know that it takes regular practice to get good at it. The same goes for parting with excess.
I recommend asking for paper grocery sacks in the checkout line and practice filling one bag with excess stuff from your home every day. (I like paper bags because they hold their shape and are easier to fill).
One grocery sack doesn’t hurt too terribly, but it’s big enough to matter. After filling a bag, take it right to the trunk of your car for thrift store delivery.
When you stick with it, this practice will begin to feel natural AND you will streamline your world. That’s how I got our home unburied when we inherited a second household full of belongings four years ago.
On my journey to a more simplified life, I had to stop searching for perfect solutions, become aware of how much time my stuff cost, give up the guilt, keep only the meaningful stuff, and practice letting go…one bag at a time. If I can do it, you can too!
Deana Ward of Your Happy Stuff loves helping overwhelmed women simplify and calm their lives. As a breakthrough life coach and creator of the 4-week rut buster, Happiness Hotwire, she helps her clients decide how they want to live and gives them simple steps and accountability to make it happen. Be sure to get your FREE gift and weekly tips from Deana over at Your Happy Stuff. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.