So you know that feeling you get when you take down all your Christmas decorations and your space feels so spacious and airy? It’s the best right? Such a great feeling! Now I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong, but all the colors and lights and excitement compete for my attention. The busyness and senses overload of the season makes it hard to focus after awhile. I’m not sure I even realize it’s happening at the time but when Christmas comes down and my eyes finally have a place to rest, I feel like I can breathe again. Once the decorations get put away and the clutter dealt with, I just feel such a quietness to my soul.
This calmness, without clutter and chaos, is something I treasure and strive to maintain in my home throughout the year. My home just runs better when we aren’t constantly looking for things, tripping over piles of stuff, rushing to events or eating all at different times. It’s why I’m so adamant about purging regularly because that light and airy after Christmas feeling doesn’t last. Slowly stuff starts to creep back in. Those clutter weeds are sneaky suckers, ready to choke us out at any given moment if we aren’t paying attention.
I’ve learned over the years that regular ongoing purging is a necessary and important step for my peace of mind. If my home is busy and chaotic, with clutter everywhere I look, my eyes can’t rest and my mind can’t relax. Anxiety sets in and sleep is disrupted. It’s not a pretty place to be. It’s downright exhausting in fact. Perhaps you are feeling that right now? Experience has taught me that when I start to feel this way, I need to look around me and declutter my life. Whether it’s my schedule or my stuff, it’s time to get my purge on.
But here’s where I think people go wrong. Often people don’t recognize clutter for what it is. As I’ve worked with people over the years, I’ve realized that many only think of clutter as just the bad stuff, the garbage or the stuff that just doesn’t spark joy (don’t even get me started on the whole spark joy movement). You know what? That’s not entirely true.
Clutter can be ANYTHING that reduces your effectiveness for leading a peaceful, less chaotic life.
Our eyes need a place to rest so our souls can breathe. White space is our friend, don’t be afraid of it. So beyond the usual things people look to declutter (the stuff we don’t use and love for instance), it might also mean making some hard decisions about decluttering other “noisy” things in our lives, despite how much joy they may spark, in order to quiet our homes. For instance, home decor is a big one that comes to mind. People love their home decor. From pictures, to knick-knacks, books, pillows, blankets, candles, lamps, mirrors, oh my. I love it all too but it can so easily take over a room without us even noticing. It’s hard to recognize that things we love can actually be clutter. But they most definitely can be.
Myquillyn Smith, the blogger behind Nesting Place and author of The Nesting Place book, wrote a post not long ago about How to Quiet Your Space, One Room at a Time. It’s really what got me thinking about all this and I highly recommend you go over and give it a read. Basically she challenges you to move ALL your decorative things to a holding area for a small period of time to let your space breathe. She says that by doing this “you created an opportunity where you could truly see your space for what it is. You paid attention and now you see some changes you want to make that will help your space work better for your family–that is the entire point of this practice! You did it! Maybe you’ll bring everything back in, maybe you’ll get rid of everything–the important thing is that you made space for evaluation, purpose and change.”
I love that. It gives you the opportunity to declutter and experience the euphoria that comes with that before actually committing to parting with anything.
It’s only once the clutter isn’t there anymore that we realize how much of a negative impact it was having on our lives.
Finally your eyes will be able to rest and your mind relax as you turn off the “noise” that stuff can contribute to.
Rachel from Home Sanctuary also recently talked about this topic in a great post titled Five Ways to Embrace Quiet. She cites many reasons why silence is so necessary especially for helping to reduce anxiety and stress.
So whether it’s your stuff or your schedule, take some time today to edit your things. As your space starts to feel lighter, you’ll feel lighter and as a result, less anxious and more at peace in your home. Ahh what an amazing feeling it is! In fact, you might even be surprised to find out that you love this feeling way more than you ever really loved your stuff. Whoa, what? Yep could totally happen but you’ll never really know unless you give it a try :)
Happy decluttering friends!
PS: Sometimes it helps to take a picture of a space to view it with fresh eyes and get a feel for how cluttered it might be. Read more about that HERE.
You might also like: How to Stop the Noise That Clutters Our Minds
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