Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Kate Carpenter of enuffstuff.wordpress.com.
There are countless self-help books out there that outline the basics of decluttering for you. And everyone with an interest in encouraging you to simplify your life will try to make his or her advice and instructions the simplest. But decluttering IS simple, right? Just like losing weight – eat less, exercise more – we all know how to declutter: put the clutter into a box or bag and take it somewhere (anywhere!) else.
And yet, success often eludes us. Why? Because even more important than the physical, practical steps necessary to complete the task is an often-overlooked prerequisite: the ultimate goal of decluttering. That goal provides our motivation, and it will be the number one factor in our success or failure.
This method won’t tell you how to organize your silverware drawer or pare down your library of books. Those things will come after you’ve completed these 5 steps – 5 steps leading to a goal that will help you identify WHAT is clutter and WHY it’s clutter. Once you can easily recognize clutter and fully understand its burdensome effect on your life, getting rid of it will become almost effortless.
The Five Steps
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
- Close your eyes and think back to high school and the people you admired most – the “in” crowd, the cheerleaders, the brains, the jocks, the musicians. These people were not more special than you – they just recognized that they had special gifts to share earlier in life than most of us do.
- Life is like the Olympics – anyone can participate, but most people will only excel in one sport. You may not have known what that was in high school, but now that you’ve had some more time to think about it, what’s YOUR “sport”? What does your heart tell you that you should be doing with your life? What talents or interests have you always wanted to showcase in your life? What do you want to bring into the world: music, inspiring blog posts, art, beautiful surroundings, happy children, comfort for those in distress, rescued animals, balanced spreadsheets, laughter? What gift were you meant to share?
- Imagine a class reunion a year from now. When you go back to it, you’ll have faith in the fact that YOU have something special to give, too. You will have remade your life into exactly what you want your old classmates to see. You’ll have your gold medal to show them! What “sport” is it in? What do you look like? What are you wearing? What do you like to talk about? What are you proud of? Which classmates interest you now?
- Focus on your special gift. Imagine the person you will become when that’s what your life is all about. Imagine how good it will feel to know that you’ve identified and cultivated your particular talent.
Clearly defining this goal will provide you with the motivation to declutter. Once you know exactly what it is that you most want to bring into the world, you can easily begin to get rid of anything and everything that doesn’t contribute to reaching that goal.
Because THAT’S what clutter is!