Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage
Do you know the feeling you get when you’ve finished a big decluttering project? There is a sense of accomplishment and peace, the knowledge you will have less stress each day, and the satisfaction of moving one step closer to the ideal life you want to live. In short, you have more confidence.
You no longer have to close the door, hide from company, or ignore a room anymore, and you can have the full use of your space for living.
- Without the clutter in the garage, you can envision a usable workspace or the luxury of getting into a warm, dry car on cold winter mornings.
- When you clean out your closet getting dressed every morning is faster and easier, and you feel zero guilt about buying nicer quality clothes because you know you’ll wear them.
- As you donate your old books to streamline your shelves, you see possibilities for new thoughts, ideas, and stories to come into your life.
If physical simplicity can give you this much pleasure and confidence in your life, imagine what a decluttering of your soul can do. We’re all walking around with interior rooms overflowing with stories from our past, expectations from society, and dreams for our future, and not all of it fits the “useful or beautiful” mantra of simplistic living.
When we hold on to stories from our past, especially when they are not entirely true, we stop living in the present. (And let’s face it, these stories get heavily clouded in opinion and emotion over time.) A bad breakup is still affecting your current relationship, or something your mother or a friend said years ago impacts the decisions you make today.
Trying to live up (or down) to the ideals society has for you can suffocate your talents and magnify your weaknesses. When you live your life for someone else, you have to stock your mind and soul with all kinds of extras you wouldn’t normally need. The clear path you could walk when living the life you want turns into a cloverleaf highway with off-ramps and detours with all the “shoulds” you have to remember as you make your way through a life you don’t particularly want.
Our dreams also clutter up our space – but only if we fail to pair them with action. When you don’t regularly achieve your dreams – big and small – you leave no room for new dreams to come into your life. The sad truth is that dreams typically have an expiration date, and keeping one too long without actually doing anything about it is like opening a container of yogurt past the due date. The safety seal won’t keep it from going bad if you don’t eat it in time. Keeping your dreams on the shelf is a sure way to kill them and keep new ones from emerging.
How to Declutter your Soul
The Project 333 is the perfect time to do a little soulful decluttering. As you stand in front of your closet and evaluate your clothes, think about why you are getting rid of them.
Stories from your past
The clothes from your past that no longer fit you, your life, or your environment need to go. As you ready these clothes for the donation bin, be sure to toss the stories that go along with them. You are not your past, and even though those events contributed to who you are today, they do not define you. Un-tether yourself from the past and live for the you of today. It is a look that always fits perfectly.
Is your closet cluttered with different identities? We all need clothes for various parts of our lives, but if you are regularly choosing between carefree hippie artist and buttoned-down corporate bigwig, your soul is too cluttered. Pick the one that fits and discard the expectation that you’ll be anything else. You have no control over anyone else’s opinion of you, but you have 100% control of your own opinion of yourself.
Do you have a little black dress you are saving for the day you lose 20 pounds? Make a specific plan to lose the weight by a certain date or donate it and buy a medium or large black dress to fit the you of now. When you do nothing with this dream you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to wear a black dress of any size anywhere – also known as living – and you’ll stay in a constant state of limbo. Pursue the dreams you want, and let go of the ones you don’t want enough.
As you head into April’s Project 333, consider a little soulful decluttering to uncover the confident you hiding beneath all that extra stuff. Enjoy the clear path to living the life of your dreams and drawing the right people into your perfectly designed emotional space.
Betsy Talbot is the author Strip Off Your Fear and Slip Into Something More Confident, available on Amazon. She and her husband Warren no longer have closets, preferring to live out of backpacks as they travel the world. Find out more at Married with Luggage.