Posted by: ginalazenby | March 20, 2009

The curse of too much – how to tackle clutter

Brilliant little movie that will help you see your stuff differently

Brilliant little movie that will help you see your stuff differently

With the arrival of spring it’s time to take another look at that dreaded word – clutter.  I’ve just come back from a 2-month tour of Australia so I have been living out of a suitcase for 8 weeks and have had to be super organised: everything labelled and packed into separate zip lock plastic bags so I can avoid exploding uncontrollably into each space I visit.  It’s not easy but after a few weeks on the road you realise just how little you actually need. And amazingly, I didn’t use everything I took in my 23 kg suitcase!  So coming back home and opening my wardrobes doors was a shock: “OMG!  when will I ever wear all this stuff??”  I can feel that a rethink is required here.
Spring is a good time to do this (as is any change of season quite frankly) but there is the added energy of renewal that helps us asks questions about what life is about now and what is needed to support that life.  Spring marks the beginning of a new cycle, off we go again in some life direction, repeating experiences we have had before but with a new twist or flavour. It’s good to ask what is really important for the next stage of our life journey.

During my travels I had the opportunity to speak to many groups on the subject of Life Flow. I asked everyone if they experienced clutter and overload and they all laughed. It seems to be a universal problem.  We’ve all got too much stuff. But seriously, we do have to jettison those things that are excess as they are holding us back. Can’t you feel new times coming?  Can’t you see a new wave of big change sweeping across the world?  Whether you are re-inventing yourself or coping with unemployment, moving ahead will be far easier if you are carrying around less stuff. And even if it’s hidden away in wardrobes, closets, drawers and attics, instead of openly assaulting you on surfaces and book cases, it is still having an effect and holding you back. 

Here’s a few of my key tips:

1 Start small. Don’t take on a whole room. Choose a corner of a room and pick a shelf or drawer. When that is done you will want to do more.
2 It’s all YOU. Know that you are connected to everything you own. You bought it or brought it in to your home, your space, so its yours – it’s YOU.  The question is “Is it the YOU you are now?”
3 Get help. Invite a girlfriend over as they will be more ruthless than you will be on your own and will keep you on task by hovvering over you. Do the same for them too – it’s a good skill swap and you can get your revenge as well.
4 Get inspired. Watch the brilliant 20 minute movie called The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. I guarantee that you will want to cut down your consumption after this. In the photo above, taken from the animated movie, she talks about us generating four and a half pounds of garbage every day!
5 Clarity. Whilst creating extra space by passing on what you don’t need will free up some psychic energy so you feel lighter and clearer, having a clear idea of who you are and what you are doing in life is critical.  When you are in a fog of not knowing it’s hard to make decisions on what’s needed when you don’t know who you are becoming when you feel your life is in transition.  Be bold, be brave and let go anyway. Using the questions below will help you move forward.
6 Good questions to ask. Avoid asking will I ever need this because you will probably say yes. Better to ask: “Does this bring me joy? Does it lift my energy? Is this really making a contribution in my life?  Is it beautiful, do I love it? Is it serving me right now to have it? If I let it go will I be creating space for something better and more wonderful to come in?  Does it support me being of service in the world?  Would someone else get more use or joy from having this?
7 Act like you are moving. I love this tip. I stumbled upon it on a brilliant site. I am going to use that myself over the next month as I do my own clearing and culling. Each year I have groups of people spend whole weekends in the Healthy Home on retreats and I absolutely have to have everything under control so I can handle the scrutiny of having book readers in my own home!!
8 Simplicity. This is the antidote to complexity.  The more you have to juggle in your own life the clearer your home and work environments need to be. The more intricate and overloaded your thoughts become then the blanker the external canvas needs to be.

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