I’ve always been a tidy person. Even when I was young my bedroom needed to be ordered and clean. I used to line my Sweet Valley High books up in order on my white bookshelf, and every little trinket had its place. I don’t remember decluttering at this age, but I also don’t remember having anything I didn’t like, need or use.
Being so tidy and neat, even at age 10, was an act of self-care. I felt calmer and more peaceful when everything was ‘just so’.
Of course, when I was young I only had the one room to keep tidy. Now, I have 11 rooms, including the garage and hallway. There are 4 humans, a dog, a cat, 4 chickens and 2 pet rats. Life gets chaotic, and mess gets made. And I’m no longer that perfectly tidy and ordered person.
But I’m still a girl that needs to take care of herself.
Heck most days, in this stage of life, I need bucket-loads of self-care. And it doesn’t always need to be bathing in Epsom salts or having a facial.
For me, having a simplified and uncluttered home is a form of self-care.
When clutter gets overwhelming
It wasn’t long after having my second baby that I decided I wanted to live with less. I simply didn’t have the time to keep up with everything like I did pre-children. I felt easily overwhelmed looking at all my stuff.
I hated that spot on the kitchen counter where all the random bits and pieces gravitated too. Sunglasses, keys, junk mail, painkillers, hair ties, the letter I’d been meaning to post. You probably have one of these spots in your house too.
And the kid’s toys! I resented any toys that had more than five separate bits. Tiny little pieces that would hide under sheets or rugs. No way! I would uncompromisingly discard anything that I couldn’t find a home for in two minutes. Stuff annoyed me. I felt as though it was taking over my life.
So I started to purge. At first, I concentrated on the toys, and my own things, like my overflowing wardrobe, but because getting rid of things felt so good, I kept going.
As cliche as it sounds, every single bag or box I dropped off at goodwill or item I sold online was like a weight lifting off my shoulders. I had no idea how much this ‘stuff’ was affecting me. I felt less stressed and anxious, and less overwhelmed every time I got rid of another box. It reminded me of how I felt as a 10-year-old, lining up my books, ordering my soft toys.
Everything in its rightful place. Everything ‘just so’. It felt good.
Some of these things that were purged hadn’t been touched in years. And yet they somehow had been taking up a small corner of space in my brain.
Things I’ve decluttered
A box of letters my high school friends and I had written to each other
My hanger of skinny jeans – just in case
Spare phone chargers – how had we accumulated so many!
CD’s (Spotify is the minimalist’s best friend)
ALL of my textbooks, assignments, and notes from university
Any jewelry I hadn’t worn in the last year
Linen! Any 3rd or 4th set of linen, two sets for each bed was enough
Mismatched cups that I didn’t even like
Piles and piles of books.
Decluttering ebbs and flows
Even though I write about simplifying, I haven’t been in a decluttering season. My husband has been renovating, and I’ve been writing. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a good stocktake and declutter. And things accumulate. Particularly when you aren’t the only one who brings things into the home.
This spring (fall for those in the Northern Hemisphere), I decided that I would take a sideways step away from my writing. I’m taking some time to be in my beautiful home and re-simplify it.
Because I wholeheartedly believe that decluttering is a form of self-care.
The consequences of clutter
- Clutter can be a cause of stress, fatigue, and depression.
- Clutter can overload our frontal cortex, making it difficult to be productive
- Too much clutter can affect how we sleep
- Clutter has negative effects on our relationships (half of the participants in this study said clutter caused tension or arguments).
- Clutter often coincides with health problems, such as obesity.
It’s a fairly logical deduction then that decluttering can; reduce stress, fatigue, and depression, help us be more productive, reduce tension with our loved ones, and help us live more healthy lives.
Heck, I’m sold.
But sometimes you need that extra push to get you there. Sometimes you need to be held accountable for the choices you make.
That’s where Uncluttered comes in.
Uncluttered is a 12-week long course created by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, and he has had over 20,000 people participate in the course so far.
The course is broken up into four modules;
Module 1: Know your why’s
Module 2: Change your home
Module 3: Develop new habits
Module 4: Experiment with less
Each module contains a video or interview with a leader in the minimalist movement and a guide to the week’s challenge. It also includes 3 live webinars, where you can ask Joshua some of your more tricky questions.
And possibly the best part – you get access to a private Facebook group of other Uncluttered participants. Here you can get a pretty constant access to motivation, tips and inspiration from current and past participants.
I’m an Uncluttered newbie and I can’t wait to dive in and tackle all the challenges.
If you are considering taking the course alongside me, I’m very pleased to be able to offer you a friends and family discount of a huge 25%! (just enter FF25 at the checkout).
I’m looking forward to 12-weeks of self-care.
P.S. Registrations for Uncluttered closes very soon – September the 2nd!
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