Declutter Your Life Now (and Reclaim Your Sanity)

Declutter your lifeDeclutter your life and you’ll reclaim your sanity? Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it?

On the one hand, yes, I’ll grant that it does smack of those ‘life hacks’ I usually try to steer clear of, but bear me out here.

I’m not saying spring cleaning your home will render you instantly sane again, but it will certainly have a positive effect on your life.

Declutter Your Life for Good, Not Just for Now

However, should you wish to hang onto that resulting sense of wellbeing a little while longer (like forever), then you first need to extend your efforts beyond the obvious.

People invariably assume that the physical clutter is the problem child in this equation, but stuff is invariably a symptom of a much larger issue.

When you make the decision to declutter your life as a whole, you’ll see real and lasting change take place.

In his book Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life, Joshua Becker reminds us that life is too valuable to waste chasing possessions.

At just $2,99 (less than the cost of a trip to Starbucks) and packed with practical tips and personal stories, the book is well worth a read.

Go ahead and buy it, but make sure you work on those underlying issues as well!

Just in Case

My Mom always referred to herself as a JIC person. It drove me around the bend, because going out with her was never a straightforward affair. I’d arrive to fetch her for lunch on a blistering hot day and she’d insist on bringing a coat, an umbrella and a shopping bag with the kitchen sink.

And those were just the JIC items she kept on her person. She also had countless other things in the house that she hung onto just in case she might need them someday.

[Tweet “”Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” —Eleanor Roosevelt”]

There were the six inch glitter gold sandals (this was the seventies, hello Bee Gees!) she wore once to a Christmas ball and never again, the pair of jeans she bought but never found the courage to wear and the tennis racquet she no longer used. The list goes on (and on).

After she passed away, my aunt told me about an incident that had happened to Mom when she was much younger. Suddenly her need to be prepared for any eventuality made sense, she just needed to feel in control.

Declutter Your Habits and Issues First

Mom never took me up on my declutter challenge (no matter how many times I tried to cajole her into doing it). But even if she had, I doubt it would have made any difference. Before long, she would have been up to her ears in stuff again.

Why? Without first addressing her issues or her many other habits and foibles (Mom was nothing if not quirky), there would have been no point to the exercise. We’d have dealt with the symptom instead of looking for the cause.

As part of the silent generation, it’s unlikely my mother would have been willing or even able to properly unpack the issue that drove her to hoarding. But if she had I can only imagine how much easier her life would have been. For one thing that JIC albatross around her neck would very likely have disappeared.

There’s definitely something to be said for simplifying your life. So how about it, what is your clutter albatross? Let us know in the comments if you have one and more importantly, what you plan to do about it. Who knows, maybe we can help!

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  1. Hello there!

    I don’t think the claim made in the title to this piece is far-fetched, in fact being clutter free can do that and much more!

    My clutter has typically been paper work and stuff the kids have grown out of. Also renovating materials I have failed to re-home. The result of this stuff lurking in boxes and cluttering up the hallway was that I could not get my renovations finished The thought of moving the stuff to finish painting etc was just too much. Eventually I got onto it, and low and behold, a huge wave of energy came over me. Hallway needs painting – done! Kitchen needs ripping out and rebuilding – done!

    While I was pulling out the kitchen back in November I accidentally burnt down the back 3 rooms of my house – yes really! (the part I had already rebuilt!) It was a very tough time, but had I had a lot of stuff it would have been a complete nightmare. Other than bedroom things and my music, most of our worldly possessions were destroyed. It was all of the practical stuff – pots and pans, towels, bed linen, gardening gear etc…I was given 48 hours by the fire clean up people to pack up the remaining part of the house to be taken away and cleaned (soot, smoke). I can tell you in that moment I felt so grateful not to have any excess as it was absolutely exhausting under the circumstances as it was.

    Something people often say is, oh, if there was a fire I would grab my photos, my prized collection of whatevers etc…I can tell you for sure that no such thing crosses your mind – it’s get the kids, get the dogs and get out! And quite honestly, although some lovely things were lost I don’t miss any of it. You realise how much the practical things are important – things like your toothbrush, having a broom, a glass to drink from etc…!

    The good news is that the house is rebuilt, including the new kitchen, and I have begged people please, please NO GIFTS for my upcoming 50th so I can keep my peace of mind 🙂


    1. Hi Madeleine

      I’m chuffed you agree that the title isn’t too far-fetched! We didn’t think it was either. Ha ha.

      Isn’t it amazing how we let the perceived enormity of a situation prevent us from doing something. I know I do it all the time. So kudos to you for moving past that and getting stuff done!

      Now to the bigger question. How on earth did you manage to burn down half your house?! That’s crazy, although Sporty and I really appreciated the life lesson you got from that i.e. practical things matter more in those situations. We were actually trying to think of a way to turn it into a post because I’m sure it’s something many people would benefit from knowing. The part about practical stuff being important, not how to burn your house down! Lol.

      Now for a virtual high five on your upcoming 50th! You’re so right, there are many things people could get you rather than more stuff. Wine and chocolate always come to mind, but another nice thing is to ask friends to donate to a favourite charity.

      When is your birthday by the way? My big five oh is next March (I’ve just turned 49). Sporty turned 50 a couple years back, but doesn’t look a day over 30 (probably because she acts like a seven year old most of the time!).

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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