When we were brainstorming for ideas on how to write this post, we began thinking back to our own experiences with decluttering. We want to put it out there – that yes, that we are clean freaks and we thrive in neat spaces. Anything outside of this truly drives us wonko! And this is why we entertain decluttering on a regular basis. This is an activity that has brought us a sense of accomplishment and ease. However, we noticed that we also experienced resentment, frustration, overwhelm, and agitation. Of course, with decluttering, we had expectations – of a gorgeous but functional wardrobe, and an uncluttered, easy to clean home. We expected that others would help to declutter and maintain it to our standard. And the result of all these expectations caused friction in our relationships and added more responsibilities on our to-do list.
This decluttering process for us goes far beyond our closet and our home. It has impacted our time, money, our business, our family and perhaps most importantly, our joy and happiness.
Here, we want to share with you our findings about decluttering as we started to ask ourselves key questions and became present to our feelings and the impact it had in our life:
We discovered that the frustration was coming from the fact that decluttering takes a lot of time. Time that we’d rather be spending doing something else. We also realized that we were the only ones bothered by the clutter. And of course, the only ones who invested time in decluttering.
With our decluttering frenzy and our expectations for others to help us with the cleaning and maintenance, we definitely caused some friction and arguments with family members. We were also imposing upon others to let go of items that we considered clutter. In addition, we set standards that everyone else had to follow, based on what was considered neat and clutter free for us.
It occurred to us that this process of decluttering is not so much fun. It’s not something we enjoy. And just the thought of how much time we would need to invest and the friction that it creates in our relationships can be stressful.
We discovered that in our desire to look good, we ended up with an extensive wardrobe that overflowed to bins in the basement. The way that we were managing this was decluttering our wardrobe every season. While making multiple trips to donate our stuff, we realized that in our desire to look good, we had money leakage.
We can’t even imagine the amount of time we spent shopping for all our stuff, then to spend the time decluttering, packing it all, and then donating it. This has been an ongoing process for us…and a huge time waster!.
With awareness about all of this, we decided to take a deeper dive into the entire decluttering process and here are our key learnings and takeaways:
What is clutter to me may not be clutter to you.
When we judge others based on our own understanding of what is considered clutter, we create division, friction, and unnecessary arguments.
It’s about taking ownership and responsibility and not imposing on others to comply.
it’s about recognizing what is causing us to buy in excess or to buy items that do not bring value to our life.
The clutter that exists inside our closet is a reflection of the clutter in other areas of our lives, including our mind.
We realized that we were overspending when it came to clothing, food and kitchen gadgets. And we were present to this because we would accumulate stock piles that we could not wear, eat or use. This perpetuated an ongoing cycle of decluttering our homes…a process that we did not enjoy. The result was a waste of our time and money.
Decluttering has taught us a lot. And most importantly, it has reminded us to be intentional in the way that we spend our TIME + MONEY. Instead of cluttering our lives with stuff, we focus on filling our lives with more JOY + HAPPINESS.
1. Put a Plan in Place – decide who will be involved. Do you plan to do it on your own, enroll family members to help, or will you hire a professional? Decide when you want to get started, and how much TIME + MONEY you want to spend decluttering. Decide where you wish to dispose of your stuff. Will it go to family, friends, for donation, in the trash, or recycling depot?
2. Set Decluttering Rules – establishing rules that will help you to make decisions as you go through your stuff. For example, if you haven’t used an item in ‘x’ amount of years, you will let go of it. Or set a time limit in which to make a decision on whether you will keep or let go of an item. Another rule could be to go through item by item, or in bulk.
3. Schedule Your Time – decide how much time you want to spend and put it in your calendar. Also, decide the timeframe in which you want to finish this decluttering project. Don’t forget to set boundaries so that this activity does not interfere with doing what brings you joy and happiness.
4. Key Questions to Ask – every time you declutter something, ask yourself: why do I own this? How is it adding value to my life? Why should I keep it?
5. Acknowledge Your Emotions & Feelings – be present to your resistance of letting go. Work through your fear of loss or feelings of shame, remorse or guilt. Though this may not be an easy process, it can cause breakthroughs in your life.
6. Take Time to Reflect – what is the cost of your clutter? How much time have you invested in decluttering? What is the total dollar value of all the stuff that you have given way or disposed of? Would you prefer to spend your time + money doing more of what you love instead of decluttering? For everything that enters into your space, ask yourself how it’s contributing to your joy + happiness and your clutter free life.
7. Beyond Decluttering Your Stuff – clutter isn’t just the stuff that you can see. There are less visible forms of clutter that can have an impact on us mentally and emotionally.
When we started this journey of decluttering our wardrobes, we never imagined it would go far beyond the physical stuff. This little project gave us our first insight into the amount of time + money we were wasting. Once we got started, it wasn’t long before we were decluttering other aspects of our life.
How has been your experience with decluttering? Let us know in the comments below!
Marlene and Thuy have spent over 20 years in the financial industry helping individuals with their investment, insurances, lending needs and are former Financial Planner. Since then, they’ve discovered the missing link to money freedom because as they said: “Making more money and being financially savvy won’t necessarily give you the life you want – because money goes deeper than the numbers.” When you work with Marlene and Thuy, they will guide you through the deeper inner work to remove what is keeping you from having the life that they want.