How much clutter do you have in your life?

What does clutter have to do with mindfulness, and ultimately wellness?

Disorganized people with cluttered lives often feel frustrated, anxious or out of control. Surrounded by mess and chaos, it can be hard to truly unwind and relax.

Surrounded by “stuff” and holding on to items from the past keeps us stuck back there, instead of allowing for growth and change.

You’ve got to create space for something new to emerge.

 Minimizing and organizing also provide the foundation (ie zen space) for real change to happen.

Letting go of items tied to the “you of the past”, creates the lightness for the new you to soar.

Being mindful of your possessions and where you put them, creates a ripple effect of mindful intentionality in your life.

As decluttering expert Peter Walsh puts it: “Things that are left undone can be your own undoing. They just add stress and waste precious time. Organising is the act of giving yourself more time and peace of mind.”

Just as I used to be a really sick person (you can read more about that here), I also used to be a really chaotic, messy and disorganized person.

My bedroom routinely looked the aftermath of ground zero for a tornado touchdown.

My sister called me a hurricane.

Even though I had convinced myself that I “knew where everything was,” I didn’t really. I was forever digging through piles to find what I needed.

I also held on to clutter for way too long. In the name of “memories” and sentimentality, I had boxes of stuff in storage at my mom’s AND my dad’s (yep, spanning two countries).

It’s no surprise that when I started to clean up my act, literally, other aspects of my life began to flow more effortlessly.

“Decluttering is the number one step in the feng shui process because, if energy can’t flow freely, nothing else can begin to improve,” says personal organiser Kerri Rodley, who is also secretary of the Association of Feng Shui Consultants. She says the bedroom is the best place to start, since this is the most important room for healing and rejuvenation.

I had conveniently forgotten about the “messy me” until one of my best friends, and former roommates (who I lived with during some of my worst “natural disaster phases”) recently said to me: “How does Luis feel about your messiness?”

At first I was taken aback, like excuuuuuuse me?? Moi, messy!?! But then I had to laugh and remember the old me that she knew, and that the organized, minimalist, tidy me is relatively new.

Spring is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and create space for more awesomeness, abundance and change. 

Think about the many aspects of your life that could do with a cleansing.

  • Your closet: do you still have party dresses, high heels and/or accessories that are so “old you” that you will probably never wear them (but maybe are holding on for nostalgia’s sake?) – Put them in a bag, and donate them!!

  • Your bathroom: Do you have unused hair products? Glitter? Make up and accessories that are either expired or outdated? Clear it out!! See if there’s a “Ladies night” at a local women’s shelter, they sometimes accept donations of used makeup and beauty products.

  • Your cupboards: do you have a shot glass collection? Customized pint glasses? Other drinking paraphernalia? It’s time to get rid of it!! Or, transform it. Can you turn martini glasses into money catchers (for loose change) or other glasses into vases? If you can’t transform it into something that beauties your space, pack it up and donate it!

  • Your purse/wallet: You may wonder that this has to do with your health and wellbeing… but think about it. How much unnecessary stress comes from financial challenges? As Kate Northrup, author of “Money: A Love Story” says: Your purse and wallet are your daily money receptacles. To attract more abundance you’ve got to create a soothing, decluttered container for it. That means streamlining your purse and wallet.

Here are a few more tips from Body + Soul website on how to declutter:

  • Start small, even if it’s only with a single drawer or cupboard

  • Make decluttering a quick 15-minute weekly routineGet in the habit of putting things away, than “doing it later”Store away seldom used items, and dispose or donate unused onesUse plenty of containers when storing items

  • Have friends help, they aren’t as attached to your things as you are

  • Teach your kids to be responsible for their mess

  • Address the emotional reasons why you collect clutter

In the spirit of making bold declarations and holding myself accountable, I have created the following event.

It’s planned for 2 weeks from today, and I’ll have to follow through!! I’m going to get the remaining boxes of stuff I have in storage and comb through my closest, and give it away. This includes mini-skirts I will never wear again, crop tops, high heeled boots, office wear from 5 years ago when I went through a “Scarlett Johanson is my style icon” phase (nice dresses, but I have no use for them now!), scarves, accessories and more.

What action can you take today to begin to declutter your life, and your mind? How will you create more spaciousness, and invite more abundance into your life?