Trees letting go of their leaves in fall

3 Keys to Reduce Overwhelm While You Declutter

I’m getting a housemate! And that means it’s time to go to the next level with my personal decluttering. For one thing, I’m about to lose one room and one closet, and there are only two closets in the house!

As I go through this process, I notice how much the answers to the questions ”Do I love this?” and “Do I use this?” have changed since the last time I decluttered, which wasn’t that long ago. 

As I continue to grow and my life continues to change, my feelings and needs for my belongings have also changed. Making space for someone else also puts added weight to the question, “Do I have room for this?” It really changes the answer to the first two questions when you don’t have the space.

Here are my 3 Keys to Reduce Overwhelm While You Declutter

1) First, ask yourself: What are the things in my life that are important to me and make me feel alive? 

Get clear on the answer to this question. You may find there are some things in your life you’re not doing but long to be doing more.

I started my decluttering process by first getting clear about the things in my life that are important to me. I discovered that most of those things had nothing to do with the majority of my belongings. Getting clear about what is truly important to me and reminding myself of my values gave me the inspiration and boost I needed to truly answer the questions in key #2.

2) Evaluate the energy of your belongings to help you decide what to keep, instead of focusing on what you want to let go of. 

Do this by holding each item, one at a time, and ask each of these questions:

  1. Do I love this?
  2. Do I use this?
  3. Do I have a room for this?

If the answer is no, let it go!

One category where I discovered how my feelings and needs for my belongings have changed were my cookbooks. My relationship to food and cooking has changed quite a bit over the last few years. I’ve always been more of a ‘make things up as I go along’ versus a ‘follow a recipe from a book’ kind of cook.

I still used and enjoyed cookbooks at times, and I had paired down my cookbooks to eight favorites a while ago. But, since then, my eating habits have changed quite a bit. I no longer eat gluten or dairy, and the majority my cookbooks used both heavily. This time after asking the questions, “Do I love this, do I use this, do I have room for this?” I realized that it’s been years since I’ve used any of them. This helped me to pair down to my favorite three, and I suspect I will use and enjoy them much more then when I had eight.

3) Make room for your feelings

Decluttering can feel terribly overwhelming. Emotions, resistance, dust, grime, being face-to-face with decisions and crap we didn’t want to deal with then but have to deal with now—this can all weigh us down.

If you stay focused on the vision of how you want your home to look and feel and what matters to you and let yourself feel your feelings, you’ll find you can let go of things you no longer need or want with gratitude, and say YES to the things that light up your life now.

You’ll start to feel light, bouncy and happy. You will actually get charged up from facing things because at long last you are making decisions about things that were tying up your energy.

Energetically, being free of the things that are no longer important to us feels very liberating! It feels wonderful to be surrounded by the things that truly have meaning and support the vision for your life. And after you declutter, you can really see and appreciate what you’ve chosen to keep.

It’s common for people to go through a stage of fear and worry that if they get rid of things they won’t have enough. The way to get through that and experience the many benefits of decluttering is to simply be present with all the emotions that come up during the process.  Fear is about the future and the 3 keys will help to bring you back to the present moment. If you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, pause and take a few deep breaths and notice how you’re feeling. Remember you don’t have to let go of anything you’re not ready to let go of.

The benefits that I have experienced from decluttering include: 
  • A feeling of joy and gratitude for all that I do have. A deeper appreciation for the blessings in my life.
  • A profound feeling of abundance and prosperity from taking stock of what I have, what is truly important to me, and from letting go of what is not. 
  • And my possessions are glowing, sparkling, and have taken on deeper meaning for me. 

By taking the time out of your busy life to take stock of what truly has value and meaning to you, and then letting go of the things that don’t, you will access a life full of motivation, inner peace and purpose. 

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