It’s the emotional threads tied in with our belongings that make decluttering so difficult. The emotional side of clutter is often why people have clutter and why they put off decluttering.
Maybe a loved one died or a relationship ended and it was hard to fully grieve that loss. That can make it difficult to let go of or even look at the things left by that person. Or it might be challenging to look at things that remind you of a difficult time in your life. Modern life is very fast paced which doesn’t always allow for the time needed to fully process these life changes.
We are connected energetically to all our belongings. So even when our things are hiding in the closet, the attic or in storage they still impact our lives.
Feeling our emotions, allowing them to flow, is not always easy. For some of us it takes work. It’s easy to get in a pattern of resisting them. But whatever we resist persists and it will grow stronger. Emotions are energies and when we allow them to flow, even when painful, they move along.
One emotion that comes up a lot in the process of decluttering is fear.
This is what I’ve witnessed with my holistic decluttering clients and students, and in myself. Fear is often why we hold onto clutter in the first place. We feel afraid we will need it in the future or of making a mistake by letting it go. Afraid we’ll loose the memory attached to it. There is also the fear that we’ll miss it or need it when it’s gone. These are fears about the past and the future. Decluttering is a process of tuning into how you feel in the present moment about your things and your life as it is now. Tuning into your heart will help you find your courage to face your fears.
How to navigate the emotional side of clutter
While you are decluttering, if you find yourself feeling fear or overwhelmed by other emotions, pause to feel whatever you are feeling.
Bring yourself back to the present moment by reconnecting to your heart and feel your emotions. Simply focusing on your breath can help you do that. Pushing or pressuring yourself is not a good strategy (it never is).
At this point in the process, it may also be helpful to take a break outside and soak in the healing energies of Nature to bring some peace and calm.
Spending time in Nature helps to connect us to our heart. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Feel the sun on your face, admire the sky and the plants and feel your feet on the ground. That’s what I do and find it a helpful practice to do anytime I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed.