It is amazing to me how quickly we can accumulate STUFF. I mean – my husband and I don’t shop very often, I don’t remember the last time we bought anything besides groceries. So how is it that we have a full garage, an office, and every cabinet space in the house filled with stuff we haven’t used in over 6 months?? How is my purse filled with random trash that never got emptied out?
As you can probably guess, I told my husband it was time to clean out this week, even if it isn’t quite spring time yet. Here are some things I have learned about clutter, my faith and cleaning out through this household purge I am going through right now.
1) If it is trash, get rid of it! It is amazing to me how many bottles of dried up, lid-won’t come off bottles of fingernail polish I have collected. It is amazing to me also how many pairs of pants I have that I no longer wear, because they are worn out. AND, yet! I threw away a trash bag full of these and other items. How many times in our lives are we clinging to old habits, useless ideas or even broken pieces that we know are trash? It’s time to take an inventory of your life’s clutter … if it is broken, used up or trash, go ahead and get rid of it!
2) If it is no longer servicing a purpose, give it away!
This is different than trash. These are the items you thought were going to be useful, but later you realize you didn’t need them. For me, this was the hair products that I like to buy, but never seem to use. Yes, I threw away about $100 of hair products that are basically brand new. But sometimes we need to clear out things that no longer serve a purpose in our lives. Isn’t this true about other types of dead weight, like bad relationships or guilt or fear? If it no longer serves a purpose, go ahead and clean it out.
3) Replace items, don’t add items!
I think this is the main reason we end up with too much clutter in our lives. For instance, my husband got us new phones back in August, but we kept the old phones… and the old printers… and the old laptops… and the old electronic cords… you get the idea, it’s all beginning to take over our garage and is planning on coming alive soon, I am sure. How often do we hold on to things that we intended to replace? Such as – you volunteered for another committee but the plan was to not continue on the one you were on… and now you are doing both. Whether with items in your house or responsibilities in your life, try to focus on replacing not just adding more clutter to your life.
4) If it hasn’t been used in 6 (or even 3) months, trash it!
ACCKKKK I hate holding on to useless items (can you tell yet??) I do not have items in my closet for that ‘in hopes that I lose weight’ day. I don’t have projects that I started, but never finished, because I throw them away. Maybe I just can’t stand options, they seem to waste my time and space. I hardly can handle having seasonal clothes in storage. However… when it comes to the rest of my life, I am really bad at getting rid of excess that is nothing more than a past hope or a potential project. Let’s focus on keeping only the things we truly need.
5) Don’t hold onto other people’s clutter.
That sounds silly doesn’t it? How often has someone given you something and you kept it… just because they gave it to you? I literally have only the bottom half of a cookie tin, because my sister gave me cookies in it. Why do I need that? I don’t know… but I feel bad throwing it away, so I keep it. And, that’s we need to go back and emphasis #1, #2 and #4 again. If it is trash, not serving a purpose or has not been used in 6 months, throw it away. This is also true with emotional clutter that we collect along our journeys – just because someone gave it to us, we don’t have to keep it. Detach from it and throw it away.
In conclusion, I think that one of the reasons we avoid cleaning out is that we are afraid it will take too long or it will take too much effort. Trust me, I get you on that, hence why I have collected 2 years of spam mailings in my office. However, I promise you – 15 minutes makes a HUGE difference. Just like in a relationship or with your faith, 15 minutes of uninterrupted focus can make a huge difference on the impact of the situation. Add a comment below telling me how you are de-cluttering your life right now.