Declaring Freedom From Clutter

As I have started to make changes in my life and looking for ways to improve things, I came across the idea of minimalism. It’s something that struck my interest right away. If you don’t already know what minimalism is, it’s “a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important — so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom” (borrowed from the minimalists). Basically you go from striving for more and more (quantity) to reducing your material possessions and activities and focusing on things that really matter (quality). Your learn that happiness if not found in “stuff” but is found from within yourself. Everything you keep has meaning and a purpose. Just like life minimalism is different for everyone, it can take many forms and there are no hard and fast rules.

Some people go all in and own less then a 100 items, some live in tiny homes, whiles others just clean up the clutter in their homes and lives. It should not be restrictive, It should be somethings that frees you…

For me, I am focusing on decluttering…freeing up space and energy in my life.

Drowning In Clutter

I have been slowly realizing that I am surrounded by clutter…I am someone who hates to get rid of things. I am always thinking “I might need that someday”, only to keep something for years and not use it again. Adding to the mix, I inherited several households of things over the years. So you can imagine how things have built up. No, I am not a hoarder, but I do have way too much stuff!

So much in fact, that it was starting to drive me crazy! My life has been disorganized and crazy for a while and all the clutter has added to that feeling. As I looked around the house, I almost felt claustrophobic.

I wanted to take control of my life and it became evident that clearing the clutter needed to be the first step.

Jumping In

I have a home office/multi-purpose room in that has become a catch all for kids toys, books, and just plain clutter. Since this is by far the worst room, I decided to start with it….yep, that was a mistake!!

I quickly became overwhelmed by everything…It was harder then I imagined, trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Like I said, I am someone who likes to hold onto things. So it was very mentally draining for me.

I eventually decided just to focus on one desk in the room. It took most of the day to clear of the desk. I actually ended up getting rid of the desk as well, condensing two desks into one.

I took a week break, then tackled the rest of the room. Once again it was mentally and physically draining. Though, it did go faster this time. In fact, the more I got rid of, the easier it was to say goodbye to things. Momentum takes over after a certain point.

Afterwards, the room looked 10x bigger! In fact, a friend of mine stopped by and thought I had torn down a wall or something since it seemed so big.

I can’t stop starring at the room now. It just looks so much better and the energy of the room has improved as well! Last night I realized the whole family was hanging out in the room, instead of the living room as normal. It’s amazing how changing the room has changed the habits of the family.

Besides improving the function of the room…Clearing out the clutter has also improved my mental outlook and kick started my efforts to change other areas of my life. Actually. it’s what gave me the energy and passion to start this blog.

Tips / Action Steps

If you’re interested in experimenting with minimalism, here are a few tips and action steps that might help.

  • Start small — It’s easy to get over whelmed at first. You don’t want to quit before you really get started. So start small with a table, closet, or even just getting rid of one item a day.
  • Keep only if — Keep items only if they have meaning or a purpose. If you have not used the item in 6 months to a year, then it’s safe to say it should probably go.
  • Donate or sell items — Sometimes it makes it easier to get rid of items if… you know the items is going to a good home, you’re making money from it, or know you’re helping someone else out.
  • It’s not all material — Not everything that needs to go are material items. Sometimes it’s too many “activities”, superficial relationships that no longer work, or even thoughts that no longer serve us.

I will keep you updated on my further experiments in minimalism and I hope you will let me know if you give it a try as well!

Keep moving forward,

~Tim~

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