On Sunday I received the following email from one of 365’s regular readers asking a question I am sure we all wonder about at times.
Tell me, does this decluttering task ever come to an end? I attacked my clothes cupboard this morning – shoes to go, shoes to demould and then decide, shoes to keep – a jacket for my daughter, two blouses to the hospice shop, a pair of trousers to try on (some time), and the rest to face another day. During six weeks of convalescing I have tidied away a mountain of papers, and organised the rest, read many books, and sent most on their way, and still I can hardly see a lot of change (except in my outlook). Do we ever get to a stage where we can say “There’s nothing else to get rid of”? I’d really like to know.
I must admit after decluttering non-stop for the last, almost, 17 months I have often wondered the very same thing. That being said I am not getting impatient to see the last of my clutter leave the house in fact I am very happy to still be plodding along. I have noticed lately thought that I have gotten to the stage where I know I am now dealing with items I have been ignoring almost since the beginning. Items I have known that I intended to get rid of but for one reason or another kept putting off. I suppose this is a sign that I am getting to the bottom of the heap and will soon be entering the maintenance stage.
Back to the question at hand and why decluttering can feel like an endless task at times. First of all we have to face the fact that the clutter didn’t appear over-night so it isn’t going to disappear over-night either. There are lots of memories tied up in some of the clutter that makes it difficult to part with quickly. There are phases we have to accept we are done with before getting rid of the related clutter. There is some clutter that requires a lot of time to deal with like the mountains of paper the e-mailer mentioned above. There are many items that when removed don’t even seem to make a dent in the collection. And if you are like me and most of your clutter was well hidden throughout the house you really won’t notice it is gone unless you open a cupboard or two.
The e-mailer actually hit the nail on the head when they wrote this line ~ “I can hardly see a lot of change (except in my outlook)” ~ this is key to the situation. Even though it isn’t always visually obvious that we have reduced our clutter so long we know in our head we have and feel the relief from this burden lifted from our shoulders then we are winning the battle.
Decluttering can be a bit like weight loss ~ if you go on a quick loss diet you will likely loose a lot of weight fast and then put it back on again soon enough because you haven’t changed your lifestyle. If you educate yourself about better eating habits and change your diet to suit, then you are likely to have a gradual weight loss and the wisdom to know how to keep that weight off. Similarly if you declutter in a rush only focusing on making room for the next thing to come along then you will be back to square one in no time. If you learn from your clutter, understand the tendencies that cause the clutter to accumulate and break those habits you are more likely to reach your declutter goal and never find yourself in such a cluttered mess again. This can take some time but it is well worth it in the long term.
I have decluttered my home quickly several times over the last twenty three years, getting rid of lots of stuff I didn’t want to take with me to my next location. In essence that was twenty three years of decluttering to end back at square one, actually worse than square one, with more stuff than when I started. In the last seventeen months or slow and steady decluttering I have learned so many lessons will have given me the wisdom never to get into that situation ever again.
So don’t be discouraged if your decluttering mission is taking a while just enjoy the process and soak up the lessons you are learning along the way. You and your home will be better for it in the long run.
Today’s Declutter Item
This is the craft clutter that I sold last week. I did bring home about half the paper I took to sell and the box of foam stamps at the RH bottom of the lower photo. I intend to drop the paper off at the school down the street before the week is up. The foam stamps I am not too sure about. I made $230 and donated quite a bit of stuff to the craft group who were so kind as to allow me to have the sale.
My Gratitude List
- Something that makes me laugh ~ When comedy shows reflect the silly goings on in your own life.
- Something Awesome ~ Freecycle
- Something to be grateful for ~ The 9pm cup of tea my husband makes me each night.
- Something that makes me happy ~ Doing little favours for people. That always feels good.
- Something I found fascinating ~ How sometimes your comfort zone is actually a case of “better the devil you know” when actually the grass can be a whole lot greener on the other side.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow