Everywhere I look these days people are talking and writing about getting rid of clutter.
Books, magazines, blogs, even reality tv shows are all trying to help others get out from under their piles of stuff.
But as a decluttering junkie who’s always hoping someone has uncovered the secret for being effortlessly clutter-free, I’m often disappointed by what I hear.
You see, lots of this advice isn’t about decluttering at all — it’s about how to put stuff away so it looks tidier. Which is great, but decluttering is actually about getting rid of unnecessary stuff.
And when they do talk about removing things, these articles make it seem like it’s simply about ditching the stuff you’re not using.
Most decluttering advice doesn’t work because it’s focused on the wrong things.
First and foremost, decluttering is about removing things
There’s no point in trying to contain or organize too much stuff.
It’s a waste of time and energy.
It just blows up into a big mess again quickly. And leaves you feeling like you can never get ahead of it.
So if every time you go to get something, you need to move something else out of the way … you have too much stuff.
But it’s not enough to just get rid of what you don’t — or can’t — use.
Because honestly, you’ll still have too much stuff. (Most people do.)
Decluttering means looking at your stuff from a new perspective
Most people — and most advice — focus on getting rid of what’s broken, worn-out and not being used.
But when we’re clearing out, I ask women to go further.
I tell them to let go of anything they no longer want, need or are willing to look after.
And I give them permission to let go of anything that they don’t love. As well as anything that doesn’t support the life they want to live.
See the difference there?
Decluttering is not just about getting rid of unnecessary things — it’s about connecting with what you want, and making space for it.
So I say ditch the things that aren’t a hell yes.
Because that makes it easier to let go
Most people struggle with clutter because they don’t know how to get rid of things when they think they should keep them.
But when you ask whether these things have a place in the life you want to live and whether you love them, the fog clears.
All of a sudden that shift in perspective frees you to just let it go.
Because you want to.
Or keep it, because you want to.
You’re no longer thrashing around trying to decide.
You recognize that could keep it, but you no longer feel compelled to.
What’s most often overlooked is the fact that getting rid of clutter is about changing how you think about your stuff … and changing your habits.
Recognize this is a process
The whole reality tv thing has people thinking they should be able to clear out their whole house in one fell swoop. But the truth is that doesn’t actually work.
It’s too emotionally taxing for one thing.
And even if you managed it, the stuff would come rushing back in almost immediately because it takes time to adjust.
When you’re used to being surrounded by clutter, you need to get comfortable with having less physical stuff around you.
You also need to develop the habit of making decisions about your stuff … instead of just putting it aside to deal with later.
Most decluttering advice doesn’t work because it doesn’t encourage you to look at your stuff from a different perspective. It doesn’t encourage you to let go of everything that doesn’t light you up rather than put it away neatly in a box somewhere.
Recognize that you’ll never feel like you’re getting ahead of the clutter until you stop shifting it around and tidying it up. Let go of anything that doesn’t feel good to you … so you can make space for what does.
How about you?
What can you get rid of because it no longer has a place in the life you want? What can you get rid of because, frankly, you’re tried of looking after it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments — click here to share what you’re ditching.
Want clutter clearing advice you can actually use?
If you’re ready to shift your perspective on your stuff … and ditch the clutter — click here to be first in line for Making Space. The doors open for registration next week so this is your last chance to get the special Insider price. The clutter busting kicks off this September — see you there!