How Decluttering My Life Freed Up My Mental And Physical Space For Personal Growth.
The moment I discovered my stuff had to go!
The Accidental Purge
I’m not a minimalist. Let’s start there. But I now understand why minimalists live a simpler life.
If you ever moved homes at any point in your life, you probably experienced the moment when you finally discovered that you have too much stuff.
It may have been the point where you were packing all of your boxes and realized that you ran out of boxes. How could this be? You ask. You were pretty sure it would only take ten boxes to pack you up, but you discovered that it took 20. Ouch! Reality check.
Not uncommon to the average person, things accumulate over time. Just like habits, clutter takes form daily. If we are not careful to purge and refresh what we have (clothing, material, collectibles, furniture, etc.), we can create a sense of confusion, heaviness, and clutter around us.
This reality check happened to me when I was moving to a new state. Even though I purged before moving, I was still surprised by the number of things that moved with me.
While going through this process of moving, I had to wait for my things to arrive. For one month, I was unintentionally forced to survive with the bare minimum that I had with me.
Guess what? The only thing I missed was my work desk and my monitor. I became content with the little that I had and ultimately asked myself why I needed all of these things in the first place.
This experience opened my eyes to a new reality, why have more when I can survive with less? Since then, I have been intentionally purging.
Why do we accumulate so much stuff?
We’re a consumerist society where we are encouraged to enjoy the latest, most popular, or most fabulous items on the market. It’s effortless to get caught up in the trends. Somewhere along the line, we’re told that that’s what we need. New clothes from the Gap, check.
The latest gadget to keep up with all things social media, check.
The beautiful glass bowls from Target, absolutely…put them in the cart!
But is this really what we need? More things?
How about taking the time we would otherwise lose while trying to find something in our cluttered spaces and instead use that time to enjoy the simpler things life has to offer? Long stretch?
In my experience, the freedom that came with decluttering my life left me feeling open, happy, less frustrated, and a whole lot less materialistic.
How does decluttering help with personal development?
Personal development requires honesty, intentionality, and consistency, among other things.
The process of decluttering helps us to exhibit these behaviors. We have to be honest with ourselves about how often we use the things we possess. It can be challenging to let go of things that have sentimental value. However, we often attach importance to things to which we genuinely do not have much attachment. A quick way to tell if something is valuable to you is how often you use it.
Interestingly, the average woman wears only 20 to 25% of her available wardrobe. So, what happens to the other 75 or 80%? It takes up space, collects dust, or encourages confusion. The Chances are that it’s not as valuable as you may have initially thought if you haven’t worn an item.
Honesty starts with accepting that we don’t NEED everything we have but rather face the fact that it is primarily a WANT. When we can be honest in this way, it permits us to look at other areas of our lives to take similar action. This awareness ultimately leads to incredible growth because we make more room for the things that matter.
Decluttering also helps us to be more intentional about the things we bring into our lives. By being aware of our needs and surroundings, we take better care to only include those things that will enrich us rather than zap our energy, clutter our brains or disrupt our sense of peace.
Finally, by consistently practicing the ‘less is more approach, we have space to see more significant opportunities. Too much clutter (physical and mental) requires thinking to process. When there is less to process regularly, the vision becomes more evident.
Growth thrives on clarity. If personal development is important to you, I encourage you to begin with the process of examining your surroundings. What are you holding on to that no longer has value in your life? What energy is being consumed by these items that you could free up for a greater purpose? How much more can you achieve if you had more space to think and to create?
The Top 10 Benefits of Decluttering
There are many benefits to decluttering, but here are ten that can change our outcomes:
- Improves creativity
- It frees up your physical space
- It gives clarity of thought and mind
- Improves productivity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Releases negative energy from cluttered surroundings
- Doing your part to help the environment. If we each consumed less, we could make a more significant impact on the climate
- It opens us up to give more
- Saves money
- It makes us more intentional in what we do.
We believe that personal growth is a choice. Though I accidentally discovered my need to purge, I chose to see the lesson in the experience. For me, it was life-changing. I hope that by knowing what clutter can do and hearing a firsthand experience of how someone’s life improved from consuming less, you will have the courage and encouragement to begin your purge — this time, with purpose and intention.
“In the never-ending battle between order and chaos, clutter sides with chaos every time. Anything that you possess that does not add to your life or your happiness eventually becomes a burden.”
― John Robbins