Monday, December 22, 2008

Focus Challenge - Month 10

This month's Focus Challenge comes during the time that a person who struggles with mental clutter would identify as a "difficult" time of year. I'm not knowledgeable on the traditions of all religions and all cultures, but I am guessing that most of us are celebrating during this season by exchanging gifts in some way.

After working on ourselves and our spaces for many months to slowly (one-item-a-day) release clutter from our lives, this may be the time of year when we could take in a whole lot more. I say could because the choice is ours. There is no guilt allowed here in the 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge...whether in decluttering past clutter or present clutter!

We'll receive an item and go through the wrenching dance between our mind and heart, or even between us and others, about whether we should keep the item. If, instead, we feel positive feelings and the sentence reads, "We'll receive an item and feel ___ (positive feeling here)", the end result will undeniably be we will keep the item.

For experiences that have a "should", realize that you've given up the power of your choice to clutter...both physical and mental!

An end result with a "will" in it is most importantly a decision of your own choosing. A much better way of living, don't you agree?

Hopefully, we have been taught civilized manners and are gracious when receiving a gift. Regardless of it feeling like clutter, mental or otherwise, we know (or are learning) that we are not obligated to accept mental clutter attached to a gift. And, we are already gaining momentum in purging physical clutter from our life. We won't be stopped by this physical clutter.

Only in a private moment with ourselves, after showing kindness to the gift-giver for their thoughtfulness, do we choose to allow the gift into our life or choose to let the clutter go.

Your Focus Challenge is to focus your decluttering efforts for the next month on mental decluttering. For now, it will be on gifts. As the new year begins, with a newer "you" than the last, you will also be setting up a foundation for purging even more clutter from your life.

Happy Holidays to you. Here's to an even Happier New Year!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Defining Clutter...

A good question was recently posted in the comments on Focus Challenge - Month 9.

Sometimes, items put away nice and neatly stay under the Decluttering Radar or confuse us. I thought this would be a good post for most of us to read, just to make sure our Decluttering Radars are still charged up and ready. :-)

My answer follows Jacqui's question. What do you think? Do they count as clutter? I'd love to hear your input!

Jacqui said...

Do boxes stored in the attic and in the garage count as clutter? =) I have a hard time letting go. It's definitely getting easier since I'm running out of room to neatly store things out of sight. I'm mostly an "a place for everything, everything in it's place" person. But with the kids accumulating more things and with my sewing obsession (without a room to put it in), its getting harder to store them neatly. My daughter has no problem letting go of most things, but my son is more like me. Of course Mike would just like to see it all go. LOL

Blogger Suzanne said...

Jacqui: First, hello my long-lost friend!!! :-)

Clutter is any thing you don't Love, Want, Need or Use. Defining your own things as clutter or not is only a decision you can make.

Items stored in boxes, whether in an attic, garage, on a closet shelf or just on the floor are only clutter if they don't meet the above criteria.

- Do you want them? This is probably yes, since you've taken care to store them away. But, sometimes, this is the easiest question to answer because we surprise ourselves and realize that, no, we don't want them. So, out it must go!

- Do you use these things? If no, then they are clutter. Decide to use them and do it, or realize that you need less physical clutter in your life and let them go. When you purge the physical clutter, the mental clutter follows it out the door. Imagine, not having the friction against Mike's desires and your own, not forgetting what you have and spending money on more, not feeling emotional mental clutter about it (see next item), etc.

- Do you love them...or do they make you sad, feel guilty, make your life feel inadequate (as in you wish you had time for other interests, but don't, and these things just remind you of that dissatisfaction), etc.? If they bring on unhappy feelings, they are clutter.

- Do you need them? If they are used and loved, then think about whether you need them. For example: Say you have one of something in your kitchen but have another that a relative gave you. That one isn't really your favorite so you put it away for "special occasions". If you bring it out and use it, then only you can decide whether its useful in your life to have a duplicate of something. If you are only keeping the second because of mental clutter, let it go. Find it a better home. Selling or giving things to someone who WILL use, love, need and want them will not be clutter to them, as they were to you.

Happy Decluttering!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network