De-cluttering? Honor Who You Are Now & Who You’re Becoming

I’d like to share a comment from a reader who played the #MinsGame in February.  She was excited to report the release of a significant number items and sent me the following message:

Hi, Andrea – week one of the challenge – Collected things throughout the week and escorted them out of the house today. 28 items and 40 more pounds gone – YAY!!! Items included blouses/shirts, a mini trampoline, my cross-country skis (I used to have so much fun on), ski poles, a bike rack, an apron, some knick-knacks and empty boxes!! Looking forward to Week 2. -Cindy

While it was awesome how well Cindy was doing with the challenge, what I most appreciated about her message is how she referred to her cross-country skis as something she “used to have so much fun on.”  She realized and accepted those cross-country skis don’t mesh with her vision of current or future self.    What Cindy was doing is important for all of us who are de-cluttering our spaces and our lives.  She is creating space for who she is now and who she wants to be, by letting go of things that represent who she isn’t any more.

No matter what age you are,  I guarantee you’ve cycled through a number of roles in your life.  For example,  I used to be a mother of small children, I used to be an active volunteer in the schools, I used to be an avid cross-stitcher, I used to be a CPA.  If I held onto everything that supported these past roles or hobbies, there would be a lot of unnecessary clutter in my house – kids toys, clothing and equipment, notebooks full of volunteer materials, cross-stitch supplies galore and accounting texts and continuing education materials.  A few of these things remain, such as some special toys we’re saving for grandkids someday, some cross-stitch supplies for small projects and even two college accounting texts that I’ve actually referenced a number of times over the years.  The key is only holding on to what I’m using now or what supports who I am becoming.

Karen Kingston in her book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui  states, “Good things cannot easily come into your life if you block the flow of energy by persistently clinging to outdated clutter.” I couldn’t agree more.  When we hold onto the past there’s not only less room for stuff that supports the present and the future, there’s not enough room for energy to flow.  You not only deserve to have usable space in your home, you deserve the flow of positive energy throughout it.

As you look around your more cluttered spaces what do you see?  Do you see items that represent a past you, or do the items you see support who you are now or point towards who you’re becoming?

One easy way to tell is to listen to your language as you sort through your clutter.  For example, as you’re sorting through the clothing in your closet, are you saying “I love to wear this shirt”  or “I used to love this shirt.”  “I can’t wait to wear that skirt this summer!” or “I remember wearing that skirt when I was in college (15 years ago).”  When you go down into your basement do you see what remains of the scrapbooker you used to be or the stack of games you remember playing when your kids were young?  What might letting go of the “used to” or the “I remember”  do for your space and the energy in your space?  What choices could you make to honor who you are now and make room for who you are becoming?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

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10 Responses to “De-cluttering? Honor Who You Are Now & Who You’re Becoming”

  1. Michelle April 7, 2015 10:02 am #

    Hello Andrea, you just described my kitchen! Take care, Michelle

    • Andrea Sharb April 7, 2015 10:17 am #

      Michelle, you brought a huge smile to my face! I’m guessing a lot of readers are thinking the same thing this morning as they think about cabinets filled with sippy cups no longer used, pressure cookers that were once upon a time used for canning, and ice cream makers that were used one summer long ago… You’re definitely not alone. I look forward to seeing what we can do about creating a kitchen that better represents you at this point in your life. Hugs, Andrea

  2. Kathie England April 7, 2015 5:18 pm #

    Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui is one of my all-time favorite books about decluttering. It has helped me let go of many, many books over the past few years.

    • Andrea Sharb April 8, 2015 8:26 am #

      Kathie, I agree. It is a great decluttering book. Your post prompted me to go back and look at what she wrote about books specifically. I appreciated what Karen said about books being symbolic of your ideas and beliefs and was intrigued by the idea that having too many sit around might result in what I’ll call staleness of ideas. Makes we want to go upstairs and let go of a few more books to create space for the inflow of new ideas. : ) Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Ellen Delap April 12, 2015 12:17 pm #

    Powerful! It’s so important to acknowledge who you USED to be and who you are NOW. Yesterday a client and I had this conversation about how hard this can be. It’s sometimes sad to know you have moved on and important to embrace who you are now. Change is good but difficult. It takes time and thought.

    Love knowing that your client made such an impact in her life with the #minsgame.

    • Andrea Sharb April 12, 2015 6:05 pm #

      Ellen, I agree, it is powerful. Thanks for sharing your experience with your client. It can be especially hard when we’re focused on the perspective of what we’re giving up or who we’re giving up being. Some of those transitions are tougher than others. It can be a real game changer to keep the focus on what’s possible when it comes to who you’re becoming. As for the #MinsGame this go-round, seems like everyone I know who played had some really impressive results!

  4. Seana Turner April 23, 2015 4:13 pm #

    This is such a helpful perspective as it relates to our “stuff.” We often acquire something for one reason, but then hold onto it for a different one. It just makes sense that a limited amount of space cannot accommodate an unlimited amount of life’s memories!

    • Andrea Sharb April 23, 2015 6:15 pm #

      Glad you appreciated the perspective Seana. A favorite quote of mine, dating back to college is from comedian Steven Wright – “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

  5. Janet Barclay December 30, 2016 8:51 am #

    This really got me thinking. I’ve let go of so many different types of items over the years, and feel I have a good handle on this, but then there’s my guitar. I’ve had it since high school, but have hardly touched it in the past 20 years. I’m reluctant to part with it, not because of its history, but because I *might* want to pick it up again, and I know I’ll never buy another one.

    • Andrea Sharb January 1, 2017 8:56 am #

      Janet, thanks for sharing your story. I think almost all of us have some of those “might” items in our lives. It’s when the majority of the items in your life are “might” use someday that clutter becomes an issue. Your guitar is my electric bass, one of the items my family teases me about not letting go of. I consider it a bridge of sorts between the musician I was when I was younger and the musician I might become as I age. There is not enough space in this house for the piano I released, but there is enough space for the bass. In fact, the bass may be making its way this week from the guest room closet to the living room, where I’d be more likely to pick it up. Thanks again for commenting.

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