My wife and I are constantly getting rid of the clutter from our home which always allows space for new and exciting things to appear. I’ve learned that whether we’re talking about clutter that’s physical, paper, electronic, or mental, its defining characteristic is that it’s stuck. You can tell that it is clutter because there’s no movement, no progress and no life – it’s just the same old story over and over again.
Much of the advice I receive about getting rid of clutter says, “Just do it!” But if you can’t identify the underlying beliefs that are causing you to become buried in clutter, it’s almost impossible. I believe these are the root causes of clutter that hardly ever get addressed. If you deal with these clutter busters, you can change your life:
- The Memory, the Nostalgia. You love remembering over and over again. You love the size or the age you were when you bought it. You love the person who gave it to you. This is not a good reason to hang on to something you’re not using. Enjoy the emotion of nostalgia for a minute or two, and let it go.
- The Fantasy of the Future. “Someday. Somewhere. Somehow.” But not at the moment. If you want something in the future, take a step toward that today. You don’t have a condo in Hawaii and you are not the CEO. Again let it go.
- The Fear of Scarcity. “I might need this sometime in the future.” Yes, it’s true you might. This is an understandable and admirable goal but still no reason to hang on to something that’s just taking up space. What about a future of not hanging on to stuff? Once again, let it go.
- Loyalty. Sometimes you don’t want to get rid of clutter because it feels like admitting you made a mistake in buying this thing that you misjudged. You want to believe in your past decisions, so you keep recommitting to those decisions long after they’ve proven erroneous. The ability to calmly accept that sometimes you blunder will hasten your spiritual maturity.
- Humanizing everything. I used to humanize things as a child. I still do. I thank my car for its faithful service. I express thanks to many foods for being so delicious. I usually say goodbye to my house as I leave it, even if I’m just dashing out to run errands. I do the same thing with shoes, clothing and towels. Once again it’s important to move on to new cars, foods, homes and clothing. You can always have someone else get rid of these items for you if it helps.
- Replaying old tapes and cassettes. Worry is mental clutter. So is repetitive self-criticism. Any other thoughts that never lead to an outcome or a new thought are just taking up space in your brain. It’s important to your continued growth to distinguish between actual thinking and those old tapes.
- Diminishing returns. The first one was great, the second one was even better. But now you’re on your seventh, and the thrill is wearing off. Whether we’re talking about collectibles, books about any subject, or sweaters, take a look at the redundancies in your life, and see if there are a few items in the collection that can go.
Get rid of something. Anything. Right now. Change your mindset and way of thinking and watch great things happen.
BY BOB MUELLER
Senior Vice President of Development at Hosparus Health