Joy sets goals for continuous achievement, and loves connecting with others by helping them reach their own ideals and aspirations.
Too Much Stuff!
Most of us have too much stuff. It fills our lives and minds with chores and worries. It gets in the way whenever we're in a hurry, and it perplexes us how to arrange and keep track of it.
Some of us cannot be traditional minimalists, but we can pare down on the things that neither serve us, nor enhance our lives.
Today, we explain how too much stuff wastes our mental and emotional energy, as well as our physical time and resources, and give you tips for what to do about it.
Your Stuff Is Stored Inside You
Each item in your home, and thought in your mind, and project on your plate or waiting list, takes up a hint of your energy. It literally has a designated "home" in your energy field, and takes up a physical space in your body.
If you worry about an item--using it, storing it, cleaning it, keeping it safe--each worry takes up another space. Too many of these worries clustered together can create energy blockages, with resulting health problems.
How Many Spaces?
It is possible that each of us has about 2 million spaces available for things and thoughts at any given time. That seems like a lot, until you consider that, according to studies, each of us thinks 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, with most being unproductive and harmful. Add to this each item you own, each interaction you have, each movement you make, each time you transition from one thing to another, each new thing you read or watch, each memory that gets jogged, each thing on your to-do list that never gets done or that needs doing again, each place you want to go or thing you desire to do or have, each moment you want to speak, and each time you interrupt what you're doing or thinking to answer someone else, or attend to their needs. You must include every time your pet wants your attention. Count in every time you feel disturbed in your spirit, and each time anyone disagrees with you, even silently.
That's right. Whenever we allow other's thoughts to influence us or enter our energy field, we must count them among the used spaces. They are taking up room in our psyches and bodies.
2 Million Boxes
Sizes of Boxes
The body doesn't really recognize sizes when dealing with these spaces. A thing that feels huge at one moment may be reckoned the same size as something trivial, if you have intentions to deal with it, have had worries over it, or have allowed it to influence your mood.
This is partly because thoughts work in clusters.
For example, if I start off clearing the table, but get sidetracked by a child, then need to hurry to get ready to go somewhere, each thought and transition during this progression takes up one space. The tricky part is that our subconscious minds count much faster than our conscious minds. At a glance, our brain has calculated how many items need dealt with (including the bills to be paid and that stain on a chair you meant to clean), and filed that under Intentions ASAP. Then comes the toddler, which could easily take up 20 spaces and involve 5 transitions in 10 minutes. (I feel this is being optimistic!) Then comes the getting ready to go. Depending on your routine, and at what point in it you were interrupted by the table, this could mean 10 to 60-some spaces taken.
Remember, we're not counting what gets done, but what we meant to get done. Wow. No wonder we feel tired and crushed. Full. Full of stuff.
If this goes on day after day, year after year, with us falling a little more behind all the time, is it any wonder the stress makes us unwell?
Keeping too much stuff around, either emotionally or physically, can mean that your body compensates by "throwing out" the ability to process some nutrients or perform certain actions. Nutritional deficiencies and illnesses may result.
I've observed that hoarders, and those who remain bitter, often fall seriously ill.
Below we offer suggestions for learning to get our intentions about stuff under control, and release that too-full, want-to-scream feeling.
What Are Your Motives?
What motivates you to buy, collect, or hoard possessions?
Usually, it is some form of insecurity. Does having stuff keep you distracted from deeper issues? Does hoarding leave you with a sense of power or security?
Is it plain fear which prompts you to rely on stuff, even if it stresses you?
Learning to discern your motives will make the process of detoxifying your home and life of "stuff" easier.
Get quiet with yourself, and try to figure out what part of your past, your life now, or perhaps your body image, creates in you an urgency to surround yourself with possessions.
Write down what you find. Consider creating an affirmation to overcome the compulsiveness which creates conditions you regret. Also write down people who come to mind who have said things that left brand marks on your soul. Write down those who make you overwhelmed or angry, or who put you in a state of despair.
Do what it takes to forgive these people, and if it helps you to move forward, learn to cut emotional ties with them.
Distracted by the Shiny
Where to Start in Your Home
The main thing is to get rid of spaces of stuff in your mind and heart.
You can begin this journey by taking care of the obvious. Are there items lying out, which take seconds apiece to put away? Start there.
Choose one spot to tackle, and set a timer!
Perhaps begin with your work space, or the kitchen counter, the dining table, or the couch. Pull the covers up on the bed, even if you don't properly make it.
But start. And do set the timer. If you are feeling very overwhelmed, set it for 2 minutes. Declutter for just 2 minutes--then stop. Reward yourself for a job well done by having a little treat, or taking five minutes to enjoy your favorite beverage.
If, after those 2 minutes, you are feeling motivated to keep going, set the timer for 5 minutes--and pause again (but no food treat this time, unless you space the same treat out over several mini-sessions).
Another approach is to make a deal with yourself to clear 10 items, or go through 10 papers. Choose to make one phone call. Find a home for one as-yet unhomed item
Then pause. Breathe. Reassess.
Breathe some more.
Pauses Are Important
The principle is to pause--or just stop--whenever you feel you need to. Whether you pause for 30 seconds, or a day, isn't important.
The important thing is that you got something done. And you have a right to be proud of yourself.
How Much vs. What
I constantly need to remind myself that the point isn't how much I got done--it's that I did something that needed doing! I started! And I can start again.
This is especially important to remember when I am tired, out of sorts, depressed, or feeling overwhelmed. It's not how much--it's that!
What I Wish I Knew Before Starting Minimalism, by Pick Up Limes
I am particularly frustrated by repetitive jobs such as dishes and cleaning.
For these, I must remind myself that I am so much happier and more at peace when my environment is clean. I pause and take time to visualize what a clean space will do for me. Clean dishes and kitchen?--I can bake!--or at least walk through my kitchen without cringing. Clean floors?--my home smells so much better, and I love to see the sunlight reflect off the surfaces.
Develop a Vision
What happens when you choose to have a clean, uncluttered home? Well, if you are serious about it, forces start activating. The universe begins to actively make way for your vision.
So have a vision.
- What will a particular space look like when it meets your goals and standards?
- What items does it contain?
- What things are not found in it?
- How will you maintain it, and use it?
If you are unsure of these things, no clear vision will emerge, and you will probably spend your energy merely shuffling items from one spot to another . . . over and over. And more things will find their way into your house that have no home and no purpose.
One Good Thing Leads to Another
Each thing you get rid of, or put away, makes way for something else to be discarded, or put away. That's why creativity and simplicity go hand-in-hand. This principle applies to chores and tasks, too.
Each thing you put away in a specific room makes way for something else to be put away. Throwing away an ink pen that doesn't work, makes way for you to notice other broken items which can be dealt with.
And each item you release from your home and possession makes room for positive emotions, and higher purposes.
So take time to "Marie Kondo" your life, unless your ideal is to be a hoarder.
It may seem to take forever for your mind to start bringing forward truly creative ideas, instead of showing you how you can deal with clutter and distractions. But this is the first step to mental freedom from the slavery of things.
Eventually, if you release enough things, your mind will feel calmer, and you're body will learn to realize joy.
Remember that even one tiny change or victory leads automatically to the probability of another one.
How to Align Your Energy With Your Ideals, by Aaron Doughty
Which Systematic Approach Is Right?--5 Options
There are many ways of going about getting rid of stuff. You can choose one that suits you, your lifestyle, and your time budget.
- Online are several versions of The 30 Day Challenge (try Pinterest), to guide you in systematically decluttering your home. This challenge consists of choosing one area each day to go through and declutter, such as a closet, a medicine cabinet, or a surface.
- Another approach is to start with a type of item, and thoroughly declutter that category all over your home, before going on to something else. Examples might include clothing, kitchen wares, makeup, videos and media, or electronics.
- A third approach is to take 5 extra minutes a day, and dedicate it to doing something to declutter--anything. This adds up to noticeable changes if adhered to faithfully. I like this method, and usually stick to one or two rooms until I've obtained acceptable results. Then I choose another space, and repeat the process.
- A fourth approach is to deal with one thing in every room of my home, each day I'm home for at least a few hours.
- If you are amazingly ambitious (or desperate), you can dedicate a few hours, a day, or a weekend, to cutting a swath through the chaos. Repeat as often as you can, and visible results will come fast.
Avoid These Common Decluttering Mistakes | KonMari Method, by How to Get Your Shit Together
Managing Hot Spots
Now that you have some ideas for how to cut the chaos--and maybe have already gotten started--let's look at hot spots.
Hot spots are areas where stuff builds up over and over again. These can be physical locations in your home, or these can be mental, resulting in pains or problems in your body.
Which Hot Spot First?
In order to determine the one hot spot to attack first, ask yourself what area detracts from your mental freedom first upon entering your home? Start there and work outward. Remember that even one tiny change or victory leads automatically to the probability of another one.
For me, my kitchen and dining room both are obstinate areas of confusion and clutter. Food, dishes, supplements, and school things make up only a small part of the problem. Due to our DIY lifestyle, items such as chainsaws, car parts, tools, electronic parts, feed buckets and bags, firewood, and a number of other things regularly find their way in.
It's okay to not deal with everything all the time. Some areas will prove to be beyond your control. It's okay. Just be faithful to deal with what you can, and release the rest.
Why Do Hot Spots Build?
Hot spots build for two reasons. One is state of mind.
Tiredness, distractability, and/or laziness, can all contribute to the probability that stuff will get dumped on the nearest surface, and will not get put away.
The second reason is the lack of a maintenance system.
Home Maintenance Systems
In this case, I mean by system a way of regularly managing your home--and its various challenges. Shortcomings includes not designating a home for each item you own. Yes, each and every one.
A Place for Everything, and Everything in it's Place
If an item is not important enough to have a home, you probably don't need it.
Taking time to give each possession a home, and making sure it lives there, will go a long way toward making sure your home is neat, and items are findable.
If an item is not important enough to have a home, you probably don't need it.
Tips on Developing Systems
Systems save you time and money, and cut down on stress.
Keep Systems Simple
The most effective systems are simple. For example, giving your cosmetics a home in a dedicated box or drawer, will allow you to find and use what you want, easily discard expired items, and maintain your bathroom counter in a clean state.
Keeping cleaning supplies at hand in your bathroom will make a 1-minute job out of a 5-minute job, if you had to go elsewhere to get things, then cart them back.
Developing systems and routines for each space in your home will make you happier. This is absolutely worth doing.
There are several good systems discussed online, which you can learn and apply. One deserving of popularity was developed by "The Flylady".
Flylady System Tips, by The Secret Slob
Suggested Areas to Declutter
Now, for some specific areas in life to attack and declutter, once you've dealt with the hot-spots and the most obvious areas:
- Surfaces such as counters and tables--including night stands and end tables
- Foods (compost out-of-date or spoiled foods, if possible!)
- Drawers, cabinets and closets (set aside lots of time for clothes, or go through them in small doses--just your socks, or 3 shirts, or 10 minutes)
- Sewing or craft supplies, including false starts
- Office, desk and beyond; files; computer programs or info (if not needed); outdated electronics and devices, including cords;
- Kids rooms, toys
- Holiday decorations
- Things to fix
- Garage and workshop, hobby related items and thoughts
- Ideas of things to do "someday". Decide yes or no. Put "yeses" in an Intentions file, or plan them carefully on a Vision Board. This applies to both thoughts, and collected images of projects, decorating ideas, clothes, etc. If an item is a "no", you can still keep it--just stop pretending it's an actual intention rather than a nice idea, or an uplifting picture.
- Social media accounts, phone contacts, apps, email, digital picture storage, maps pins and lists.
- Regrets--forgive yourself and others for past mistakes, confusions, and failed relationships.
How Taking Photographs Helps With Decision-Making
Take pics of trouble spots or hot-spots to add to your current Vision Board or planner. This includes items you need or love, but for which you can't seem to find a home.
Deliberately taking photos will help you in various ways.
- Pictures will show you how much progress has actually been made. Usually it's more than you think.
- Photos will give you a new perspective on the arrangement of your home. You will see whether an arrangement truly works, and you will notice clutter to which you had become blind. You will see colors in a new way.
- Photos will invite your mind to actively find solutions to ongoing problems.
- Finally, they will motivate you to deal with areas to which you may otherwise have remained clutter blind. This is especially true if you put them where you will see them frequently, and become tired of looking at them. (Remember the 5-minute approach!)
Dealing With Unfinished Things
I refer to unfinished projects or intentions as "stagnation piles". These are anything that pile up without being dealt with. Stagnation piles may be physical, mental, or emotional. They may be inside your body and mind, or outside of it. They may include the apology you meant to make and never did, or the preparations for the birthday party which was canceled, or the sewing or woodworking project you started and laid aside.
There is only one effective way to deal with these areas thoroughly. That is to learn to release their associated emotions, and reset your intentions to embrace whatever you actually need to do. We introduce both of these topics in our article "How to Set Intentions to Reflect What You Need Now".
For the rest, make a list of all unfinished projects. Prioritize the list, and break it into small goals or sections.
Refuse More Stuff!
Once you have an area tidied and clean, refuse to fill it back up!
You probably can't control everything that comes into your home, but you can make an effort to police your own areas and the most public areas of your home.
There are various ways to reduce the number of items being introduced into your home. These include:
- Stopping subscriptions (magazines, TV/movies, emails, etc.)
- Opting out of lists--junk mail, robocalls or political calls, and anything else you didn't ask for.
- Politely inform friends and relatives that you do not wish to receive gifts of possessions. Suggest a gift card to a restaurant or food service, a travel contribution, or whatever interests you instead.
My Husband Does His Share!--Success Story
On 6-28-20, as I was working on this series, an almost miraculous event happened in our home. My husband spontaneously cleared out shoes and boots he longer needed. He almost never cleans up after himself, or goes through his stuff. Let me explain how this came about, and try to make clear to you why I think he was influenced to do this on a secret, energetic level. Remember how at the beginning of this article, I said that the universe moves events toward your intentions and desires? There was a definite progression of events leading up to his decision, which clearly demonstrates how this clearing-out system functions.
- In autumn 2019, I had spent four days going through papers belonging to the previous property owners, who had homesteaded our farm in 1928 or before. These papers had been sitting in a stack of boxes in our basement for 10 years, and represented the culmination of two full years of clearing out upon moving in, as the German immigrant family had been hoarders. These were all that remained of stack upon stack of personal, school, business, and advertising papers. This was a dirt-laden but enlightening experience, as many of these papers, receipts, and records dated from 1946 to 1948, and contained poignant details about the experience of living during WWII.
- In February 2020, I had organized our tiny coat closet and, with the help of my son, devised a system for storing a massive pile of work boots, shoes, flip flops, and Wellingtons. Also included were insulated coveralls and other outerwear, and stacks of old towels for use during lambing season. This was the first time I had ever been able to organize this space in a meaningful, efficient way. I was unable to deal with four grocery bags packed with videos, clothing, and books.
- Enter lambing season, then lockdown. I persisted, and did a Marie Kondo cleanout of most of my clothes closet. All except my formal clothes. It took two days to go through all my underthings, sentimental clothing items, and jeans. I selected 15 pairs of jeans for donation or upcycling, and properly organized the remainder, as well as my whole lingerie drawer. I also finished going through huge bags of things a neighbor had passed on to us that winter.
- Meanwhile, my 13-year-old daughter began an overhaul of her own room, resulting in no fewer than five trash bags full of clothes for donation. These sat. Also, my mother moved from her home of 40 years, and arrangements were made to have her farm outbuildings cleaned. This meant that piles of farm-related equipment useful to my family made its way home to sit here and there.
- In late May 2020, I was able to donate several trash bags full of good clothing we no longer needed. This stuff had been in the house, waiting to go, for up to six months. Conditions had been perpetually unfavorable, as in, our car trunk was always full of other things, or we weren't headed the necessary direction on the right days, or the thrift store was closed. It had been in our way on a regular basis.
- Also in the way had been a heap of tools, chainsaws, sacks of feed, tubs of firewood, and other farm-home miscellany in my entryway. My husband went looking for a tool. Within an hour the mess was cleared!
- In the third week of June, I was able to donate one large box and several grocery bags full of clothes, shoes, books, and toys. I felt I was starting to get my house back. Gradually, we had figured out what to do with most of the things brought onto our property over the spring, and they now had homes.
- I made a point throughout June of cleaning and organizing my catch-all room. Progress has been slow, but is visible. This room has not been thoroughly cleaned since 2014, though I made a dent in the mess in February 2020.
- I also made a point in June of cleaning up one clutter hot-spot or mini-mess per day in other parts of my house. In consequence, counters got cleared, boxes got emptied, closets got organized, and shelves got dusted. Even my unfinished storeroom/attic got a going over, which contained 10 years worth of sewing and household collections, plus much sign of mice. Each time I cleaned or organized an area, I reminded myself and my home that this meant other things could now move out, or be put away, or get cleaned.
- After nearly a week of afternoons spent in my catch-all room, picking away at paper stacks and filing problems, I noticed other things popping into focus. I had an idea for a way to organize my bathroom counter, which took 10 minutes to complete, and means it is now a breeze to maintain and clean. I discovered and attended to more messes in my attic. I found items I'd been looking for in various locations, and had sparks of thought regarding organizational difficulties throughout the house. I found even more clothes to give away, as well as two small bags of movies. I developed a mental plan for systematically dealing with all the things I'd noticed throughout this process. I also dealt with organizational difficulties on my tablet (my main writing tool), and worked through writing or tweaking a mound of articles. Lastly, I finished reading a book I'd started 6 months previous.
- The process opened up mental room so I could spend more time with my daughter. We talked, fought, worked things out, played games, and watched movies.
- Finally, today, my husband decided he needed a different pair of work shoes. My daughter remembered the inventory in the hall closet, and brought out several pairs for him to try on. My husband is a bit of a hoarder and hates throwing things away, but before he was through, he had picked out, not only a suitable replacement pair to wear daily, but eight pairs of shoes to trash. Coincidence? Probably not.
Topics Previously Covered in This Series
In Part 1, we explore why fear inhibits our ability to know what we really want, and act on it. Our thought loops often hold the key to realizing our deepest desires. Focusing on and owning these thought loops can allow us to move forward, first making the decision that fear will no longer own us.
In Part 2, we cover the basics of how to develop a vision board, whether in an electronic or physical format. We offer prompts and resources to help you decide what you truly want out of life.
In Part 3, we discuss the role of bio rhythms in setting intentions which yield pleasant fruit. When you pair your firm and detailed expectations with careful timing, cooperation from others and the Universe often results.
In Part 4, we pinpoint how to choose the perfect visuals and images for your needs, decode your personal color associations, and use past regrets and misunderstandings to help you go forward more wisely.
In part 5, we explore the decisions to be made while setting up an Intentions-by-the-Month system, using a Pinterest Board or other format of your choice. This system allows you to form a habit of setting intentions daily, or on whatever schedule you choose.
In Part 6, we walk through how to set up a long term life plan of 5 to 10 years, using either a vision board format, a mind map, or a combination of these two systems.
In Part 7, we acknowledge that manipulation and painful circumstances can make it difficult to know who you are and what you want, then present emotional and mental exercises to help you overcome the gaslighting or conditioning of others.
In Part 8, we show how becoming aware of your emotions is crucial to moving forward in your heart and life, and offer simple exercises to help you discern what you are feeling.
In Part 9, we offer tips and guidelines for creating affirmations that work for you. Developing your own personal affirmations can be a rewarding process, yielding insights into your own thoughts and motives.
In Part 10, we explore a way to develop communication between your mind and body. We focus on how to develop this communication, and offer some ways to troubleshoot resistance in your body, emotions, and mind.
In Part 11, we explore how to build courage and replace negative energy with that of healthy expectations, through the use of positive images to overcome the effects of bad memories.
In Part 12, we discuss how to tap into the free energy of the Universe to boost your own healing powers.
In Part 13, we outline how to realign your energy field with your current intentions.
Our Conditions and Qualifications
In case you missed our intro before, we are an autistic DID System who have spent years exploring how trauma affects our ability to live our best life and act on our deepest needs. We have no official diagnosis, and no legal qualifications to offer advice or training on mental health conditions. Conversely, we have a decade of experience managing our Dissociative Identity Disorder, as well as about four years working to understand our autism.
Our Approach to Vision Boarding
Because fear is such a huge roadblock to stability and satisfaction, we have chosen to approach the topic of vision board development by exploring how it can be used to assist in healing and changing trauma patterns. We specifically use it to overcome fear and other trauma responses.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Joilene Rasmussen
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on August 05, 2020:
B, you're welcome.
Hoopyloopy on August 05, 2020:
I really enjoyed reading that, thank you for taking the time to do that..