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Decluttering from the inside out

Organize-Home, Tis Thing Called Life

People can tell a lot about us by the way her house is arranged. It is organised and tidy or it is cluttered and crazy?

If our minds are organised and under control, our surroundings would be as well. If not, even though we go through the painful process of decluttering, the chaos would built up again in no time.

However, homes and places that are ‘too clean’ and where the owner is too obsessed about even a little speck of dust also denotes a controlling personality, perhaps on someone who is afraid to lose control. It’s tough to live like that….and to spend too much of time cleaning and arranging things.

Still, you need not be too hard on yourself when you cannot control clutter. Clutter is just an outward symptom of a deeper inner issue. It could be that you are holding on and unable to let go (not of the clutter but it can be of ideas, opinions, views). Or that you are feeling overwhelmed or afraid to face something in your life. And the thing that you are trying not to face could have nothing to do with the clutter at all.

It is not something that you can grit your teeth and just force yourself to clean up- if you forced yourself, you would find the experience very tiring and draining- both physically and emotionally. Your sinus or allergies may just act up- a subconsious sign to get yourself away from the task. And you may spend a lot time regretting something sentimental that you have forced yourself to donate away.

Instead, if you work towards letting go in little things in your life, for example:

1. Don’t do something and expect certain outcomes and if things does not go as planned, you upset

2. Learn to forgive people and accept them for who they are

3. Whatever people do or say to you, don’t take it too personally

4. Avoid the tempation of impulse buying- perhaps reduce your frequency to the shopping mall

5. Learn to breath in and relax- take breaks and not worry too much

It is all little steps to take- and when there is real change inside out, you would automatically start decluttering- without the need to force yourself. Another plus factor is that as you practice letting go, you would be surprised that you no longer gain weight or have much difficulty to lose weight like last time.

Personal experience

In the past, I’ve always been a person who cannot control clutter. I’ve 6 months (or more) worth of letters and bills piled up next to my TV in the living room.  Of course I ensure I open and pay my credit card bills but after paying, I would just place back the paid bill on top of the clutter. The whole area’s a mess and an eyesore. I’ve wanted to declutter but never got round to do it because decluttering seemed to zap my energy…

But now there has been a change. I went through the entire pile of correspondence and bills and sort them out nicely. I’ve also taken out older bills and statements and placed them neatly in a recycle bag for me to take to shred. While brochures and envelopes- I’ve sent for recycling. Worked till 2am to clear it.

My cupboard still looks neat even though I’ve organised it months ago. Now, I do not need to spend ages searching for my working clothes- only to find that it’s crumpled and not ironed…or they’ve been ironed but were again crumpled as they were buried under the pile of clothes.  I create categories and ensure each time I put arrange my clothes back according to type.

Just few days back, I had time to clean out my entire storeroom- a room that was virtually untouched for years. I’ve thrown out things little by little over the last few weeks.  In the past I remember by just going into the room is enough to drain me. But this time around, surprising I did not feel that day and spend hours sorting out and throwing out lots of accumulated junk. A lot of things which I could not part with previously, I had sent for recyling- without much of a second thought.

Such change is always gradual. If there is no inner transformation… the best decluttering books, courses in the market would not help us to declutter long term. We need to sort out the clutter inside, slowly pluck out the negative emotions like anger, holding grudges, jealousy, etc.  Then, we would automatically learn to organise and take control of our lives.

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  • LS Jul 21, 2011 Link Reply

    I keep all the bills, until one day that I decided anything older than 3 years is old enough and cleared everything. About a year later, bank sent us a letter indicated that one of the instalments have not been cleared. When I remembered that I have cleared all outstanding balance. With nothing to proof I am forced to pay that.

    • Yin Jul 21, 2011 Link Reply

      Dear Ls, sorry to hear about what had happened. To my knowledge, banks would have all customer’s records. If they send you letter to ask you to pay for something that had been charged long time ago, I believe you have the right to request for proof of the charge because it’s late presentment. The bank would need to furnish you with proof that the charge indeed did not happen.
      The only thing I have been advised to keep is income tax information and even receipts of up to 7 years.

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