Personal Decluttering

Decluttering Isn't Just For The Closets

I've been spending some time over the past week doing what I call "Personal Decluttering."
We can get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to stop and reflect about ourselves - who we are, what we are doing, how we got to this point, what we want in the future. When we pause and get back in touch with ourselves, we have the opportunity to do some Personal Decluttering and declutter our minds. 
But when undertake Personal Decluttering, we can be left with questions.  

My Personal Decluttering

What Is It That You Really Want?

I started thinking about what I was going to do in the future and I remembered how when I was young I used to love to read "self-help" books. I took a look at a book I'd read many times in my youth and within the first few sentences, I found my "personal decluttering" reflection. The book asks, "What do you want most?" Though the book is about how to get rich, that sentence in particular stuck with me. Someone might say, "I want to be rich" but what is it that they really want? Is what they want what they believe wealth will bring them? Respect? Fame? Peace of mind? The ability to be charitable? I started to contemplate how those things didn't necessarily have to do with the money itself. If one wants respect, surely they can act respectable. If someone respects you only for the money, then what happens if the money goes?
Fame? Same deal. In this day and age it seems there is a good possibility one might get their 15 minutes of fame, and the money that goes with it. But that's just it - 15 minutes. The fame can go. The money goes with it.
Peace of mind? I recall some verses from Ecclesiastes -
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. ( Ecc. 5:10-12)
What about the ability to be charitable? It would be great to be able to give a lot of money to charities but one can give of themselves if they don't have money - they can volunteer. There are always great charitable organizations looking for volunteers to help out.
As I pondered this, I thought about what I would do if I won the lottery. I'd pay off the bills, give a large chunk of the money to my sister, buy a car, buy my hubby a truck, buy a nicer house, go clothes shopping, travel - but then what? I wondered if when all was said and done I'd just be staring at the tv in the evenings in a nicer house and wearing new clothes.
So the first question of my Personal Decluttering is "what do I really want?"

Attitude Change From A TV Show

My second step of Personal Decluttering came when I was watching the tv show, "Hoarders." I like watching "Hoarders" because it's interesting to me to try to understand why the people began to hoard. But as I watched the program one day, I saw a reflection of myself in one woman's attitude. She was suffering from several chronic illnesses and she seemed to just have gotten to the point that she didn't care anymore. She thought the rest of the family didn't care about the house, so why should she care about the house. But when she was confronted by the people sent to help her, she retreated to her bed and complained about being ill. She started playing the victim. I watched, thinking about my own illnesses, and wondered if I did that, too. And I didn't like the thought.
I reflected on how easy it can be to slip into an attitude of  "I can't do it because I'm sick." I decided then that maybe I needed a change of attitude; instead of saying or thinking "I can't do it because I'm sick," I need to start thinking "I need to do it because I'm sick."  I decided I needed to get busy with something - and if I can't do everything, I'll do what I can.
At the end of the show, there was a change in the woman. Someone, or something, got through to her and she started working on the cleaning. She was beaming, she was smiling - it was like her whole attitude changed. Maybe she, too, decided, that even if she can't do everything, she'll do what she can.
Mourning for What Isn't

We probably all have moments in our lives when we think about how things could've been, or how we think things should've been. We think about things in our past - old loves, old homes, our youth.
I've been doing a lot of that lately - thinking about when I was young, where I grew up, people in my past, things that could've been.  And I discovered that in some ways, it was like mourning.  Experts say that there are five stages of mourning - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I wondered how many times in our lives we go through these stages. Do we go through these stages of mourning when we lose a job, a home, a relationship, our youth? We deny it, get mad, think about the what if's and if only's, fall into depression and then finally accept it?

For me, one thing I realized was that I'd been mourning for the children I never had. I wanted children, but for me and my hubby, it just wasn't to be. I've muddled through, dealing with the depression recently, but as I did some Personal Decluttering and reflected on my life, I began to understand that I need to make a transition from depression to acceptance. It might not be easy, but for me, just the realization that I had been in mourning was definitely an eye-opening moment. With this insight, I have a place to start to heal.

Ideas for Your Own Personal Decluttering

*Spend some quiet time reconnecting with yourself.

*Look for Personal Decluttering reflections in the things you do everyday - is there a point in a book you're reading that hits home with you? Something that draws you to a certain tv show? How about a song you can't get out of your mind?

*Check your attitude. Are you feeling down about something? Playing the victim? Are you mourning for a lost job, lost love, the what could've beens?


  1. Great Post Kathy. I love watching the show hoarders. I'm the one who is always throwing things out so I don't have a problem, but when I go visit my parents, My mom is always wondering what I can find to toss out. :p I'm not a clutter person at all. I do like to help others who do have issues in this area and try to help them DE-clutter their lives. I believe this goes for spiritual clutter as well. I'm constantly asking God..what attitude do I have that I don't need to have anymore. easier said than done.

    As for children, You can always borrow mine. I have a 6 and 9 year old. Just to let you know...they will keep you on your toes. They love crafts, baking, making music, drawing and coloring. They also love the outside.

  2. It seems like some of the Hoarders keep "stuff" to replace someone or something they've lost. :) Maybe your Mom doesn't mind when you toss something out when YOU come for a visit!?

    I love your idea about clearing spiritual clutter! I've been doing some of that myself. You wouldn't want to write a guest post about that, would you? :)

    I'd love to borrow your kids! I could be "Auntie" for the day. We could draw and bake cookies and then they could run around the yard! Hope they like kitty cats - my cat is 12 years old but still loves to run and play (and snuggle and purr) with anyone who is willing.