What happens if I don’t live with clutter? Physical or mental
Above is the video version, same topic but not the same words as below, which is the Wednesday email that went out 10/30/19. Because I have 9 disorders, work part time and self-care like it’s nobody’s business (cuz it ain’t lol), I am not editing the email. If you don’t want to wait for me to have the time to post the Wednesday text, sign up to get your own email below.
This week I’ve been talking in the Daily Dose about physical and mental clutter. I listened to a video last night, and I’m adding digital clutter. Interestingly enough, I started with reducing my physical clutter, which then led to reducing my mental clutter and finally reducing my digital clutter. The processes took intentional effort. Decisions. Commitment. Understanding of the benefits. Believing/living the benefits before they all settled in = it took years lol. This one post is not going to solve your clutter issues. If you’re just getting started on your decluttering journey just remember forward progress = success. It doesn’t matter how quick you go, what matters is that you go, you acknowledge your progress and you acknowledge the benefits… that will keep you living an uncluttered life – physical, mental and digitally.
Today I’m exploring, “What happens if I don’t live with clutter?”
The first time I experienced the answer, I hadn’t even asked the question lol. It wasn’t optional. I had to declutter to move from a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage (1/2 filled with storage) home that I’d lived in for several years, into 2 rooms in a house that belonged to someone else. Me plus 3 kids 13, 11 and 5 (half the time) and 2 dogs (all the time). I was the mom who hung her kids artwork on their bedroom walls and then boxed it up for when they were older. Every birthday card, many essays, old toys, clothes, you name it. VHS, CDs, my bottle opener from when I was a bartender a decade before lol, so.much.stuff!
I moved into a small space in a very dirty house. Because we were all in two rooms, organizing was a must. Because I had to walk through the dirty house to get to my space, it affected my symptoms. But, without all the things I let go when I left, I felt motivated to get rid of even more, so the space could be less cluttered. Sent a lot of the kids stuff to their dad’s house lol.
From that dirty space I moved into my own small space, got rid of even more stuff. I wanted to see the floors lol, I wanted to be able to keep it clean. I knew, from my previous move, that I wasn’t going to miss the things I got rid of, that took care of the fear and from there it was GET RID OF EVERYTHING lol. I didn’t, still clung to many things, mostly sentimental/emotional things.
From there I moved in with my man, the minimalist. Well, except for shoes, this guy loves him some shoes lol. He’s also the guy who cleans the house, no you can’t have him, he’s mine! 😉 but yeah, he does. So, because he’s the one who cleans it, I wanna be the one who helps keep it as tidy as possible because just sweeping and steam mopping is hard enough without adding in having to pick up a bunch of crap, especially if it’s not his crap. I know what it’s like to have a partner that doesn’t do either, so my gratitude has a factor too. If you have that, be grateful for it because not everyone has a helpful partner. We stayed there for 3 years and then decided to move to a more updated and smaller place. We got rid of virtually everything we had been storing in the garage and a bunch of stuff in the house and damn, if you could live the difference for a day you would look at everything in your house and ask, why are you here? What purpose do you serve? And, if the answer isn’t worth the extra time it takes to “tidy” the item, off it goes! No, I don’t mean your kids, you have to keep those ;).
So, now I’m in my 8th year of learning to live with less and I still have some piles. But, the bad dream about stuff I had to move place to place (moved 10+ times in 15 years) went away. I no longer get anxiety thinking about moving. Getting over the FEAR was the biggest one for me, that separation anxiety of holding onto something for so long and letting it go forever is very strong. You gotta start with something, push past that fear and then just see how it goes, you know? Once you see something working it’s so much easier to get behind it and make it a way of life.
Remember the phrase… you come with nothing, you leave with nothing.
If you have things you want to hand down, hand them down now, why wait? You want to preserve memories of things? Take pics of them but, be mindful, there is such a thing as digital clutter now! Yes, all those images you have saved that you never look at. Files with names like AS835y29387498770lkjg;oiojoerru928370u8u.jpg lol you don’t even know what they are. I’ve lost my hard drive at least 3 times in the last 10 years. If my laptop dies now, it’s not going to be the end all be all because virtually everything that’s important to me is backed up in the cloud. What a freaking stress reliever that is. My fan started making noise and instead of panic, I just looked up what I could do about it. That’s life changing, to not panic over something like that! I have a vid btw on my YouTube… what happens if I don’t panic lol, click the red Youtube button below if that’s an issue of yours.
Getting rid of my mental clutter began as an effort to stave off sleep attacks and cataplexy from irrational situations with my ex. He would text me something awful and I’d go on this mental rollercoaster ride for hours. I couldn’t not look at his texts because we shared custody of my kids so I decided to get smart and just asked other people to read them and tell me what I needed to know out of them, most of the time there was nothing I needed to know lol it was just mud slinging, so I stopped suffering by not fricken reading them! Then I just started adding in people… who else can I evict from my brain? How many things do we expose ourselves to that give us that pit in our gut? Toxic people, the news, nasty co-workers, we are bombarded with it CONSTANTLY. And, you know what happens when you’re exposed to things like that? You get tired. Yup, the things you see and hear can make you tired! This is why getting rid of mental clutter is soooooo important when you have chronic illness.
Make a “contest” out of keeping your head clear of thought. There’s no rule that says you have to sit quietly to meditate. If you can wash the dishes and zone out thinking of nothing, that’s meditation and chillness. If you wash the dishes thinking about the last text from your ex, that’s symptoms and anxiety. SEE the difference in your own life by turning off your brain every now and again. Yes, I am the person who has 15 tabs open in their brain at once, yes my brain goes 1000 miles per hour while I try to catch up, yes I talk and type very quickly. So, if I can get to a place where I’m just void of thought… anyone can.
From there I moved on to memories… if you’ve watched any of my stuff you know I had a fairly miserable life until I hit 41. I had some good times but my default was miserable and unfulfilled. I had so much success not thinking about my ex and experiencing symptom relief from being able to do that, I decided to apply it to my childhood, my past relationships, pretty much anything from the past – good or bad. I leaned really heavily into the song Living in the Moment, and still love the song Be Here Now. Whenever I struggle with thoughts of something previous – even frivolous things like making a mistake at work, or having an altercation in traffic or with anyone really – when I think of those things I sing to myself… Be Here Now, while you are still around…. be here now. And it takes me back to whatever I am doing and whomever I am doing it with.
The phrase right now is all we have seems so woo woo, until you think about it when you’re living RIGHT NOW lol. The present moment is the only one we experience. The rest is a memory we no longer experience or something we have yet to experience. Last week I talked about knowing something exists, even understanding it is not enough, you HAVE to apply it. How do you feel about the phrase – the present moment is all we have? Do you scoff? Roll your eyes? Do you nod in understanding despite not really ‘getting it?’ Or, do you live it? Do you deal with only right now while working toward the future? Or, are you living in the past? Only you know for sure but until you take that very brave first step of realizing you do not NEED your memories to live… at all much less right now, you can’t know how incredibly liberating it is not to do it. Match your thoughts with your actions and watch the magic happen.
I’m not a doctor, or a mental health professional. I cannot tell you, as an individual, how you can overcome your need to keep things, to store things, to hoard things, whatever… but, there are thousands of books and videos about how to go about decluttering and all of them are worthless to you if you don’t just make the damn decision to do it and do it. Fear is a powerful motivator. Had I not had the “choice” bit taken away from me, I’m pretty sure I would have just toted all that junk along with me, and I’d probably still have it now. But, I don’t because I SAW the difference it made to my life after that first shedding. It just deepened for the second, and the third. I find myself LOOKING for things to get rid of now lol.
Wanna know what happens if you don’t live with clutter, either physical or mental? Get rid of it all and Go find out! (or baby step and get rid of some lol it doesn’t have to be painful – encourage yourself and just believe you can do it. Decide.) Make it a great day warriors, the choice is always yours!
Mentioned in the video: 5 Rules for arguing with narcolepsy