3 Types of Clutter: How To Start Decluttering As A Beginner
At the beginning of the new year, it can encourage us to start fresh, like decluttering our clutter. So, we cannot wait to show you what we have been learning and loving so far. One important activity that we have been doing lately is being aware of our clutter.
There are three types of clutter in which I am going to go over with my real-life examples & then I will give you a challenge for each one in the end.
1. Physical Clutter
What is mind-blowing is after Christmas, you realize that you actually have so much stuff, maybe too much stuff. It ends up becoming clutter. Do you know that overwhelming feeling you get when you walk into a room or closet and your heart starts beating a little faster as you see how much stuff you have? That is what physical clutter feels like when we do not tackle it.
Once upon a time, I had about 70 pairs of shoes in my closet. SEVENTY pairs of shoes. I was obsessed with shoes. But, little did I realize that I only use about ten shoes regularly in my life. I was kinda upset with myself, like, why did I feel like I had to keep buying and keep shoes I did not need or were even my style?
The reality was, I was holding onto them. Now, this is another kind of clutter to be aware of: emotional/attachment clutter.
2. Emotional Clutter
There are things we keep that do not necessarily bring value in our day-to-day life because we are attached to them in some emotional way. And sometimes, it may not be a healthy thing.
For example, (this is so embarrassing), even after my boyfriend and I broke up years ago, I had kept a box of things that I got from him, such as cute love notes and letters and items he bought me for Christmas.
One day, (way before I met my future husband, David), I came across them at the top of my closet in my room while I was throwing away clutter. Even though I was way over the relationship, my heart and mind went right back to the moments we were together. And, that was not a good thing.
I went through each item in the box and threw each one away in the trash. And I immediately felt better, less weighed down. Probably because I let go some emotional/attachment clutter.
3. Mind/Spiritual Clutter
This is a very hard type to go through because this is something that you cannot physically see or tangible in any way. However, the mind/spiritual clutter stems from what you allow into your mind and your heart.
For example, the consumption of social media. If you scroll all day long, pretty soon, your mind will start to feel cluttered up by the amount of data you are consuming.
There are scientific studies on this issue, and it is called “information overload”. Information overload is “exposure to or provision of too much information or data.”
Too much social media, searching on Google,emails, pictures, videos, texts, and calls starts to clutter up your mind and your soul. The reason why I mention your soul is the more you put into your mind and heart, it seeps into your soul and into your relationship with God.
If you cannot spend only 5-10 minutes with God in reading His Word, in prayer, writing, or even just be quiet and still in His presence, then there is a deeper issue.
If we are constantly telling our brain to check our phones, then that is where you will find your true heart. We are running to be stimulated rather than to be still.
There is a reason why God asks us to be still before Him, so that we can focus on Him and not anything else that is cluttered in our minds and our souls.
We are running to be stimulated rather than to be still.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21
The Simple Life Challenge:
For 2020, David and I seriously want to dedicate ourselves to simple living, and what that looks like is to eliminate any unnecessary clutter, physical, emotional/attachment, and mind/spiritual clutter.
Here is the challenge for you, and we will be sure to follow along with you in this journey of living simply. To live simply requires decluttering. Not just a one-time decluttering once a year but a practice to live out monthly or even weekly.
Declutter the physical clutter
For the physical clutter, just go around your home and see what areas give you the most anxiety and overwhelm. Is it your wardrobe, hallway closet, your bathroom or kitchen cabinets, or the storage areas (garage, attic, basement, etc.).
Here is an easy question to figure out what to throw away/donate or keep:
Do you have multiple items that are similar?
It can be multiple pens or office supplies, kitchen utensils (do you really need 10 spatulas?), shirts of the same or similar color (I am guilty of this), or the same type of shoes (5 tennis shoes are not necessary, y’all.).
This can go for magazines, newspaper, articles, old mail, etc. Most of them are going to be trash if they are outdated or old. Just be sure to go through them first to ensure there’s nothing important in the middle of the piles (like, bills to pay!)
Another question to consider…
Do you even need this item/s? In terms of your wardrobe and closet, do you even wear it?
Ladies, I know it can be SO easy to get caught up with the latest trends or the next hot thing on the market. But, in all honesty, it’s not your style, especially if you feel uncomfortable or don’t feel like yourself wearing those items.
For me, I only wear short heels, mostly block heels. Why? Although I can try wearing higher heels, it is not me and I actually hate it. So, It is time to donate the items and let someone else enjoy it. Just stick to your own style. You’ll be much happier.
All this physical decluttering does not have to be done in one day or one weekend.
Pace yourself. Especially if this is your first time decluttering an area of your home. The fact that you started is what matters. But keep going at your own pace that is manageable and freeing.
Declutter the emotional clutter
If you have things that you have kept as emotional/attachment clutter, it is time to let them go.
You know, the jeans that fit you back in high school and do not fit you anymore. The things you kept that your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend gave to you. Things from childhood or outdated things that you no longer have the space for.
I know, I am being a bit harsh. But, I went through some of my stuff in my old room a few years back, and I had to ask myself, “Why am I still holding onto these things?” The answer hit me so hard, I still remember what it was: I held onto those things because I felt like it would somehow bring those memories back.
Almost like a gateway into the past. But, the past is the past. And, we have the memories that can take us back, not things we don’t need.
But, in all reality, it can be difficult to let go of some of these items. And, that’s totally okay. It does not have to be done right away.
Declutter the mind clutter
As for spiritual/mind clutter, this is the most difficult clutter because it is hard to see the clutter in a tangible way.
But whenever comparison, competition, shame, jealousy, self-criticism, anger, restlessness, or feeling like you are not measuring up or doing enough, it is time to evaluate what you are putting into your mind and heart.
Is it too much scrolling on social media?
Is it your friends’ gossiping?
Is it always doing the next renovation or improvement in your house?
Is it comparing how big and loud your kid’s birthday party to your fr-enemy’s kid?
Is it always going out on the weekend, doing what you really shouldn’t be doing?
Is it viewing things online that could harm your current relationship?
You need a locked gate, not a swinging door
I know I already referred back on the verse, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” But, there is a reason God has this verse in the Bible. Our hearts and minds can be easily turned into our worst enemies, based on what we put into it.
There should always be a locked gate, not a swinging door every time we think about allowing something into our hearts and minds. A swinging door will allow anything into your mind. But, the gate (which represents God’s Word) will do a whole security protocol like they do in the airport…to ensure your safety.
Everyone has their own, unique clutter
Everyone is different. For example, I do not struggle with always going out on the weekends or gossiping, but I struggle with being on social media ALOT. (Check out the blog post, “What To Do If You’re Overwhelmed By Social Media” if you want to read more on this topic).
Especially to the point where I get scared on how we are running our business for The Simple Mission because of how other people post on social media.
I have set a time on my phone where I can get on social media after 8 AM and the apps shuts down at 9 PM. It’s a small discipline, but it teaches my mind that it is time to be off.
The key here is to be more self-aware in order to assess your soul/mind clutter. If you see that you have been more busy worrying or comparing about something else but did not spend time with God or read the Word all week, there’s an indicator that something is at issue here.
Once you clear out the spiritual/mind clutter, you will realize that you have more time. You have more time because you aren’t spending time worrying, comparing, self-criticizing, or mad. You can devote that time to God, with your spouse, your kids, or doing something fun!
Start the Declutter!
Well, I hope you loved the post! I know, decluttering seem like a daunting task, but it is rewarding and kind of addicting. Once you start and you see the great results, you will have the motivation to keep going at your own pace.
It will take time to go through everything and teach yourself and practice self-awareness. But, with God’s help, it really can be done.
Anytime is the best time to start implementing simplicity, beging decluttering, and embracing God’s mission for you.
Thank you for reading,
Co-founder of The Simple Mission
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