Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….
Are you one of the millions in this world that de-cluttering does not come easy? If so, take heart, there is hope for all of us. It will just take longer to de-clutter your life and then you will always have to fight the battle to not collect clutter again. Almost sounds like a recovery program, doesn’t it. Let me encourage you to continue on the task you have taken on. We all get side tracked. Life gets in the way of our best laid plans. If you have started to de-clutter and have “fallen off the wagon” get up and dust yourself off and be refreshed. This one is for you. Today is the day to start over, to refocus, it’s your “do over” day.
It doesn’t seem to matter if we are born into a family that lived like minimalist or if we were raised with some level of hoarding. There are many studies that have been done on how we develop and take on the different traits of our families. There are also years of research that say that you have the ability to change any of those traits that you want to, it maybe an uphill battle, but if you want to change, you can. Once we take some time and are honest with ourselves about the traits we want to keep and those we are willing to work hard to change, change can happen.
If you were raised by someone that lived with the motto “everything has a place and everything in it’s place” chances are you went through or you may still be going through a rebellious time in your life. As soon as you were old enough to make up your own rules, you chose to throw those old rules right out the window. These are the hardest people to get on board to de-clutter. During the de-cluttering process in can be very easy to slip back into that childlike attitude. I remember that feeling as I started to try and de-clutter my home. I had to remember why I needed to go through this process and who I was doing it for. I had to realize it was time to grow up and take responsibility for the mess I had made out of many areas of my life.
If you grew up in a home that maintained some level of clutter or maybe even some level of hoarding, digging out of that way of life may have become a passion of yours. I am sure there was a point that you came to understand the majority of the world does not live this way. You may have even promised yourself that as soon as you could get out you would never live that way. I think this is the hardest task you may take on in your life but will be the most rewarding. You will need to reteach yourself how to clean your home top to bottom and then to keep up with it on a regular basis. I will be honest, this is a battle you will fight the rest of your life. It will seem to take forever to get to the bottom of each and every pile. There will be time that you will want to throw in the towel and quit. Keep going, it will be worth it. Every time you finish a task, celebrate!
The secret to accomplishing any task is in the planning. Now don’t think that planning is half the battle, the real battle is in carrying out the plan. In reality we are great planners, we seem to stumble as we get up to put our plan into action. Maybe you will need to decide why it is so hard to execute the plan. Could it be you are just lazy and see no reason to change? Have you said to yourself, I was raised this way, it worked for my family, and it will work for me. Maybe you feel you are too old to change. Unless you have been buried lately, you are not too old. For every excuse, I promise there is an answer. I know this because I thought of all the excuses in the world!
If you are still rebelling against how you were raised, get over yourself and grow up! If you are old enough to drive a car, vote, pay taxes, or eat with sharp utensils, it’s time to take responsibility for the clutter in your life and do something about. Rebellion is a childish trait and the Bible says we are to put away childish things. Do you really want your children to grow up in all of the mess? Aren’t you tired of making excuses for not having family and friends over year after year? Do you even remember why you didn’t want to be like your parents and does it really matter anymore? Last but not least, who are you really hurting by continuing to live a life built on rebellion or just trying to prove a point? It’s time to move on, to live a life free of the burden of clutter. I know that it will take a while to dig out, but at least you will be closer to finishing by moving forward than you would be by sitting still.
The first step to de-clutter anything from your unused basement to your bedside table, is to decide what purpose that space is suppose to serve. I will give you a hint, no space should be a permanent holding space for stuff you have no idea what to do with it. Start with something small, like your bedside table. Open it up and ask yourself a simple question, does this serve a purpose in this space? If the answer is no, move it along. If it is a needed item, gather all the items that are alike and neatly place them back in the drawer. Be tough! Remember you are doing this for yourself! You will be surprised how good you will feel next time you open that drawer and it is all neat and tidy. It’s all about getting it accomplished one drawer at a time.
As you start de-cluttering, get 3 boxes to help tame the excess. Mark one: throw away, next: give away and last: put away. Don’t worry about emptying those boxes now, you just need a place to put things as you go through each area. It helps to stay on task and not get sidetracked by trying to find a spot to put what you just cleaned out.
If you are like me, I need some positive reinforcement for sticking with an unpleasant task. So, as you begin planning what you will do each day to help accomplish your goal of de-cluttering you life, plan in some treats for yourself. Do not shop for more stuff! Treat yourself to a special dinner, time with friends or family, may be a hot uninterrupted bubble bath, or something simple like a cup of coffee or tea.
The time has come to get started. No more excuses, no more hiding. Get up today and start making goals for yourself. Celebrate each and every accomplishment. Think about it, when God created the universe even He took a day off, rested, saw all that He had done and said “it is good”.
There are so many blessings waiting for you as you take this journey. This may not be the first time you have started down this road. You may have started this trip several times, but you have gotten farther each time, you are making progress. It may look like a small accomplishment, but the battle was won and you are ready to start again. God wants us to keep moving forward. In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us He has a plan for us to prosper and not to harm us, how can we allow God to work in our lives if we are carrying around the burden of clutter. We are hiding from our potential, hiding behind a lot of stuff that really doesn’t matter. We are holding so tightly to things, that we do not come to God with open hands, allowing Him to fill them with the best from His store house. He only wants to give us His best, but we are holding so tight to our “collection” we are really telling God we know what we need and we know what is best for us. It’s time to open up your hand and allow God to guide you into a life that is free of the weight of our stuff and then God will be able to use us to bless others.
Love you-because He first loved us!!
Debby at firstname.lastname@example.org