Decluttering is talked about a lot in Feng Shui and during consults. People see clutter as "bad" energy in a space and therefore needs to be cleaned up and removed. This can be true but what are we really doing here? How can this process actually be helping us internally to achieve a spiritual benefit as well? I want to explore how mind clutter can be let go as you declutter your space. First, we need a plan (says the Type A inside of me!)
There are many systems out there that help make the process of decluttering easy. Having a system that works for you is important and a good first step to tackling a clean-up. There are a few that come to mind that I know of:
Marie Kondo Method
Mount Vernon Method
Clear All Surfaces Method
The Four Box Method
I will allow you to go down the google rabbit hole for each of these verses listing them all out here. What I would like to offer is the additional concept of time to these methods. Once you figure out what method you want to try, add a time element to the process. Perhaps you are the type that will take the full day and tackle it all at once or have a slower approach to the task at hand. Either way is fine, just be honest with yourself upfront and know your limits. If cleaning out items is difficult or you just seem to put it off, it's good to know that. When I have a client that may be overwhelmed by the process, I generally recommend removing 9 items from one room every day to start. There is no right way to declutter, only the way that works for you at this moment.
I have recently gone through almost every room of my home rearranging and letting go. During the process, I thought to myself, is my mind as disorganized as this home? Is this why my life is so hectic lately? How does this clutter show up in my life? I wasn't thinking about how this is changing the energy of my home, it was a much deeper process unfolding itself.
It was as if I was letting go of old internal energies. I never decluttered this way before. In the past, it was task-driven. Hurry up and get this done and check it off my list. That was the conversation I was having with myself. I soon realized that being more conscious of the energy of the item (and in the moment), I was decluttering my external world and my internal one. #mindblown Wow, what an amazing revelation.
During this decluttering, clean-up process, I realized that I was mostly using my mind such as; this has stains so it needs to go, I have 2 of these items and only use one, etc. Granted this is a useful and easy way to clear 80% of the items that take up space. However, what happens when I get to the items that are near and dear to me? My tarot cards, crystals, jewelry, and furniture that I am attached to and love dearly.
There are also sentimental items that have followed me through numerous moves. Being carried around from home to home, taking up space and weight, just to be placed on a shelf and never looked at or used. How do you tackle these items with your brain? It is possible but I want to offer a few new tricks of tackling these items we deem as "my precious".
During my morning meditation, I recalled the process of cleaning the day before. Trying to gain clarity on the situation and how it was affecting me internally. I really dug deep into how things get so out of sort so quickly. I made the connection that I had stopped taking the time to do my inner work, the internal clutter was building up just as the external clutter was, all unseen and unconsciously. It reaffirmed just how much meditation and self-reflection is important to do on a daily basis. I no longer want to live unconscious of my internal and external surroundings.
What also came up for me was how children react to their environment and how it may still affect us as adults during the declutter process. The parents and guardians of young children that have struggled with getting their kid(s) to let go of toys or clothes, we understand and have seen how difficult it is for them to give something up.
Why is that? I pull out that spiderman figurine that was at the bottom of a box that hasn't seen the light of day in 2 years and suddenly it has to stay...my little one says "because". What is happening in the mind of the child at this time?
My guess is when a child sees a toy that hasn't seen in a while 2 things happen:
It brings up a memory and/or emotion, such as joy or happiness, being playful, creative, or just being in the moment with the item.
It brings back a reminder of the piece of themselves that they gave to the object.
Take a moment here to understand this because it is key to letting go. Think back to your favorite childhood toy. A stuffed animal, a doll, a blanket—something that gave you comfort. What emotions come up for you? Be still and be present with it, no matter what thoughts or feelings come up. (Seriously, step back and do this—it is transformative!)
When I did this, I could see that I gave life to this object. I transferred part of myself to it. I, therefore, created an attachment. In my child's mind, it gave me security and love and joy. It was there for me emotionally when my parents could not be. It was always there for me no matter what was happening. No wonder it is so hard to let go. Who would want to let go of that?
Whether the item is still with you or lost or given away, take a moment with it or the memory. Let all the emotions arise and clear from you. When you feel ready, imagine that fraction of light that is you, that is living within the item, float lightly and easily away. Let that part of you come back to you or return to Source, whichever feels right. See the object in your mind's eye, now clear of the past emotions and attachments.
Most of the time if something is hard to let go of, it might be a memory we are holding on to that no longer serves us. It is possible to let go of the item and retain the memory. Now reassess your willingness to let it go. You may find that you are ready to move on from it or it may need a few more sessions to be ready.
You can go through this process with any item you come across that you feel that you want to let go of but keep holding on to it. Also, realize that it's ok to hold on to things too! This process isn't for removing everything from your life, it is to help you through the inner work of releasing that which does not serve in the here and now.
Clutter is almost always a sign to go inward. It calls for stillness. Clutter affects our clarity. If you find things mounting up, become still. Breath and go in. Be present during your picking up or decluttering. Take breaks. Give yourself this as an opportunity for insight and watch for the blessings of peacefulness to come into the space you made for it.
As always, make your space a wonder space!