I am so excited to be writing about this topic today. We are big believers that a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. The very first thing I do when I am feeling overwhelmed is to do a mini purge. A mini purge for me is when I pick a nook or cranny of my house and spend 15 minutes freeing that space from clutter.
The reason why I am jazzed to be writing on this subject is because I am at the tail end of a 3 week purge. I have never in my life purged so many items from my home. I can say without a doubt this experience has been life altering.
There are absolutely people who thrive in spaces that are more cluttered and this is comforting to some. As a matter of fact, many creatives need to fill their spaces to feel inspired. I judge you not. Defining what clutter vs. a productive living space means to me has taken the better part of 10 years and will most likely evolve throughout my lifetime.
We have always had minimalist tendencies. We aren’t big on “stuff” but then you buy a house, you furnish a house, you throw in some kids, a cat, and triathlon. Before you know it things are feeling a little congested.
I feel like we have parted with the majority of our personal items but surely the actual number is much less. Most were donated. Bigger ticket items were sold on Craigslist or in closed Facebook groups which received a lot of attention from people we know and people we don’t know.
Are we moving? Are we in financial crisis? Are we sick? Will you let me into your home to have a private showing of your belongings?
Nope. Nope. Nope. Huh?
We are all good. Actually, we are better than good. We are fantabulous! And then came the next questions.
WHY? Followed by HOW?
We believe our lives needed to be simplified. Drastically simplified. We believe our focus is better spent on the most important things – our relationships. Our relationship to our spiritual selves, as husband and wife, with our children, with our health and with the achievement of our highest potential.
If you think about what these relationships require, the answer is simply our MOST focused energy. It doesn’t require:
- 4 sets of sheets for every bed.
- Enough towels to outfit an NFL locker room.
- More toys than there is time to play.
- Furniture for show.
- An extra set of dishes.
- 4 tablecloths that get used maybe once a year.
- A dining room table for folding laundry.
- Beauty products and clothes that are rarely used.
- Home decor items that I don’t LOVE.
We felt that we had abundance but in the wrong places. Freeing our space allowed us to make room for the right abundance when the time presents itself.
If you having been hanging with my crew for a while, you know there was a time in our lives when things were tight financially. To be completely honest, we were totally broke.
To help ease the financial strain we would hold a few garage sales each year. Lots of items that we prided ourselves on went during these fire sales. It was way back then that we started making peace with letting our possessions go. It has been an arduous process of separating emotion and sentiment from “things.” This did not come easily to us. A sad commentary on our culture is that we as a society place too high of a value on the material. In my opinion, it is easier for us to make a connection with a tangible object than something intangible like an emotion or feeling.
So, for those who have asked me HOW do we do this? How do we unclutter our space and our life?
I don’t have that answer. I can’t give you a process to prepare you emotionally. I can only share with you what might be helpful to get you started.
The Art of Uncluttered Living|Getting Started:
- Create a vision for what an uncluttered life looks like to YOU. Be introspective in determining what this means for you and those who live in your space. In June, I sent John an email outlining my thoughts for our vision and goals after Ironman Lake Placid. Included was a mission to Live Simply.
- Set a concrete goal. Uncluttering your space can be objective. For example, donate all items from the kitchen that we don’t use on a monthly basis by the end of September.
- Take it slow and start small. People look at what we did and thought “Wow that was…( brave or extreme or enviable).” However, there is no such thing as an overnight anything. We have been on this path for a while and our journey just took a major shift. Don’t compare your beginning to my middle.
- Find inspiration. Ever watch Tiny House Nation? Watching people dramatically downsize their living spaces contributed to our evolution of thought.
- Be Patient. If this is something you want to do but are struggling, be patient. The universe works in mysterious ways and when you least expect it you will experience the right shift in thinking that will allow you to continue your journey. An episode of Tiny House Nation spotlighted a couple who lost everything in the Colorado wild fires. It was heartbreaking. A few weeks later I was gappling with letting an item go when I asked myself “what would you save in a fire?” The answer was surprisingly simple – my family.
There are very few words to describe how I feel after letting so much go…
Freedom. Peace. Happiness. Gratitude.
Humbled. Blessed. Uncomplicated.
Do you have a recent example of how you recently challenged yourself to live differently?