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Breaking The Clutter Gathering Habits Of A Lifetime

Aug 17, 2007
If you want to break the clutter-gathering habits of a lifetime, it's a very different process from all those 'this is the last time' decluttering sessions you've probably waded into over the years.

Yes, decluttering is one part of the journey, but more important still are the steps you take towards understanding the true nature of your clutter, knowing how you gathered it in the first place, identifying your regular sources of clutter and being aware of the point at which it transforms itself into clutter.

The key to enjoying the benefits of a clutter free lifestyle lies in developing your ability to recognize clutter. Mastering the skill of seeing it for what it is before it insinuates its way into your life, fine-tuning your clutter radar and cultivating a ruthless no-clutter mindset.

Here are 4 defining principles of clutter, each with its own challenge. Embrace the principles and your life will become less cluttered almost magically.

*** 1. Clutter is a decision deferred.

Often the deferred decision is simply not choosing where you're going to store something. So it gets stuck on the floor, or shelf, or table, or wherever it first landed. Once there it can quickly become invisible to you - an unquestioned fixture.

Sometimes the deferred decision is about avoiding the pain of letting go of something that was important in the past. It's because it was once valuable that you find it hard to let go of now, particularly if you invested a lot of time or energy or money into it. But the brutal truth is that it's actually not important any more and is probably blocking you from moving forward.

You probably have different kinds of deferral reasons and tactics for different kinds of clutter. So whenever and wherever you notice clutter in your life, there are two important questions to ask yourself: "What decision am I deferring here?" and "What do I need to let go of here?"

*** 2. Clutter is something that was once of value but is now out of date.

Hardly any clutter actually starts out its existence as clutter. If you think about your own clutter, you can probably recognise that much of it was originally useful and meaningful. It's the passing of time and the moving on to different phases of your life that convert many of your once-wonderful ideas, items and relationships into life clutter.

This is how clutter builds up quietly and imperceptibly over time. So you need to be prepared to thank the clutter for its earlier usefulness, then let it go.

*** 3. Clutter is an energy drainer.

Anything or anybody that drains your energy is a form of clutter. The more energy drains you can clear from your life, the better you'll feel in yourself, the more space and energy you'll have to focus on your goals, and the more fun you'll have.

The important skill here is to be aware of your energy levels and of how they're affected in different situations. Aim to eliminate the energy drains one by one and to embrace the activities, people and situations that energize you.

*** 4. Clutter blocks you from achieving your goals.

Whether your goals focus on being who you want to be, doing what you want to do, or having the things you want to have, clutter is the stuff that gets in your way.

Declutter, and you clear the path to your goals. Stay clutter free and you create the conditions for sustainable success.
About the Author
Mary McNeil is an experienced, ICF-certified life coach, natural born planner and declutterer extraordinaire! She works with her clients on a variety of decluttering, success and creativity projects.
Her 30-day home learning and action program is jam-packed full with the knowledge and experience she's gained over years of one-to-one coaching with her clients.
Check out => Success Secrets Of A Clutter Free Lifestyle
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