Clearing Your Clutter, With Intention

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Clutter clearing is a practice I have embraced since I was a child, yet even after all this time I continue to be amazed at just how good it feels to let go of things that are no longer serving me. Not only does clearing clutter bring greater peace and spaciousness to my home and surroundings, but it does the same for my inner world as well. I walk away freer, lighter and happier.

I just finished my New Year’s clutter clearing. (Well, almost through—I still need to visit my son’s ever evolving and continually growing space—the playroom). This year the clutter clearing process had special meaning for me. We plan to move out of our home in May to rebuild. Knowing that this is our last four months in this home, I wanted to make it the best it could be—organized, simplified, peaceful and spacious, so we could be fully supported and enjoy the remaining time in this special place.

I recently completed a deep and thorough process of reflecting on my life, values, and goals—which is how I set my New Year’s intentions. With my new bearings complete, I dove into the simplifying process, making space for all the dreams I had set in motion by putting my thoughts on paper. My intentions were clear and fresh in my mind, so as I cleared I knew the two practices were linked: I was reinforcing and affirming my intentions as I went along, making room for co-creative manifestations. I was charged with clarity and positive energy.

I followed the below steps of what has become a very familiar and comforting clearing ritual:

Go room by room…begin with one room and complete the clearing in that room before moving on to the next room…

Start small… (one drawer, one cabinet, one file box)

Work on the easiest (least cluttered place) first so you will have a quick and easy pay-off, thereby capturing new energy to motivate you for the more challenging areas…

Taking everything out of the drawer, closet, or container first—everything. Then clean the space before putting things back.

Sort and clear—one by one look at each object, item, paper and (quickly) determine if the item supports you and reflects who you are or is just taking up my time and energy and physical and psychic space that could be put to better use or a higher purpose.

Get the clutter out of the house right away—in the trash, donate, recycle or find a new home.

As I cleared, there were two intentions that imbued the process:

First, I knew that the more space I made the more room there was for the Universe to conspire for my good, as well as more room for creative expression and new and better things to come into my life—and hopefully not new material items—but instead more energy, fresh ideas, like-minded people, and greater peace and harmony in my home.

Second, I was aware that I was not just clearing clutter, but simplifying my life. At the University of Santa Monica’s Spiritual Psychology program they encourage “healing your issue for the last time.” I had the sense that on some level I was “clearing for the last time.” While perhaps not literally true, I was aware of a difference this time around. In the past I would feel that I was in a never-ending cycle of accumulating and letting go, whereas this time I felt that my life was changing and I was truly simplifying. I would not be attracting more of the same and clearing it again, but rather my clearing would be on a different level.

Next time you clear your clutter consider:

1. Observing your thoughts and feelings as you clear. Are you judging yourself, feeling overwhelmed or hopeless—or are you in a flow, energized, present? Know that as you let go you are making space for true and lasting happiness and fulfillment.

2. Energizing the process by setting intentions and affirming your intentions. It could be as simple as, “I am creating more space and peace inside and out.”

For more tips and thoughts about clearing, you may enjoy:
Key to Clutter-Free: Making a Choice
Common Clutter Clearing Challenges

5 Comments

  • Tancie says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for a great post. Recently I cleared out my shoe closet, and funny, I kept the bag in the middle of the kitchen floor for days before getting rid of it! I like the comment about get rid of it quick – I see the value in making a clean break and setting the intention to OPEN to new energy. Very cool : )

    • Laura and Alison says:

      Hi Tancie, Thanks for sharing! I find if I don’t get the clutter out of the house quickly, it may find its way back in!

  • Kirstin says:

    Hi Laura,

    There is one space in my house that needs de-cluttering, but I am fearful to face it – the pantry! Any suggestions and tips on how to de-clutter and organize this daunting task.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Laura and Alison says:

      Hi Kirstin, The first piece of advice I have for the pantry is to make sure you start first thing in the morning so you will be finished before you need to make dinner. When I cleared my pantry the other day, I made the mistake of not giving myself enough time and the kitchen was in such disarray that we had to get take-out for dinner. While it is a big project to take everything out of the pantry, it is worth it. Before you begin, make sure you have a sense of what (if any) containers or storage items you will need. I keep most of my pantry items such as flour, sugar, rice and pasta in mason jars and glass containers. For things I intend to keep in the package I use plastic containers with lids. I have a small pantry, so to conserve space I will group similar items in baskets. Because my pantry is so small, I did not focus too much on organization. I do not have room to have one shelf for baking, one for cans etc., so I trusted that just by getting rid of what I no longer need and having the items in easy to see containers and loosely grouped by category- it would be organized enough. I have been very happy with the result and the small space keeps me very focused on only buying what I need and not over-stocking. I hope that helps! Let us know how it goes!

  • Natalie says:

    Hi Laura and Alison,

    Thanks so much for these thoughtful and clear decluttering tips! I feel a new sense of motivation to start organizing my apartment after reading this post :)

    I would like to ask you for advice on a specific cluttering habit I have. Everyday I get home from work absolutely exhausted, and (embarrassingly), I toss all my clothes in a pile, either on the floor or on my chair (everything from workout clothes to professional clothes to PJs). By Friday, I am greeted by a mountain of clothes that overwhelms me. Not only does it create clutter, but it also makes it more complicated to do laundry and ironing, because my clothes get wrinkled. I’m wondering if you have creative suggestions for how to tackle this bad habit head on. It definitely causes me unnecessary stress every week!

    Thank you again for the work you do and all the amazing articles!

    Natalie

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