I want to share one of my biggest weaknesses I love gathering material and resources. Sounds like a good thing doesn’t it, lots of information but it can be done to excess.

I’m not like one of those people on compulsive hoarders on Channel 5 but my PC has masses of PDFs saved to read one day, and Outlook is bursting with emails I’m saving.

I have plenty of book shelves and filing cabinets but I also have piles and piles of ongoing tasks on the floor rather than in cabinets, as they are ongoing and I want easy access. Any time I read something interesting I print it out and add it to the relevant pile.
I may have lots of stuff but it is organised. Except for the piles of business books that don’t fit on the shelves!

But I’ve been thinking how much time and energy does this take and is it time well spent?

The problem is there is so much information out there and I’m always looking out for new things to help my clients and help me to grow and develop but I cant keep up with everything!
And it weighs me down.
Its not just work stuff. Back in 1996 I did an art course, specialising in textiles and creative embroidery. I kept all the art materials, I kept all the books, and the bags of wool, and thought that one day Id use them, but now I think its doubtful and when we reach semi retirement we plan to move from a 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment and wont have the room for all of this, so I either wait and get rid of it then or do it now.
The charity shops are doing well out of me.
Friends are getting new books (to them) to read.
And Ive made a bit of money through using Amazon trade-in.

Its not just books and articles

Ive a DVD recorder and regularly download movies, especially foreign language films, but when will I watch them? I had 86 films saved, at 2 hours a film do I want to spend so much time sat watching TV? So Ive gone through and deleted the majority, with the remainder to go at Christmas if they haven’t already been watched.

And there are the clothes

A couple of years ago I reached my target of losing 10 stone and bought lots of clothes, including some quite short dresses, but just because I can doesn’t mean I should! Over 18 months I gained 2 stone in weight so had to buy bigger clothes, but now I’m back with a new lighter weight and Ive tried on these short dresses but they aren’t me anymore, I’m looking for a more elegant look!
So the big clothes have gone, the clothes I don’t want have gone and Ive been careful with what Ive bought 2 pairs of trousers, 2 skirts, 4 jumpers, 2 shirts and Ive made sure that what I have fits comfortably into my wardrobe and drawers, not just me. This is great, much easier to make a choice of what to wear.

Having less is freedom

And I think getting rid of stuff is my new obsession. I’m now looking at everything I possess and thinking , do I really need this? Funny isn’t it
Ive spent years accumulating stuff and now I’m looking to get rid, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I thought this was going to be hard, but its liberating and far better to give things to a charity than have them gather space.

The clutter inside

Its not just external clearing, there is also the clutter inside. Perhaps I’m focusing on external clutter because I don’t want to address the stuff that weighs me down inside.
Many of us have regrets and frustrations, things we think about but don’t know how to change. Ive gone through therapy to address some issues, and think Ive got it sorted. But every now and again something sets off a trigger and I’m back there again. Since the therapy it has never been as bad as before, like the bounce of a ball its less strong but it still has an impact.
And I’m wondering is the time right for me to deal with my external clutter part of the process to help me to have the space to deal with the inner thoughts.

Your challenge

  • To look around your home and see if you too have clutter that weighs you down.
  • Walk into each room and decide if you like what you see. If its perfect for you, well done and move on.
  • If not make a plan, this is not something to do right away but something that can be done in baby steps, just 10 minutes a day is one approach, or you may prefer to blitz a room over a weekend.
  • Don’t forget the digital look at your phone or iPod, do you need all the music and films you carry about with you. Are you spoilt for choice you never know what to listen to?
  • Look to your computer. Can you find what you want easily or do you have several versions of the same document, do you still need all the files?

I hope this helps and Id love to hear how you get on.
This article first appeared on the Amazing People website.
I wrote this 5 years ago, interestingly I let the clutter accumulate again, but with just a few days till my move I’ve made significant progress in disposing of things, and yes I have regained the feeling of lightness. As I move I may find I still have too much stuff so I’ll go through everything again. I don’t want to store extra things in my garage – that’s for my car!

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  1. Great article! Full of good reminders that I know I’ve heard and read versions of before and never acted on!!! I can relate certainly relate to clearing (some) and then cluttering and hanging on to things and projects that I’ll use or do “someday”. I’ll turn 60 in a month and a half and still have projects stashed that “I’ll do someday”. I agree, it IS a heavy weight to pull along with me through life. As well, my closet reflects weight gain and weight loss, clothes purchased and never worn…the cycle goes on and on…my counselor is a valuable asset to my life in helping me to understand the underlying connections. Thank you for sharing about your process!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. With my forthcoming move I need to refocus on this – think our age is a great age!

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