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 bookshelves 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 can’t keep up with everything!

And it weighs me down.

It’s 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 it’s doubtful and when we reach semi-retirement we plan to move from a 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment and won’t 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 I’ve made a bit of money through using Amazon trade-in.

It’s not just books and articles

I’ve 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, I’ve 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 I’ve 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 I’ve been careful with what I’ve bought 2 pairs of trousers, 2 skirts, 4 jumpers, 2 shirts and I’ve 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?

I’ve 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

It’s 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. I’ve gone through therapy to address some issues, and think I’ve 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 it’s 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 I’d 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!

Published On: May 31st, 2018 / Categories: Clearing Clutter /

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.