Mike Burns has a great article on just this!
- Clutter has proven itself to be a nuisance in your life and you’re tired of it.
- You’re ready to do something about it. You want some breathing room.
- You’re tired of feeling overwhelmed with all of the “stuff” that piles up around you.
It can be tough to tackle. And when you do finally make some progress and get rid of it, it comes back! (resilient little annoyance)
So, what do you do?
- Do you keep on working toward focus and clarity?
- Or do you give in?
- Do you throw up your hands and say, “Forget it! Let the piles continue.”
You are not alone. It’s a common problem.
Here are 4 reasons why we surrender to clutter (and some ideas on resolving them):
1. We lose motivation.When the fight gets tough and the circumstances are unrelenting, we get tired. When we get tired, we lose our “go-get-it-ness.” The job looks harder. The mountain looks taller. The road looks longer.
When this happens, we have to reconnect with our “why.” We have to remember our reasons for decluttering in the first place. In those times, it does us good to do whatever it takes to jumpstart our battery-drained, blurry values.
We have to expose ourselves to those people/ songs/ videos/ walks in the park/ cups of tea/ blogs/ podcasts/ etc… that remind us of who we are and why we do what we do.
2. We have unrealistic expectations.Sometimes, we consider surrender because things aren’t working out like we thought they would. We had these grandiose plans, but they weren’t very realistic. Maybe we underestimated the challenge. Perhaps we assumed it wouldn’t reoccur after we dealt with it the first time.
Whatever the case, our expectations were not in alignment with our reality.
- If you expect perfection, you will be disappointed.
- If you expect everyone to be as excited as you are about your project, you will be disappointed.
- If you expect decluttering alone to bring joy to your life, you will be disappointed. (you have to fill that empty space with something meaningful, or it’s just empty space)
- If you expect your outcomes to be just like those people on those blogs, you will likely be disappointed.
3. We have faulty belief-filters.We all see life through lenses that we wear in front of our eyes. On those lenses are scripts. In those scripts are the operating guidelines and belief statements that we have decided were true.
And we see everything that we see through these filters.
As you can tell, these filters are pretty important, as they color every aspect of our lives. So, we have to pay attention to what’s written there, and make sure they are healthy scripts.
Our approach to our stuff is far more important than the number of things we possess or the presence of piles. Your relationship with your possessions is one that requires attention and occasional tweaking.
We sometimes surrender because we get the cart before the horse. We begin to feel like decluttering is the point. But it’s not. It’s only a tool.
4. We don’t know how to win.Fighting clutter is not ALL about tips, tricks and tools. But they are necessary. As I said before, your approach is more important that your techniques. However, you still need good techniques.
At risk of sounding too obvious, some people struggle simply because they don’t know how to declutter. They haven’t learned the shortcuts and maxims that have helped so many before them.
And that’s perfectly acceptable. There’s no shame in not knowing. Don’t feel bad about what you don’t know… because you can do something about it.
There are some great resources out there from people who have already walked where we’re walking. They’ve learned a few things about the path we’re on and they can help us know where the tricky parts are and what needs to happen to continue successfully.
I’m talking about people like Joshua Becker and Courtney Carver and Leo Babauta and others.
Some people are finding solutions. So can you!
I recently asked a bunch of you (my friends and readers) about your “burning questions” related to living well and finding focus. Several people responded with things like:
- “I need help with the HOW-TOs of decluttering.”
- “I have to get control of my physical stuff.”
- “I need help with staying motivated.”
- “I keep giving up and giving in.”