A Joyful New Year of Decluttering

Aw, the final day of 2015. Tomorrow begins a fresh, New Year. I can still feel the magic of Christmas in the air, as I reflect on all I carried and acquired the past year. The spirit of the season lingers, while I contemplate what I want to keep, what I want to discard, inside and out, and what I’d like to sort and make space for in the New Year.

This holiday season, one of my favorite business coaches and mentors sent me Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” It couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time.

Simply, Marie Kondo believes that we should surround ourselves with what we love and what bring us joy, or in her words, “sparks joy.” Her method, known as KonMari, inspires us to keep what “sparks joy” and toss the rest. It’s a simple method, yet not an easy one. I know.

Curious about the KonMari method, I tentatively started with my socks, which is not the order that Marie prescribes. I spent over an hour holding, sorting, folding, and lining my drawers with my select joyful socks. It took over an hour!

My beliefs regarding abundance, money, self-doubt, and permission bubbled up. Staring at my socks, I faced decisions deeply influenced by my relationships with attachment and fear. To move forward, I had to call upon courage, get clear, and open my heart to compassion…all because of socks!

I had moments when I wanted to toss the little book in the trash along with my worn out socks. Why do I keep such old tattered rags, let alone wear them? Aw yes, the trance of unworthiness. I’ll save that for another blog…

Once I felt content with my socks and more confident, I went back to the beginning and started with where Marie advises, with tops; I went with T’s. Marie insists that we try-on, touch, and hold each item of clothing. I resisted her instructions when sorting my socks, thinking I could do it my way, which is probably what added to the difficulty of the task.

With each shirt on, I laughingly asked, “Does this shirt bring me joy?” It was enlightening to notice how this simple question inspired a relatively quick response. I didn’t think about my response. I felt the shirt on my body, cast attachment and fear aside, and began to notice my decision-making process ease. Once I decided, “Yes” or “No,” I removed the shirt and either folded it or tossed it in the discard pile. I did not look at it again.

Marie invites us to “thank” the items for what they provide, whether we keep or discard them…so even though I chose to store some necessities in my drawers that don’t necessarily bring me joy, such as my thermal underwear and snow pants; I thanked them, yes out loud, for protecting my body. Once I got over myself, the process actually inspired feelings of joy. It’s all about calling on courage to “reframe” our realities.

Marie’s KonMari method can inspire the decluttering of our inside spaces also. Meaning, what we store on the inside should ultimately bring us joy. Yet, we carry a lot of inside clutter that most likely does not bring us joy, or serve a functional purpose. You know, the inside clutter of self-judgment, unworthiness, guilt, and shame, the negative, self-deprecating beliefs that fill our hearts and minds. I do.

So why do we keep what doesn’t bring us joy? My sense is that we hold on to the inside clutter for similar reasons that we hold on to the outside clutter in our homes, cars, and offices.

We believe..

…that we don’t deserve better.

…that this is as good as it gets.

…we’re bad because of past mistakes or decisions.

…we’re failures and unworthy.

…that we owe it to someone.

We think we have to keep it because someone said so or someone gave it to us. We don’t believe there’s any other way. We paid for it! Much of the clutter we carry we could toss. Chances are it’s outlived its usefulness, its protection, its security, and its value, if it ever had any.

I’ve been decluttering for years, inside and out. I started several years ago when my body got my attention, finally. I was living with chronic pain, gasping for air, and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. My body ached, my spirit was flat, and my mind overflowed with clutter.

Calling on courage, I reached out to alternative approaches to health and wellness. I started receiving acupuncture and massage , and joined a yoga studio where, one pose as a time, I started sorting my mental, emotional, and physical my clutter, honestly. I started meditating and reading every spiritual book I could get my hands on, and invested in personal coaching to continue my mental and emotional decluttering.

I’ve grown crystal clear about how attachment and fear influence what I hold, why I hold it, how it feels, why I struggle to discard it, why I struggle to keep it, what brings me joy, and what doesn’t. The process of decluttering is hard, emotional work, yet it inspires sublime possibilities, it “spark joy!” I know!

As the New Year approaches, I invite you to sort, try-on, hold, and ask, “Does this bring me joy?” “Does this serve me?” If not, start the New Year by calling on courage and starting the process of discarding, tossing, and letting it go! Begin the practice of making space for beliefs and things that bring you joy, and inspire sublime possibilities.

Here’s a simple question, yet not an easy one to answer: “If you could declutter your heart, mind, and spaces of all that doesn’t bring you joy, what might be possible for your relationships, your life, and the New Year?”

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