Heading in a new direction?

Midlife change can be unsettling, even when you know it’s coming your way!

The kids are grown and on their own now. Relationships sometimes end due to divorce or death. Our health may take a turn, whether temporarily or permanently. Careers are not bulletproof, either. When change occurs with one of these midlife events, do you feel stuck? Shocked or mournful?Are you resistant to something different? Now what? Include decluttering in your New Year’s resolutions and enjoy these three benefits which can reframe the change in a positive manner.

Benefit #1: Physical Clarity Leads to Mental Clarity

Feel the space between your things!

Decluttering is a powerful movement these days for good reason: the square footage of our houses has increased substantially over the last 50 years! It stands to reason that the quantity of household stuff stored within has also followed suit. Of course, we accumulate many things along the way as we live a full life, raising a family and pursuing our interests. But when the household size shrinks or our own activities shift, now we have excess items which are no longer needed or used.

However, when we allow them to continue taking up physical space, they also command mental and emotional space. In fact, unused things can actually emit negative energy! They crowd out the potential to substitute items that support where we are now or where we might head. This is what leads to feeling stuck. It’s uncomfortable to be in between chapters of our life, knowing one is winding down but feeling uncertain about moving into the next one.

Yet when we begin to remove outdated belongings, we open space not just in our home but in our mind, as well. Releasing the old with love helps prepare us to welcome the new with hope. We regain perspective about life’s inevitable changes. In other words, we can now be receptive to something different…something new…something that resonates and invigorates our next act!

Ask Yourself, “Why is this here?”

Check out a past post which delves a little deeper into the why of all our stuff:

Benefit #2: A Streamlined Space Simplifies your Routine

Gain energy for what matter most now!

Most would agree that it’s draining when we have too much stuff in our home. Maneuvering from one room to the next can be challenging. Locating a particular item takes extra time. Maintaining more stuff than you use takes extra energy. Wouldn’t you revel in a home where everything has a place and a purpose? If you think about it, stuff we no longer need or use really become distractions in our daily life.

So consider how light you would feel with space between your things…the things that matter most to you now! Imagine not worrying about running late. Or feeling confident of where things are in your home. How many times have you bought something at the store, only to discover that you already had three of them hidden in a cabinet or drawer? Indeed, paring down to the essentials which support your current routine can be one of the top self-care steps you tackle in the New Year!

Benefit #3: An Uncluttered Life Provides Inspiration for a New Focus

Begin mapping out your new direction!

Change can be difficult, frustrating, sad and scary, particularly when you’ve been happy with the status quo. But it’s also an integral part of how life unfolds. Accepting the role it plays in our life experience is the first step towards taking charge of how you want your narrative to continue. We can’t always direct our circumstances but we can control our response to our new direction.

How to apply change in your space

When you’re ready to take action, begin with clearing out your home. Retain only your favorite reminders of loved ones, milestone accomplishments and memorable experiences. Release the excess. Start small with a drawer, a counter or a closet. Examine what you have and decide if it still resonates with where you are now.

There is no time limit on how long the process should take. Everyone has varying amounts of things and stuff. Each of us needs a unique amount of time to make space clearing decisions. So honor the process that works best for you because it’s not a race! The decluttering process is a cathartic process: viewing where you’ve been and then imagining where you’d like to head next!

Where to next?

How to Start

Decluttering method 101

Ready to dig in? Fantastic! Here’s a couple of tips to get you started and keep you going.

  1. Take tiny steps.
    • It can feel overwhelming to tackle an entire room in one fell swoop.
    • Think a drawer, a counter or a cabinet…you choose!
  2. Keep it short.
    • Set a timer on your smart device for 15 minutes.
    • This may not seem very long but your efforts will add up!
  3. Start with the easy stuff.
    • Removing obvious things first will empower you to tackle the harder things later on.
      Focus on broken, worn out, expired or duplicate items.
  4. Create two categories for now.
    • Have a bag for “trash” to dispose of anything unusable.
    • Have another bag for “donate” for things that still have utility.
  5. Track your progress.
    • Documenting your success will reinforce your new habit.
    • Put a star on your calendar or keep a tally of how many things you purge…woohoo!

Stay tuned for future posts about little decluttering tips and routines I will share with you to bring peace to your home and joy in your heart. After all, our home should be a sanctuary for comfort and inspiration, don’t you think?

Your turn!

Final Thoughts

First, here’s a documentary video about what’s in a typical middle-class U.S. home…32 of them, to be exact.  It’s an eye-opening view into how much stuff we amass. I encourage you to allot 18 minutes for this super fascinating peek!

Next, how does your space compare with the featured homes? Does this inspire you to view your home with fresh eyes? To make changes?

Lastly, are you in the midst of a significant life change? How are you planning to adapt to your new direction? Drop a few lines below and share your experience with us...and thanks for stopping by!