I was reflecting recently, thinking about how we live in such a fast-paced world that conditions us to think we should accumulate stuff, the more you can afford, the more stuff you buy. I have only been recently awakened from this nightmare. I call it a nightmare because we equate our worth to things, the more we have, the better we think we are yet this is not true. God considers us worthy based on our relationship with Jesus Christ and not based on stuff.
In today’s blog post, I want to share my thoughts on clutter. Some synonyms to clutter are mess, chaos, disorder, rubbish, or confusion. I am certain these give a clear idea of what clutter means. I was inspired to write this post because there has been so much clutter in my life over the years. In my case, I saw it in the physical order of things and my mental health state. I started removing items I have not used in years and donating these. I have been doing this in phases, some items were easier to let go of, especially those I have lost interest in. I did this exercise again recently and was surprised by the little stuff I was still able to give away again. I think in the first phase of doing this I kept some of the stuff because I thought I would need them soon, although I knew they had not been used in ages. I also unsubscribed to newsletters and emails I have not checked in months.
This exercise led me to some self-reflection. I believe our physical behavior is a manifestation of our internal perception. Through this process, I realized that the clutter is saying a lot about my internal situation. I asked myself a few questions:
- Why am I holding onto things, even those I have not used in years?
- What am I scared of, by keeping them?
- What would letting go of unnecessary things look like?
- Which things am I going to release?
By providing an honest answer to each of these questions, I was led to so much revelation on my fears and bad habits, why I do the things I do, and why I react the way I do. A lot of the way we do things starts from our childhood and has been carried on throughout our adult lives out of habit. After doing this exercise, I had to repent and ask God to help me. I realized that I had attached my worth to things/ stuff. The more I had, the better I felt and filled the void of issues undealt with.
Declutter is defined as removing clutter from an area, this can apply in any area of one’s life, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, or mental. This does not mean packing them away in a wardrobe stacked with other clothes like I used to do, it means releasing them. These questions above brought to light the need for me to declutter. Being honest with myself helped me start a journey of decluttering my life, one step at a time I am releasing the things that are not of value, whether these are tangible or intangible. These things include clothing, paper (notes, old documents etc.), negative and destructive thought processes amongst other things. Every time I release these comes freedom and renewal to my thoughts.
I read an article where a psychologist points out that clutter provides interesting clues about our state of mind. He mentions that the way you see your clutter is the way you see yourself and your relationships. He also links the clutter to childhood experiences. He gives an example that you may find an over-stocked kitchen pantry in the home of someone who grew up poor or too many clothes in the wardrobe of someone that was always given hand-me-downs as a child. I thought this was interesting because it confirmed to me that as human beings, we hardly give ourselves time to assess why we behave the way we do.
What is your clutter telling you?
As I continue this journey, I also encourage you to also take an inventory of your life. Ask yourself if you need all the stuff, you are keeping or entertaining. If not, why are you keeping them? What do those things represent or mean to you? Is it a healthy representation? If not, what are you going to do about it?
As mentioned above, we are not defined by things. Yes, we are allowed to enjoy the finer things in life but if these get out of control or become unnecessary or even become idols, we need to stop it and declutter. I am grateful that I did not just move to a bigger place where all my “stuff” could fit but I had to go through this irritation to get to the bottom of hidden issues like letting go of a lack mentality. All things work out for good, even the clutter we surround ourselves with! If you need any support or practical tips on how to do this, click on the contact button and leave a message, I will get back to you.
A quote by Barbara Hemphill puts it so well “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions”.
“It is your responsibility to act. We are behind you so go ahead and get it done” – Ezra 10:4.