The Cleansing Power of Moving

I’ve discovered some amazing truths since my last post in April.

About clutter – and how to get rid of it for good. About letting go of stuff. And, about the power our homes have in our lives.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Barely 5 weeks ago, we made the decision to sell our home of 18 years.  Although our typical Connecticut colonial served our family well till now, we were confronted with a kind of “perfect storm” of life events – empty nest, business transitions for both my husband and me, and a profound sense of time passing. So it suddenly made sense to just sell it and get on to the next thing.

Great.  To be liberated from the time-sucking chores of home ownership struck us both as a sensible way to start the next phase of life.  With that goal in mind, up went the real estate sign, and I rolled up my sleeves to become my first home-staging client. 

I gave myself four weeks before the listing would go up (ha!). 

After lots of sweat, thought and feedback, here’s the stuff you need to know if you want to stage your home – either so you can enjoy it more or you can be more effective in selling it.
Clutter – and it’s an even bigger deal than you think.

You cannot start the staging process without a few preliminary steps. 

The first and most important step is the dreaded de-cluttering.  Getting a good look at the stuff of our lives that’s hiding in the back of bedrooms closets, taking up space the full length of the attic, and otherwise weighing us down. 

I can tell you that while I knew we had the standard amount of stuff clogging up the garage and attic, I was shocked at the how much stuff came out of our home and went to either Goodwill or the dump.  At one point on my fifth trip to the dump in one week, I was brought to tears when this clear evidence of “too much stuff” confronted me.

Funny- when we acquired all of that stuff over the course of many years, the high we got from “acquiring” for ourselves or our kids didn’t come accompanied with a warning “Too much stuff will kill your soul”.  But maybe it should have. 

Now, in the middle of my own clutter intervention, I want to pass on some of the good, the bad, the ugly and the aha moments that will inform my life from this point forward on the topic of getting stuff and getting rid of stuff.

So, here we go…  

1.  There is always more stuff than you think there is.

2.  It will always take you twice as long as you imagine to get through the clutter.

3.  What you have outgrown physically, psychologically or any other way – let it go.

4. Things aren’t labeled “clutter”.  So, give it your own label. If it is not helpful to you at this point in your life it’s clutter.  (This last point I learned from Brooks Palmer whose book on the subject is great).

5. Remember that the tossing of clutter now gets you closer to the future you really want.  Keeping it will just keep you down and stuck.

6.  If you feel guilty, sad, nostalgic or disappointed when you look at something, chances are that thing is clutter. 

7.  You will never be able to be truly organized until you remove the clutter in your life.  Keeping clutter in an organized way is like cleaning your floor with a dirty mop. You just keep slopping the same old crap around.  Toss it.

8.  Remember keeping stuff just because it’s expensive can only increase guilt and that in itself is clutter.  Donate or say goodbye.

9.  Clutter can hide in plain site.  Just because that ugly vase has always been on the shelf in your dining room doesn’t mean it has any business staying there if it is not something you love.  Longevity or inheritance is not a defense for abiding clutter.

10.  The bigger the storage space, the more likely there is to be ancient clutter topped off with new clutter.  It all gets the same review and gets tossed if it has no current value. 

I could go on…
Tomorrow, the psychology of clutter with helpful tips. 
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Comments

  1. I’m sure you can’t imagine that by reading this 1 paragraph that I can apply this to all the things going on in my life. I’ve read through everything and I’m going to TOTALLY, literally de-clutter my life and I’ll report back to you tomorrow! I think this blog may help me. Thanks!

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