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How reflection can help you get un-stuck.

the decluttering process Aug 12, 2019

In the last couple of posts, we discussed the 3 steps in the decluttering process. In this post, we’ll talk more in depth about reflection and how to learn the most you can from your clutter.

Reflection provides clarity around what we love and what is distracting us from leading the lives we desire.

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way. Most often in my journey, I have felt relieved, but at times I have also felt frustrated, nervous, and even ashamed. Whatever the feeling, make a note. This will be your reminder of why you don’t need 4 potato peelers or other random trinkets ever again in life.

Let’s first discuss what you can learn from each of the piles you created in the ‘review’ phase.

The ‘yes’ pile

The yes pile shows you what you love. What similarities do you notice in this pile? Are all your clothes a certain color/color scheme? Do you find all your are books of the same genre(s)? Are all your condiments made for certain cuisines?

This is not coincidence. As a human, you enjoy and use the same things over and over again. Routine brings comfort. The items in your yes pile can help you identify what you love and guide you as you consider purchasing new items. The more you buy what you love, the more you’ll love the life you’re building.

The ‘no’ pile

This pile represents the things you don’t love or don’t use often. It also as represents the opportunity to create new habits. Again, you’ll look at the similarities and take note. Do you notice that all the glassware you gave away was for alcoholic beverages? Maybe you don’t love to drink as much as you thought. Notice that all the movies you’re giving away were gifts from friends? Maybe it’s time to share with your friends what you actually enjoy. Did you notice all the stuff in your junk drawer came from events you attended throughout the year? Think twice before you buy at the next event.

The ‘maybe’ pile

Most often, this pile represents things that disrupt our self-image and perception. For example, we may have a stack of books related to self-help we never read. Because these books make us feel as though we are evolving, admitting we don’t use them would signify we are not who we thought we were. This pile may also represent a piece of our identity we’re not ready to shed. Holding onto items that remind you of your past? This may represent a desire hold onto an identity that no longer suits you.

The way you clutter one part of your life is the way you clutter every part of your life. Therefore, findings in your maybe pile are likely to be repeated across various spaces and facets of life. If you find that you’re keeping books to uphold a false image, you’re probably doing the same with your relationships, job, clothes, etc. Use these findings to help you find and eventually eliminate unhealthy patterns.

As you complete your reflection, dig deep. There’s no rush or time limit.

Here is a reflection entry I completed after decluttering my desk space:

“I feel relieved, but also frustrated and concerned.

I’m realizing that sometimes I hold onto things because I assume there must be something important in them, but I never create a plan for addressing them. I also find that I tend to hold onto or put off things that make me feel overwhelmed and unsure.

Often, I procrastinate on the following:

  • Financial decisions
  • My ideas – I often seek out validation before moving forward
  • Anything I am unsure of

I want to do more and think less. I also want to determine what I’m not doing so I can create mental space for what is important to me.

Decluttering my desk space taught me a lot about my habits. It taught me that I need to tackle my fear and procrastination head on. I was holding onto old phones, USB drives, unpaid bills, and old mail as well as
progress reports from elementary school.

Here are the action steps I took:

  • Bought a shredder – because I needed a way to process my mail and paperwork
  • Created a routine for meal prep – because I was tired of just thinking about how I would get my life together
  • Blocked out time for blog content creation – so that I could take action and stop putting my ideas on the back burner
  • Started addressing my concerns/frustrations head on with others – because I was tired of being silent out of fear for how they would respond

Without reflection, I’d likely still be hoarding things out of fear and anxiety instead of taking action that will propel me forward and closer to my goals.

What is your stuff telling you?

Que-so Goodbye,


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