How decluttering space mysteriously declutters your life

Room stripped to the bones

The power of decluttering is mysterious and mighty. New bathroom to be installed? That means creating some empty space. 

It’s like the House that Jack Decluttered. Before the builders even arrived, I was up to line seven.

This is the bin that Rachel filled
To clear out the porch that Rachel cleared 
To clear out the office that Rachel cleared
To clear out the bedroom that Rachel cleared
To clear out the storeroom 
That Jayden demolished
To build a posh new bathroom.

 It’s always a great feeling, chucking stuff out. I like the book title Clear up your clutter with feng shui. You only have to see the title and the truth becomes obvious. When you clear up your clutter, suddenly the whole place feels free and open and clean and fresh, and so does your life.

Decluttering is not only a metaphor but also a model and a catalyst for simplifying life itself. This particular clutter-clearing session was necessarily extreme, and I found myself meditating on my professional life. 

Here are some of the unnecessary things I found.

  • Technical books that were well out of date. 
  • Japanese textbooks and manga that my grandson would appreciate.
  • Mildewed, dusty books that had somehow become part of my identity. 
  • Work diaries and tax records more than seven years old.
  • Ancient folders full of excellent ideas. (No surprise there. A busy brain is never short of great ideas. But last year’s brilliant idea is this year’s Whaaa? or Doh!)

I thinned the shelves as ruthlessly as a row of carrots.

The big clean-out coincided with a time (familiar to you, I’m sure) when I felt pressured by too many demands, mostly internal. How can I finish a novel, write all those new courses, carry my share of the Contented load and deal with 100 other jobs by Friday? Can’t be done, so give it up.

I keep forgetting that destruction is part of creation. I’ve cleared the decks, dropped a few impossible goals, and made a simpler plan.

Feels good. Until next time.

When Jayden the builder started tearing down the lining of my office wall, life got noisier, but it’s a productive noise. The room was stripped to its bare bones. A beautiful empty space of infinite possibilities. A void in which to consider what really matters. 

Thought of the day: in a life of clash and clutter, minimalism is a luxury.

Photo: Contented. 

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Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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