5 Ways to Win the Clutter Free War (Without Feeling Overwhelmed) by Cheri Gregory
Many of you resonated with last Monday’s “When Facing Your Clutter Feels Too Overwhelming.”
• “This blog post is so me and I didn’t even know it. I am getting ready to move and it is totally debilitating. I can’t do a thing because I get so overwhelmed!” – Kelly
• “It’s Monday morning and I have clutter and I’m escaping to FB instead of dealing with my issues… this hit home for me in so many ways you couldn’t imagine. Thank you!” – Barbara
• “Can I just tell you that I LOVE you! I am going to print out your post today and frame it (and I shared it with my readers too!). You are a blessing Girl!” – Kimberlee
What Awareness and an HSP Plan Look Like in Action
Today, five members of Kathi’s Clutter Free launch team are here to share with you their real-life examples of what works for them as HSPs.
Notice how each woman has (1) awareness of her own needs and (2) a specific plan to meet them so she stays out of the “OVERWHELMED ZONE”!
When I was sixteen, my boyfriend bought me a real rabbit fur jacket. I lived in San Jose, California where it was too warm for me to wear the jacket.
But I could not let it go. I felt soooo badly for the rabbits that gave their lives. It took me nearly twenty years to give that jacket away. Why? Holding on to it wasn’t reviving the rabbits!
Whatever I feel, I FEEL in a BIG way. In this case, I had extreme emotions towards an item I’d been given. I felt unnecessary guilt and responsiblity.
To help me let go of things sooner, I’m learning to quesiton: “Did I ask for this?” If the answer is “no,” I’m free to let go.
As a Highly Sensitive Person, I have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Every item carries with it a memory, emotion, or attachment.
To make it easier to part with my stuff, I’m focusing on the “why” behind our decluttering efforts: to make more room for what matters most.
So now when I’m making a “keep or toss” decision, I ask myself, “Will this item get me closer to what matters most or detract from it?” Immediately, the decision becomes a lot more clear.
I have been actively working on managing my stuff in the nine years since our family began our active duty military journey. With semi-frequent moves, decluttering becomes an annual necessity.
For me, getting rid of outgrown children’s clothing and toys is easy.
But getting rid of sentimental items? Far more difficult.
I feel emotional every time I have to go through my belongings. Everything has a feeling and a memory attached. Unread books are unopened treasures. Boxes of notes and cards are my heart on paper.
I’ve learned to only keep the cards and notes that I will reread. I tape them directly in my journal or place them in my encouragement file.
It’s truly a process: one that’s yielding lighter results.
Shatter! Crash! Bang!
My 9-year-old’s plan to simulate the sound of breaking glass by dumping a bucket of Legos on our tile kitchen floor is highly effective.
The noise makes me jump as the high pitched sounds assault my ears and the association with broken glass push me near panic.
Then my baby girl runs yelling about another outfit she wants to try on. Off come her clothes as she struggles to put it on “ALL BY MYSELF.”
It’s so tempting to collapse on the couch, exhausted from the sensory assault I’ve just experienced. Or open my laptop to Facebook to help me block it all out.
When the household noises get overwhelming, I put on noise canceling headphones or calming music and encourage the kids to play with quiet things.
“For two years, I had a stack of paperwork sitting on my kitchen counter…always threatening to topple over as I continued to stack up paperwork.
Every time I saw this pile, I felt almost claustrophobic, a sense of paper overload. So one day, I took an afternoon and went through the pile: throwing out, shredding, and filing.
My new habit is to handle paper once, so I file as I go along. In fact, the paper never even makes it to the kitchen counter anymore. It goes straight to the appropriate location: file cabinet or trash or recycle bin.
For the past 1.5 years, I’ve had a clean kitchen counter and peace of mind.
Clutter Free Recap:
1. Ask, “Did I ask for this?” If the answer is “no,” feel free to let go!
2. Focus on the “why” behind your decluttering efforts: to make more room for what matters most.
3. Keep only the cards and notes that you will reread. Tape them directly in your journal or place them in an encouragement file.
4. Put on noise canceling headphones or calming music when household noise gets too loud. Encourage the kids to play with quiet things.
5. Handle paper once. Send it straight to the appropriate location: file cabinet or trash or recycle bin.
Remember: Every HSP is unique. Start your own lists so you can become aware of what happens for you…and what works for you!
Are you ready to be Clutter Free? Start the 21-Day Clutter Free challenge! Sign up now!
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.