Letting Go Of Clutter To Become Who You Now Are

I’ve recently discovered Downton Abbey.

Yes, I know, I’m a little late to the party ๐Ÿ˜‰

Regardless, I’ve just finished series one and wanted to share something Carson says toย Mrs Hughesย when she discloses she’d refused a marriage proposal in episode 4;

“What would be the point of living if we didn’t let life change us?”

I’m not the person I was 2 years ago. I’m not the person I was 2 months ago. Life has made sure of that.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I proclaimed that being a mother would not change me. Candidly I’d add, “After all, how hard can it be? It’s two against one!”.

Naive is one way to best describe my attitude at the time.

The late Susan Jeffers and author of Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway believed;

“One of the biggest fears that keeps us from moving ahead with our lives is our difficulty in making decisions”.

I’d add to that, that one of the biggest decisions we have to make is who we now are. Move on or stand still.

What we surround ourselves with (including our clutter) influences who we are. It was Jim Rohn who first observed;

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

I agree and again would make an addition to this – that the stuff and experiences you surround yourself with maketh the man (or woman).

Which is why when looking at stuff, the decision should be made as to whether it is who you now are. A tough decision, but an important one.

Decluttering is draining, and can be daunting – there is so much decision-making to be made. It’s our past lives we are sifting through, some things should continue the journey with us and some not. ย But if we recognise that it is very important and a task worth doing, then it gets bumped up the priority list and instead of a nice-to-do-when-we-have-time, becomes a must do. However hard it may be.

This is my career. In a box.

IMG_2796

This is what I need to deal with. This is the decision I must make. For others it may be old clothes that no longer fit, make-up that no longer suits them, a CD or book collection. Or it may be paperwork relating to a personal or business relationship split.

To leave it in the box (or closet) isn’t dealing with it, nor is it who you now are. It’s such a burden on a person’s mind to have a pile of sentimental or personal clutter sitting at the back of a cupboard. You may not be able to see it, but it’s there, in your subconscious, weighing you down.

Are you able to move on or do you hanker after the past, the person you once were?

**A few years ago there was a series called Life laundry shown in the UK. This episode shows a previously famous couple struggling to move on from their rock-star days. Gillie’s wardrobe is amazingly cluttered and out-dated – she shares some interesting anecdotes and you can see how she is struggling to move on from who she once was!**

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Sabine January 15, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Actually I am by now quite good at letting things go. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment (2 adults, 2 children under five) and there is simply no space for clutter. A year ago my husband accidentally got rid of a box of old chinaware I WAS meaning to keep (among them a very nice 60s teaset made of green glas) – he handed it over to the guy we sold our flea market stuff to at the time – and instead of being really really upset I was like shrugging and thinking: I haven’t used this china in AGES. Like, in 10 years. And even if some things in there had sentimental value, I just couldn’t be bothered to be upset about it. So there goes: it will be getting easier to let things go…..

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:00 pm

      Sounds as though you’ve a very practical approach to your stuff! After all, it is just stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sabine January 15, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Actually I am by now quite good at letting things go. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment (2 adults, 2 children under five) and there is simply no space for clutter. A year ago my husband accidentally got rid of a box of old chinaware I WAS meaning to keep (among them a very nice 60s teaset made of green glas) – he handed it over to the guy we sold our flea market stuff to at the time – and instead of being really really upset I was like shrugging and thinking: I haven’t used this china in AGES. Like, in 10 years. And even if some things in there had sentimental value, I just couldn’t be bothered to be upset about it. So there goes: it will be getting easier to let things go…..

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:00 pm

      Sounds as though you’ve a very practical approach to your stuff! After all, it is just stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ruth January 15, 2013, 2:13 pm

    Brilliant Jo, a really tought provoking way of looking at clutter. It gives new momentum to not keeping stuff just because we paid good money for it.
    Thanks Ruth

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:02 pm

      It’s definitely helping me on that final push to purge! I just need to remember there is no end, and as I change so will the things I need to have around me.

  • ruth January 15, 2013, 2:13 pm

    Brilliant Jo, a really tought provoking way of looking at clutter. It gives new momentum to not keeping stuff just because we paid good money for it.
    Thanks Ruth

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:02 pm

      It’s definitely helping me on that final push to purge! I just need to remember there is no end, and as I change so will the things I need to have around me.

  • bellscave January 15, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Reblogged this on bellscave.

  • bellscave January 15, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Reblogged this on bellscave.

  • Helen January 15, 2013, 4:17 pm

    This is one of my major issues. I would love to be clutter free but I struggle. I know it would be beneficial for us as a family – I have 2 sons with autism who respond better when the house is tidy and organised. However this happens rarely! The trouble is that we have so much stuff! Toys a plenty (and most is construction or jigsaw – ie lots of pieces!) It’s so difficult to know what to keep, what to throw out or recycle and my biggest headache, how to store it. I have a friend whose house is spotless and can have drop-in visitors whenever. That is, ultimately what I would like.

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:04 pm

      Helen – never compare yourself or your home to anothers. We all have different ways we live our life. I used to be very hard on myself, as my home never seemed to be as tidy as others. Then my habits gradually changed, and even my most minimalist friend has been known to comment on my tidy kitchen – which always makes me smile – me tidy who’d have believed it? haha!
      I sympathise regarding the toys. I have a girl, and then a boy came along, and his toys seem so intricate, small and plenty. It is difficult!

  • Helen January 15, 2013, 4:17 pm

    This is one of my major issues. I would love to be clutter free but I struggle. I know it would be beneficial for us as a family – I have 2 sons with autism who respond better when the house is tidy and organised. However this happens rarely! The trouble is that we have so much stuff! Toys a plenty (and most is construction or jigsaw – ie lots of pieces!) It’s so difficult to know what to keep, what to throw out or recycle and my biggest headache, how to store it. I have a friend whose house is spotless and can have drop-in visitors whenever. That is, ultimately what I would like.

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:04 pm

      Helen – never compare yourself or your home to anothers. We all have different ways we live our life. I used to be very hard on myself, as my home never seemed to be as tidy as others. Then my habits gradually changed, and even my most minimalist friend has been known to comment on my tidy kitchen – which always makes me smile – me tidy who’d have believed it? haha!
      I sympathise regarding the toys. I have a girl, and then a boy came along, and his toys seem so intricate, small and plenty. It is difficult!

  • anexactinglife January 15, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I like to have a record of the past, but make sure I’m not stuck in the past. If clutter is affecting the way I need to live my life now (e.g. too much storage and not enough work space), then I am really saying I value the past more than the present. Needless to say, I am in the midst of a huge de-cluttering job!

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:06 pm

      Great balance – it’s important to keep moving and not suffer from inertia…

  • anexactinglife January 15, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I like to have a record of the past, but make sure I’m not stuck in the past. If clutter is affecting the way I need to live my life now (e.g. too much storage and not enough work space), then I am really saying I value the past more than the present. Needless to say, I am in the midst of a huge de-cluttering job!

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:06 pm

      Great balance – it’s important to keep moving and not suffer from inertia…

  • Kathy January 15, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Can you declutter a person? My mom was never a nice person & isn’t today–not just to me but to most people she comes in contact with. She honestly needs mental help. I went to bed early last night because I was sick. The phone rang & I didn’t answer it, needing rest instead. I was rewarded with the most vile voice-mail ever from her that drug up every bad memory I have from childhood. We thankfully live 8 hours from her because any contact I have brings up those same abusive memories. She said if I didn’t call back is never hear from her again & be dis-inherited. I’m struggling today with the question, “is that really such a bad thing?” I’d like to be rid of these feelings, but deep down I’m pretty sure she’ll still call & leave those type of messages.

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:14 pm

      Kathy – my heart goes out to you – sincerely it does. This is the hardest challenge of all – relationships. And when you’re considering ending one with a close family member, it can be heartbreaking. If you make the decision to move on in such a relationship there are benefits, but there are also losses – such things are never black and white. For me it’s case of a set of imaginary scales – weigh up what you have to lose against gain – and acknowledge that it’s not a 1 to 1 ratio – some losses are so much greater than the gain and vice versa (this is how I always make difficult decisions). But, I try not to do what is expected of me rather than what I truly need to do or desire – ultimately you only get one life. Jo

    • Sharron January 15, 2013, 6:51 pm

      Awww Kathy, please get my e-mail from Jo, I understand and can offer you some support.

      Sharron x

      • Kathy January 16, 2013, 12:15 am

        Thank you Sharon, I’d love to talk

        • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:38 am

          Kathy – I will e-mail you Sharron’s e-mail address – Jo

  • Kathy January 15, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Can you declutter a person? My mom was never a nice person & isn’t today–not just to me but to most people she comes in contact with. She honestly needs mental help. I went to bed early last night because I was sick. The phone rang & I didn’t answer it, needing rest instead. I was rewarded with the most vile voice-mail ever from her that drug up every bad memory I have from childhood. We thankfully live 8 hours from her because any contact I have brings up those same abusive memories. She said if I didn’t call back is never hear from her again & be dis-inherited. I’m struggling today with the question, “is that really such a bad thing?” I’d like to be rid of these feelings, but deep down I’m pretty sure she’ll still call & leave those type of messages.

    • simplybeingmum January 15, 2013, 6:14 pm

      Kathy – my heart goes out to you – sincerely it does. This is the hardest challenge of all – relationships. And when you’re considering ending one with a close family member, it can be heartbreaking. If you make the decision to move on in such a relationship there are benefits, but there are also losses – such things are never black and white. For me it’s case of a set of imaginary scales – weigh up what you have to lose against gain – and acknowledge that it’s not a 1 to 1 ratio – some losses are so much greater than the gain and vice versa (this is how I always make difficult decisions). But, I try not to do what is expected of me rather than what I truly need to do or desire – ultimately you only get one life. Jo

    • Sharron January 15, 2013, 6:51 pm

      Awww Kathy, please get my e-mail from Jo, I understand and can offer you some support.

      Sharron x

      • Kathy January 16, 2013, 12:15 am

        Thank you Sharon, I’d love to talk

        • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:38 am

          Kathy – I will e-mail you Sharron’s e-mail address – Jo

  • Sharron January 15, 2013, 6:48 pm

    Absolutley loved this post!!! For me personally decluttering my life (possessions and commitments) was the spring board for me making the career move i had been too scared to make. It was like once the debri had been cleared i could make the decision i put off for so long. I can honestly say i am much happier now in my personal and worklife and feel fulfilled. I have changed so much for the better. I realise that clutter was holding me back physically and emotionally. We as a family are in a good place. And it’s all beacause we embraced change.

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:39 am

      You put it so well Sharron! I do wonder if the start of the decluttering process is much bigger than just getting rid of a few household items? I think it may go a little deeper than that!

  • Sharron January 15, 2013, 6:48 pm

    Absolutley loved this post!!! For me personally decluttering my life (possessions and commitments) was the spring board for me making the career move i had been too scared to make. It was like once the debri had been cleared i could make the decision i put off for so long. I can honestly say i am much happier now in my personal and worklife and feel fulfilled. I have changed so much for the better. I realise that clutter was holding me back physically and emotionally. We as a family are in a good place. And it’s all beacause we embraced change.

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:39 am

      You put it so well Sharron! I do wonder if the start of the decluttering process is much bigger than just getting rid of a few household items? I think it may go a little deeper than that!

  • Claire January 15, 2013, 7:21 pm

    This has brought up a lot of stuff for me – things to ponder…

  • Claire January 15, 2013, 7:21 pm

    This has brought up a lot of stuff for me – things to ponder…

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn January 15, 2013, 8:34 pm

    I need to remember and act on one of the things you said– if decluttering is really important to you, you will move it to the top of the list instead of doing it when you have extra time.

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:41 am

      I have to remember this too. We don’t get time – we make time. It’s too easy to put off the hard stuff!

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn January 15, 2013, 8:34 pm

    I need to remember and act on one of the things you said– if decluttering is really important to you, you will move it to the top of the list instead of doing it when you have extra time.

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 9:41 am

      I have to remember this too. We don’t get time – we make time. It’s too easy to put off the hard stuff!

  • MutantSupermodel January 16, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Don’t feel bad, I just watched Season One of Downtown Abbey myself!
    I strongly suggest, if you haven’t read it already, Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I’m not a new age-y person. I don’t really believe in a lot of feng shui (like where you place thngs etc) BUT the book is fantastic at motivating you to clear things out.

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much – I seriously needed some reading material. And this sounds perfect!

  • MutantSupermodel January 16, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Don’t feel bad, I just watched Season One of Downtown Abbey myself!
    I strongly suggest, if you haven’t read it already, Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I’m not a new age-y person. I don’t really believe in a lot of feng shui (like where you place thngs etc) BUT the book is fantastic at motivating you to clear things out.

    • simplybeingmum January 16, 2013, 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much – I seriously needed some reading material. And this sounds perfect!

  • Clare January 16, 2013, 10:00 pm

    I love that you quoted Susan Jeffers! The first and most important change-agent in my life ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also love your career in a box…I have one of those in the garage! We cleaned out our garage on Monday, I wish I had taken a photo of all the kids clothes from age 0 – 7 on the floor of my sleep-out! Oh my goodness! You can definitely see from the piles of clothes when I started living a more simple life with less stuff. Why my daughter had enough clothes to clothe about 4 2 year olds is completely beyond me! I’m not sure how I fitted them in her drawers!!! My husband tried to get me to throw out my ‘career box’ filled with old teaching resources, but I actually said to him something along the lines of ‘I’m not ready to give up that person yet. Stop hassling me!’. I know it will be a few years before I go back to teaching, and I know that there are things in there I will use again, but there are things in there that will be so out-of-date now we are in the age of i-pads and youtube. I think my compromise will be going through the resources and keeping what is useful, and letting go of the out-of-date stuff. Being a high school teacher is not who I am right now, but it is who I will be again in the not-so-distant future, so I don’t want to completely clear away the remnants of ‘school teacher Clare’ because the first year back in is hard enough without having to make all my resources again!!! Even if I’ll be using them differently the 2nd time around (and may in fact throw them out then, but I at least want the chance to use them as inspiration…) But those baby clothes…they have been my sentimental hoard…but I am really excited to have that space back in my garage and to be able to give them away to people who will really appreciate them ๐Ÿ™‚
    (sorry for the essay… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    • simplybeingmum January 17, 2013, 5:51 pm

      the clothes most certainly sound redundant. Maybe the books not just yet. I have some old text books from my studying which relate directly to my profession. However as that is in question, chucking them may just be what I need. If I am completely honest most the stuff in there is out of date…things have moved on sooo much in (gosh I can’t believe I’m about to quote this figure) 20 years. In fact just typing that made me realise how much they do need to go! You’ll dispose when you’re ready ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Clare January 16, 2013, 10:00 pm

    I love that you quoted Susan Jeffers! The first and most important change-agent in my life ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also love your career in a box…I have one of those in the garage! We cleaned out our garage on Monday, I wish I had taken a photo of all the kids clothes from age 0 – 7 on the floor of my sleep-out! Oh my goodness! You can definitely see from the piles of clothes when I started living a more simple life with less stuff. Why my daughter had enough clothes to clothe about 4 2 year olds is completely beyond me! I’m not sure how I fitted them in her drawers!!! My husband tried to get me to throw out my ‘career box’ filled with old teaching resources, but I actually said to him something along the lines of ‘I’m not ready to give up that person yet. Stop hassling me!’. I know it will be a few years before I go back to teaching, and I know that there are things in there I will use again, but there are things in there that will be so out-of-date now we are in the age of i-pads and youtube. I think my compromise will be going through the resources and keeping what is useful, and letting go of the out-of-date stuff. Being a high school teacher is not who I am right now, but it is who I will be again in the not-so-distant future, so I don’t want to completely clear away the remnants of ‘school teacher Clare’ because the first year back in is hard enough without having to make all my resources again!!! Even if I’ll be using them differently the 2nd time around (and may in fact throw them out then, but I at least want the chance to use them as inspiration…) But those baby clothes…they have been my sentimental hoard…but I am really excited to have that space back in my garage and to be able to give them away to people who will really appreciate them ๐Ÿ™‚
    (sorry for the essay… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    • simplybeingmum January 17, 2013, 5:51 pm

      the clothes most certainly sound redundant. Maybe the books not just yet. I have some old text books from my studying which relate directly to my profession. However as that is in question, chucking them may just be what I need. If I am completely honest most the stuff in there is out of date…things have moved on sooo much in (gosh I can’t believe I’m about to quote this figure) 20 years. In fact just typing that made me realise how much they do need to go! You’ll dispose when you’re ready ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Apple January 17, 2013, 11:17 am

    There is the concept describing people like onions. At the centre lies our true self, surrounded by layers we have developed through our lives to protect us, to fit in, to keep up with the Jones’, to keep up with the expectations of our family. These layers are our false self. I feel that when I am ready to follow my heart’s desire to declutter and live simply regardless of the outside world’s expectations, that is when I am ready to be my true self, that is when I am ready to accept my true (the not so perfect, mostly boring etc.) self. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • simplybeingmum January 17, 2013, 5:48 pm

      Laura – I love the onion analogy – I quote it an awful lot myself – but tend to quote Shrek “An ogre is a bit like an onion”… ๐Ÿ™‚
      So true – by stripping away we find who we truly are…I’m not quite there yet…but on the right road!

  • Apple January 17, 2013, 11:17 am

    There is the concept describing people like onions. At the centre lies our true self, surrounded by layers we have developed through our lives to protect us, to fit in, to keep up with the Jones’, to keep up with the expectations of our family. These layers are our false self. I feel that when I am ready to follow my heart’s desire to declutter and live simply regardless of the outside world’s expectations, that is when I am ready to be my true self, that is when I am ready to accept my true (the not so perfect, mostly boring etc.) self. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • simplybeingmum January 17, 2013, 5:48 pm

      Laura – I love the onion analogy – I quote it an awful lot myself – but tend to quote Shrek “An ogre is a bit like an onion”… ๐Ÿ™‚
      So true – by stripping away we find who we truly are…I’m not quite there yet…but on the right road!

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