Just for a moment, take a look around your space. Do you see piles of newspapers, magazines, files or even bills crying out for your attention? Are your thoughts full of mental clutter, a running dialogue of things to do? Rather than start, do you just leave it for another day, another time?
The longer you leave it the more the piles amass and then the task becomes all too big and arduous — until something happens in your life that triggers a change. De-cluttering your life is one of the most positive and affirming things you can do, so why not do it now?
What will it take to simplify your life?
Sometimes it takes an event to trigger a change. Some events can be stressful, even traumatic, such as a death in the family. Other catalysts for change include starting your own business, having a baby, downsizing, moving interstate, or children moving away from home. At other times, it gets to the point where you just have to do something about it.
In 2002, Rebecca* underwent a stressful year, including the end of her 10-year relationship. Initially, when she and her partner decided to end the relationship, Rebecca chose to stay in the four-bedroom home they’d purchased together. The main reason to stay in the home was to maintain stability for their 12-year-old daughter. The break-up had been difficult for all concerned.
After three years, Rebecca decided it was time for a change. The house was really too big to handle and was literally falling around her. The working single mother had little time to devote to the house; downsizing was the only option.
The benefit was that downsizing would enable her to purchase a smaller home, free of a mortgage. This event would signal a new direction for Rebecca. The only problem was how to condense the possessions she’d accumulated over her lifetime into a brand new contemporary two-bedroom unit.
“Initially it was really, really hard, because I’m very sentimental,” recalls Rebecca. “There were so many memories and issues surrounding these things. Also, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things people had given to me. The choice was difficult. Which one do I take? Which one do I leave behind? When I was going through this process I realised I had to make a decision and do it.
“What helped me get through was coming to the decision that if I had to give things away, I would give them to people who really needed them. Even though I had this sentimental attachment to things, I do believe in recycling. I gave things to the animal welfare league, any good cause I could think of.”
Letting go of possessions collected over many years can be difficult, so it’s important to acknowledge a sense of loss when you start to let go. Rebecca believed her tendency to hoard things came from being the daughter of parents who had been through the depression.