Shifting the Weight and Feeling Lighter

Do you find that some days your stuff weighs you down? You’re not alone. When I work with a client for a significant amount of time, whether several days in a row or spread out over several months, it seems like we’re shifting the weight and feeling lighter as we declutter and organize.

A neutral-coloured living room with a sofa, chair, and small table looking out over a bright sunny city landscape represents feeling lighter.
Image by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.

During these decluttering projects, we may take several loads of belongings to a local charity. Perhaps the lightness results from the fact that the stuff is going to a place where someone else will buy and use it. Or it will be given to someone who will love and use it. Maybe your home literally rises a few inches without all that stuff weighing it down. Perhaps you are letting the light into your space by decluttering. Or maybe you are feeling lighter at the end of a successful organizing project.

It can seem as though streamlining your stuff is like shifting the weight. Your stuff has actual physical weight, which you must lift out of your home. And just like lifting a dumbbell, leaving it on the floor is much easier. What if, like weight lifting (which builds strength and stamina), letting go of your excess possessions helps you get in shape? Now there’s some motivation for you. If your living space is in better shape and not clogged with stuff, perhaps you have the opportunity to shape your life differently.

As you declutter, you have to flex your decision-making muscles. Each item requires a moment of thought about whether to keep it or let go. Some items require more than a moment of thought, depending on how attached you are to them. You may even need to start by listing the pros and cons before you tackle a space in your home.  

What are the pros of letting go of excess belongings? Your list might include the following:

  • I will be able to use my space for its intended purpose. 
  • I won’t have to spend so much of my time trying to keep my stuff organized.
  • My clutter-free space will be great for entertaining guests.  
  • Everything I own will have a home, and I will feel in control of what I have.  
  • I will finally stop arguing with the other people in my house about how much stuff we have!

On the other side of the list, you may have some of the following cons:

  • It’s just way too much work to go through all my stuff.  
  • I might get rid of something and then need it “later.” I might get rid of something and then need it “later.”  
  • I will have to negotiate with everyone else in the house, which will be hard.
  • Organizing is really boring, and there are so many more fun things to do. I don’t even know where to start!

If your pros outweigh your cons, here’s the best thing to do. Just like starting a weight-lifting routine, you should begin with lighter weights and gradually build up to heavier ones. So, start with a category of stuff that is really easy for you. This varies for everyone, but it might be your garage or kitchen. Generally, it’s where items are less sentimental. As you build your decision-making muscles around letting go, move on to “heavier” projects like books and clothes. Then finish with the heaviest sentimental items, such as photos and memorabilia.

Just think about feeling lighter and what great shape you’ll be in when you are finished streamlining your stuff. I know you can do it! Keep me posted on your progress.

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