Do you feel stuck, stagnating, bored or like your life has no sense of direction anymore? It could be that you need to take stock of everything in your life and see what could be holding you back and do some serious decluttering in order to bring in new opportunities.
I'm sure you've hear the saying "Out with the old, in with the new" or the French saying "Balai neuf, balaie bien" which translates roughly as "New broom sweeps better"
This idea that cleaning brings in a breath of fresh air in our lives exist in many cultures. In the Western world we usually believe in spring cleaning to get the stuffiness and stagnation of long winters out and welcome warmer and more fertile days in. In India, Hindus clean their homes thoroughly before Diwali (in October or November depending the year) to welcome in Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
I'm sure we've all experienced this sense of bliss and renewed energy after purging our wardrobes of all the things that no longer fit, or deep cleaned the kitchen, or updated our living room with new curtains, throw pillows and wall art.
decluttering isn't just physical
Nor does it only apply to material possession for that matter. Chances are you either read or heard of Marie Kondo's book (Amazon affiliate link) or watched her show on Netflix. This means you are familiar with the concept of her asking people to get rid of belongings that no longer spark joy and only keep what matters. It might seem like a big pile of woo and voodoo to many but the reality is that we form energetic bonds with our belongings, and surroundings and in the end those have the power to elevate us or bring us down, and yes it does affect how we think and perceive the world as well. If you come home every night to a messy home when you only dream of a clean, clutter free space, what you want and what you get aren't in alignment and it will only serve to make you more frustrated and angry and the cycle will repeat. A few years ago, I read both "Lucky bitch" and "Get rich lucky bitch" by Denise Duffield - Thomas. Both explained that concept and how what we do and how we think affects our lives, the author explains that the first step toward a change, any change, is to first know what we REALLY want and write that down, and then see what in our current lifestyle supports that growth and what doesn't and then get rid of what is holding us from reaching our goals. In her webinars and workshops she even says that it can be as simple as shaving your legs. The point is you need to invite the change in for the change to happen.
the material purge - aka declutter your home
This is the most popular and well known form of decluttering. The results are visible to all, and there is something liberating about getting rid of old stuff. And if you make it a regular habit, your home usually gets to stay clean in the long run. For that type of decluttering, I 100% recommend just getting rid of anything that is worn out, broken or hasn't been used in over a year if there is no emotional attachment to it (what Marie Kondo identify as sparking joy). Don't keep things out of obligation when you conduct a purge. That ugly pudding set you received as a gift from a family member close or not has to go. If questioned about it later, simply be honest about it saying that it's been gathering dust and you have no use for it so it made more sense to donate it so that someone else who has a need could use it. The cute dress that brings back bitter memories of a breakup with an ex? Donate it! The underwear with holes? Trash them and get new ones, you deserve better than that. All the spices and herbs in your kitchen that you rarely use and are probably expired anyway...in the bin they go! Remember, when you purge what doesn't matter, you always make more room for what does.
This one is less obvious, and certainly a lot less noticeable but no less important. The amount of digital junk that lives on our device is impressive, can eat GB of storage and can be distracting as well.
Do you really need to have all those old emails about the school carnival even that happened 5 years ago in your child's elementary school (when they are currently in high school no less). Or that months old newsletter you forgot to delete? But beyond your mailbox, what about all the pictures on your phone that no longer have any purpose, like the picture of your parking spot at the mall taken 5 months back? Or the 20 pictures, all near identical of your daughter's birthday cake? Pick one or two and delete the rest. Our parents didn't have that problem and knew better than waste an whole film roll on just you blowing the candles on the cake, they had 2-3 of them, pasted them in a photo album and that was it. This fear of missing out we all have is pretty much enabled and pushed to extremes when we no longer have to worry about the cost of developing a film roll, so why not take 300 photos of a birthday on the principle that it's better to have them in excess than be sorry. This is actually an example of how a mindset could hold us back, do we really need to be invested in making sure we have 20 pictures of the cake cutting, living the moment through our phone camera, or just take 2-3 and then enjoy the moment?
Digital clean up also applies to social media. Thanks to internet how we network and treat relationships have evolved. But are all the people on your friends list really your friends? Chances are, you probably accepted friends requests from coworkers and random distant acquaintances just to be polite without really wanting them to have access to your life. Aside from learning to set better boundaries, it's also helpful to purge your friends list every now and then and only keep the people who REALLY matter on it. Treat your Facebook account as your digital home, and if you look at a friend on your list that you wouldn't even invite over in your own physical home over for coffee, it's time to let that person go...no hard feeling. The same applies to online groups, you may have been into scrapbooking 10 years ago, but if you aren't anymore, why does that content still needs to pop in your feed? Subscribing to content that no longer serves you might prevent you from seeing content that matters because algorithms do not quite keep up with all your likes and dislikes in real time.
All of us are over-thinkers, and there is a lot going on in our heads at all time, and it's not always good. In fact a lot of the habits we have as adults and how we think and operate comes from the patterns our subconscious mind created in our early childhood. Our parents taught us things to keep us safe and operated from what they thought was the most sensible course of action in their time, but chances are your brain and mind is running a whole lot of outdated programs that are holding you back from the life you want to create as an adult. There are several ways to clean up that brain junk out there, some might work, some won't and you might need a combination of several :
Therapy with a professional to address deep rooted trauma and mental blocks
Reading self-help books to understand where to start digging and when or if you need a therapist
For me reading self-help books, journalling and meditating has proven to be the winning combo that works right now. Will it work always? No idea, but for now it does and that is what matters.
Ultimately, you need to make an habit out of getting rid of anything that is holding you back, brings you down, or no longer serves any purpose to be able to grow. Cleaning your home can kick start your mind into finding new ways and opening it to opportunities, writing down your goals, fears and desires will gradually get you there. Growing up I often found myself in "This or that, you can't have both" situation, thanks to growing up with adults who thought that way. What I found out as an adult, is that it's never all black or white, this AND that is pretty much a thing and you don't have to pigeon hole yourself into just one thing.