Our ‘clutter champions’ are those areas of our home and those categories of belongings that contain a very high accumulation of things that don’t serve us.
It’s usually obvious that we don’t need our clutter champions and that we don’t want them:
- We often hide them (push them under the bed, into a hidden corner in the garage),
- we don’t take good care of them (let them collect dush or get rusty),
- we try to ignore them (don’t look at them, move around them),
- and we never use them.
Typical examples of clutter champions:
- areas of our home that are no longer usable because they are overcrowded with stuff, such as a garage that leaves no room for the car,
- furniture not (or no longer) used, such as an inherited armchair nobody sits on,
- books we are no longer interested in, or recipe books we never opened,
- piles of papers we never touch but grow by continuously adding new pieces,
- papers from former phases of our life, e.g., materials from school years or a previous job,
- kitchen appliances that don’t fit our current cooking habits,
- a dresser drawer we never open because it contains out-of-fashion tops,
- a wardrobe full of clothing that no longer fits, that we hope ‘may come back in style’, that we don’t wear but keep because it was expensive,
- a 24-piece cutlery set never unpacked but kept because it was a wedding present from our aunt.
Clutter champions are champions because we let them win.
We allow them to occupy space without truly contributing to our life and wellbeing. They have become a burden to us, but we don’t admit it.
Clutter champions hold us back, they make us feel bad about ourselves because we feel that we should have done something about them a long time ago, that it’s our fault that they are ‘staring’ at us.
We can change the game and become the champions.
However, if we take the time to acknowledge and really get to know our clutter champions, we become the winners.
While we take a closer look at them, we also learn more about ourselves, and we better understand why we tend to collect and keep certain categories of things, why certain areas in our home get so easily overcrowded.
Our increased self-awareness then helps us make long overdue decisions with confidence and determination.
Making decisions allows us to take actions, actions that create the clutterfree results we want in our life:
Letting go of all or some of our clutter champions not only creates more space in our home, it also creates more space in our mind. And it makes us feel good about ourselves and capable.
We now know that we can do this and decluttering other areas in our home and life becomes so much easier.
Use the following exercise to clear up your relationship with your clutter champions.
Step 1 – Walk around your home. Open the door to each room and look around.
- Any clutter champions around here?
- Any stuff that doesn’t serve me at all?
- Anything I feel shame or frustration about?
Don’t allow yourself to look away. Bend down and look under the bed. Open cupboards and boxes. Drawers and bags. Shine a light in the dark corners. Take photos if that helps you to get a clearer picture.
Step 2 – Create a list of all the clutter champions.
These are my clutter champions:
Step 3 – Now sit down and spend some more time with your clutter champions.
You want to deeply understand what’s going on here.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What do I think about my clutter champions?
- What’s the story of each clutter champion? How did they get into my home? Has there been a time when they did serve me because I needed and used them? When and why did that change?
- Why did I allow them to stay with me after they had lost their usefulness?
- How do I feel about still having them?
- How would I feel if they were gone?
- Am I ready to let them go? Now?
Step 4 – Make a decision:
This is the clutter champion that I am going to clear up first:
Step 5 – Take action
Make an assumption about the amount of time you will need to sort out clutter champion #1, and schedule one or several decluttering sessions in your calendar.
Then stick to your appointment(s) with yourself – and do the work: create some space by letting go of what no longer serves you.