Over 2000 years ago Aristotle stated that, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” This has since become known as Horror Vacui in the scientific world and The Universal Law of the Vacuum in spiritual communities.
If you open or puncture a vacuum-sealed container, air will rush to fill that space. By the same token if you let go of a relationship that isn’t working, a job that no longer fills you with joy, or (mental) clutter that is weighing you down – the universe will rush to fill this open space with positive people, energy, creativity, and opportunities – whatever you are lining up.
If you are itching for a change in your life – even if you aren’t sure what it is you want to change – decluttering your space is a powerful place to start.
Our stuff holds a lot of energy. It has the power to weigh us down even when we aren’t anywhere near our belongings. On the flip side, I’ve never worked with anyone that didn’t feel immediately lighter after releasing what no longer serves them.
Decluttering can be a cathartic process if you’ve been feeling stagnant for a long time or are in the midst of personal turmoil. You really never know what is going to happen as a result. But one thing is certain: life will shift in a positive direction.
I’ve seen people lose weight, find a relationship, receive a windfall, go back to school, get a promotion, move to a new city, regain their confidence, enjoy more peace of mind.
Please don’t think I am attributing this big shifts entirely to the organizing process. That would be unfair. However I do believe that when you are ready to declutter you are already in the process of creating change. And decluttering is like pouring gas on the fire. It is an accelerator.
Are you ready to get started?
Here are my five favorite steps for decluttering and organizing any room in your home. Be sure to let me know how these worked for you in the comments below.
1. Clear out anything that isn’t related to that space’s function.
Throw out or donate the stuff that you’ve already made decisions on. Take to your car what you’ve been meaning to return or give back to a friend. Put away the things that already have a designated home. This step is meant to go fast. Don’t get hung up in indecision paralysis. Don’t worry about “only touching things once” – this rule can bog people down in more indecision. Create a “maybe” pile for items that you might get rid of. Starting here will build a ton of momentum and feel amazing.
2. Group like items together. You’ve most likely heard of this organizing principle before. It is critical to collect and store similar items together. Think of your office supplies, books, spices in the kitchen, bills to pay, in-progress craft projects. Imagine that each category is it’s own family and you are creating little homes for all the family members to live together. You will tweak these categories over time. Always be on the lookout for new categories that want to live together.
3. Assign a home. As mentioned above, each of these categories – or new little families – that you’ve created needs a home. Notice the homes you’ve already created for other families. Your reading pile by your bed, your bills by the front door, your vitamins next to the water glasses in the kitchen. You’ve selected homes that that work for you. Do this with the new categories you’ve created. Containers can *sometimes* help but not always.
4. Maintain. Even before you have finished your decluttering and organizing projects it is necessary to start a ritual or routine to reset your space at the end of day or week. One of my clients dubbed it the “7 Minute Sweep” in her household. Each evening they would set the timer for 7 minutes and as fast as possible pick items up and put them back where they belong. It became a game that everyone participated in. At the same time it is important to be vigilant about what you let in to your home and how much you are routinely letting go. Add this question as a new filter: Do I really need (to keep) this?
5. Make it easy. One of the biggest tricks for keeping your space organized and clutter-free(ish) is to keep things really simple. Make your space very easy to maintain. This may mean that you:
- Delegate your filing to the babysitter or your assistant
- Only leave half of your decorations out at any time put the rest “on rotation”
- Leave piles on the floor if they work for you and aren’t causing anxiety
- Create labels by hand or *gasp* don’t use any at all (unless of course they help!)
Take notice in your home and office of where you are adding extra steps that don’t need to be there. Go the simple and easy route – for you. I promise that the organizing Gods will not smite you for being less than perfect:)
Now it’s your turn.
What could rush into your life if you released what is no longer serving you?
How much better would you sleep?
How much more creativity and energy would you have?
I encourage you to try this out and see for yourself.