Twenty years in one house. Have you ever lived in the same house for twenty years? There’s so many beautiful aspects to the experience. The Christmas morning routines that could only grow from years of repetition. The evolution of bedrooms as kids turn to preteens and then to true teens. The stories that are as much a part of each room as the walls themselves.

I’ve loved the twenty years we’ve had in this house, but I’ll be the first to say, not everything about spending twenty years in one place is romantic. Twenty years in one place means kids have grown up, moved out, and left their unwanted personal effects behind. It means decorating styles have changed but oh, don’t you remember how cute these knick knacks were in the 90’s?! It means twenty years of well intentioned gifts that, while lovely and appreciated, often aren’t really needed. In short, there is twenty years worth of clutter in my house.

Clutter doesn’t just appear overnight. It slowly accumulates, building over time, taking advantage of your diverted attentions, until one day you gaze at the decorations on top of your kitchen cabinets and realize you have a serious issue on your hands. And clutter truly is a problem. It can over stimulate the brain making it hard, or at times impossible, to focus on work at hand or relax in your own home. Clutter can create guilt or embarrassment that you’re not more on top of things, not more organized. And finally, clutter signals, at least to some part of your brain, that there is work to be done and the to-do list is not finished until you get organized.

Well we’ve had some time on our hands in my household as of late, and we certainly have had enough decluttering to stay busy. But just because the time for the task was available, doesn’t mean it was easy to do. When you hold onto things for YEARS, you truly do form some kind of attachment. Gifts, crafts, and books that I hadn’t touched or looked at in years felt impossible to let go of. To help me let go of things that really did need to go, my daughter introduced me to the Marie Kondo method. Marie Kondo is a tidying expert and her signature question is “does this item spark joy?” When I used this question and answered honestly, I found that there were a lot of things in my house that once brought me joy, but now just took up space in my too full home.

Take a moment to imagine your life is represented by a glass. For everything that is in your life (family, career, hobbies, possessions) part of your glass is symbolically filled with water. So let’s say your glass is filled 40% to represent your family, 30% for your career, 10% for your hobbies, and 20% for your possessions. Great, you have a full glass…but that also means there’s no room to attract new dreams and desires into your life/glass. New potential client for your business? Building a dream home? Spending more time traveling the world? You can’t have these things if your life is already full, there’s simply no space. Clutter, physical possessions, take up real space in your life.
I invite you to consider any goals or dreams you've been working on that just seem out of reach. You continue working and pushing but you can never quite grasp your desired outcome. The universe wants you to achieve those goals and live those dreams, but you need to have space in your life in order to attract them. What’s filling up your glass right now, taking up the space needed for your dreams? Is it physical clutter that’s been accumulating around the home? That doesn’t necessarily have to be the answer. We humans have a tendency to hang on to many things past the point of them giving us joy. Friendships that were only meant for a season, career stepping stones that turn into long term stops, personal stories of a past version of yourself that is no longer who you are…all of these things can clutter your life.

What brings you joy? What would be your ultimate composition within the glass representing your life? If you have the bravery to take an honest look at your glass, remove the parts that are just clutter, fill in with your deepest dreams, and leave some space for unexpected surprises, I wouldn’t be surprised to see your metaphoric life become your reality. Clutter is so much more than stuff, and likewise decluttering is so much more than just cleaning out.

What brings you joy?

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