There’s been a lot written about clutter.

On simplifying.
On becoming minimalist.
On cleaning out your closets.
On making room in your living space for tranquility.

A quick search via Google draws up numerous quotes about clutter, cleanliness and being organized:

“A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.” – unknown

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing.” – Phyllis Diller“

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” – unknown

“In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness.” – Gretchen Rubin

“When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and ‘good, orderly’ direction to enter.” – Julia Cameron

And I know that de-cluttering is “a good thing” but it is something I procrastinate about terribly.

All that stuff you don’t use that’s just cluttering up your (insert room here) office, closet, bedroom, kitchen, basement, garage…. Will require a decision about what to do with it when you move it.

The thought of all those decisions just bogs me down. I groan, I sigh, I procrastinate… and I let the clutter pile up.

This past weekend I watched in amazement as my eldest daughter did one of her routine purges of her room and then completely repainted and reorganized it.

She routinely does this every few years as a bit of a “changing of the guard” as she makes room for the next stage of her life.

She is going into Grade 10 – the start of high school in Canada – and is ready to shed the Junior High colours of bright green and pink and make way for grey – yes grey that “goes with anything,” she tells me.

Along with the shift in paint colour comes piles of paper, previously read books and boxes filled with Knick knacks that no longer have room in the upcoming High School years of life.

She is expectant. Getting ready to let in the new. Keeping the most important memories and elements of the old and saying goodbye to the rest.

She makes it look so easy.
She is matter-of-fact.
Decisive.
Action-oriented.
Organized.

Let’s move along to daughter number two, my younger one who is going into Grade Six. Her room routinely looks like a bomb went off. It is filled with everything she ever owned unless I took it out of there myself.

Even though she mainly uses her room to sleep and get dressed, she doesn’t want to part with a thing. She is bogged down. One of the reasons she doesn’t use her room is because it’s so messy and disorganized she can’t even think in there.

It’s filled with the past and the present.
No room for the future.
No room for more “stuff.”
No room for more ideas.
No room for anything new.
It’s already too full.

Many of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes that are my daughters.

Which one do you relate to more?

After my youngest daughter and I watched and helped my eldest daughter do her purge this week, we witnessed the transformation; the space and the expectancy of making way for the new.

We were thus inspired to do the same: me, my office, my 10-year old, her room.

Out went the old, the clutter and the no-longer used. In came space – both figuratively and mentally – room to breathe. Room to think. Room to see things anew. Room to be ready for whatever shows up next.

The de-cluttered space is lighter, airy, more positive.
It is bright, clean and organized.
It doesn’t know what it needs space for, but that’s OK.
It’s ready for when it comes.

Which got me to thinking. How similar is this for our own lives? Our careers? Our businesses? Our daily routines?

What are you holding onto that doesn’t serve you anymore?

These decisions are much, much bigger than what to do with your dust-covered High School Yearbook that’s sitting on your bookshelf.

What is no longer serving you? Friendships? Obligations? Volunteer commitments? Your job?

What part of your routine do you wish you didn’t have to do anymore?

What did you agree to years ago that you no longer want to do?

Who do you want to be NOW, not who were you 7, 12, 18, or 25 years ago?

These are the tough “decluttering” questions of our lives.

So I ask you now:

What’s it going to take to deal with the clutter?

What mental space will you free up when it’s gone?

What are you making room for?

What are you really holding onto?

What if you only keep the most important things?

What do you need to say goodbye to?

And most importantly, what will you now have the space to say HELLO to?

I challenge you to deal with the clutter and say hello to what’s next.

Contact me for a no-obligation conversation to uncover what might be next for you. Let’s create some space for you to grow, together.

Personal Balance Equation Workbook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a PR Strategist & Leadership Coach who especially loves to work with people who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a balanced life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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