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Episode 163 – Challenge #2: Clutter Edited

Episode 163 Challenge #2 Clutter Edited: Interview: Ashley Stuart

 

Ta Da! Introducing a set of episodes that are going to get into detail on each of the 21 challenges in the book L.I.F.E  – Living Intentional and Fearless Everyday – the 21 Life Connection Challenges. In May of 2018 I tackled the first challenge – to do a Random Act of Kindness. It was episode 89. We got a group together who went out and did RAK and then I recorded their experiences for you guys and shared it. Now I’m on to challenge #2. Challenge #2 in the book is about taking a step toward decluttering our spaces – about less is more, and about the incredible importance in this concept. The challenge itself is to start out by getting rid of just 1 unneeded item you have in your house. It’s a stepping stone to a bigger clearing.

Stay tuned as I start the second in a series of episodes that will delve more deeply into the 21 LIFE connection challenges and we’ll talk about how and why these challenges are going to make your life better.

 

We call it decluttering, parring down, downsizing, making space, trending toward minimalism, heck…maybe just cleaning house. The trend with the millennials is to own less so they can do more, move faster, have more freedom, save money by needing less space and create a smaller carbon foot print. Every generation has a few signature ideas and those ideas usually flow in the opposite direction of those of their parents. It’s no secret that their parent’s generation is about accumulation. Their grandparents – the Boomers who lived in a time of rationing during the wars, and the natural tendency toward survival —to collect – to make sure you will always have enough. To store up against the needy day. We live in a time of abundance and accumulation is a natural tendency, but now it’s time to manage it. More is not better, and he who dies with the most toys is still dead and he who lives with the most clutter just leaves a lot of shit for other people to sort through.

“Hording” is a word we hear far too often these days, and as a Realtor who spends lots of days going through houses, I can verify that it’s a real thing. 

Graham Hill, talking from the TED stage shares some interesting ideas about the state of America and our clutter.

Tune into the audio program to hear this TED clip.

In my book L.I.F.E. Living Intentional and Fearless Everyday challenge #2 is to choose at least one unneeded item and get rid of it. It’s that simple. 

At any given moment there is a good chance we have clutter around us. Maybe it’s the gaggle of water bottles being thrown from side-to-side in the backseat of your car as you turn corners, or the stuff on your kitchen cabinets successfully hiding the surface you could be using to cook and eat on. What about your office, or the garage you can’t actually pull a car into. Often we’ve become so used to our clutter we don’t even see it anymore. So look a little closer.

Why?

If you start cleaning up some of this external clutter, you’ll notice that internal clutter disappears as well. This challenge is important on many levels. There is a freeing of energy that takes place when we release our hold on material items. This freeing of energy translates into our mental state in far deeper ways than we even realize. 

In my late 20’s we sold our home and packed all our belongings into a storage shed so we could travel for a year. Despite being hundreds of miles from my things I can verify there was an energetic tie that always had to my “stuff.” We have a connection to our belongings, a real connection, and this is great – our “things” are there to serve us, help us do what we want and need to do, but too often we forget the part where we let go of them, let them move on to help someone else when they’ve completed their time with us. Instead it’s about what I can control, what I can claim, what I can store up against need.

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

Challenge #2 isn’t just about keeping a tidy home. It’s about taking a step on the path of freeing our energy, our hearts and our minds.

Let’s talk about an important fact:  More stuff does not equate with more happiness.

I think we collect because we think if we have more choices we will be happier, but the paradox is that the more choices we have the more paralyzed we become. Why does 5 Guys burger place do so well? Could it be because they only have a few choices on their menu? In proving Barry’s research I can verify large menus frustrate me, prolong my decision making, and often leave me with regret. Have you noticed that?

Swarthmore College psychologist Barry Schwarz, Author of the Paradox of Choice,  said from the TED stage, that the result of too many choices creates – paralysis, reconsidering our choices  and opportunity costs, which reduce our happiness. He also points out that it creates an escalation of expectation. Meaning, if we have more choices for things we have higher expectations and less satisfaction.

If we are collecting, keeping, storing, and hording to create happiness for ourselves, we are on the wrong path. But where to start?

Here’s a tip from ideas.TED.com. “Have you ever looked in your kitchen cabinets and wondered why you have so many mugs or cups, yet you use so few of them? Pick out the ones that make you the happiest – because some choice IS better than no choice, but too much choice complicates and clutters.

Let’s talk to a professional:

Today I have invited a professional organizer – Ashley to hop on a quick interview and talk about a couple things  – namely the physical AND mental aspects of getting rid of clutter.

Ashley spent 15 years as a radio DJ and voice over artist. Four years ago Ashley decided to step out on a limb and turn a talent for organizing into a full time Professional Organizing business, Rethink Clutter, which focuses on the emotional attachments we have to “stuff” and she empowers others to recognize and overcome them. Ashley’s “Organizational Grid” teaches you how to get decluttered, organized, and increase your productivity! She has worked on everything fromEtsy shops and corporate offices, garages and man caves, craft rooms and pantries, and everything in between.

Everything Ashley does is with the intent to “own her life instead of being owned by stuff!”

Tune into the audio to hear my interview with Ashley.

Now you folks out there who have some serious clutter issues may not want to hear this, but it’s a proven fact that people’s emotional upheavals can manifest themselves in how they keep our surroundings. If your surroundings are a little rough, it may be an opportunity to consider what type of mental clutter might need to be unpacked and uncluttered as well. Star Hansen, a professional organizer says, “Clutter is an external demonstration of our internal storms.”

Let your clutter inform you of your internal state, use it as a way to take stock. And then start the work of letting go – mentally and physically. 

I hope today’s episode has shed a little light onto the importance of editing our clutter and challenge #2 of the 21 Life Connection Challenges. Please hop on the website and share your comments and experiences under this episode as I’d love to hear your thoughts – loveyourstorypodcast.com

Thanks and this week’s challenge is to get rid of at least one thing that you don’t love that is cluttering up your closet, your cabinets, your desk or your car. Take a step toward freedom and a cleaner joy.

See you in two weeks on the next episode of the LYS podcast.

About the author, Lori

Lori is the host and producer of the Love Your Story podcast, a podcast dedicated to sharing candid interviews and conversations about living our best life stories on purpose. Lori pulls no punches in capturing interviews that shine a light on how we make it through the hard stuff – stress, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, rape, the death of children, abuse, divorce and the real stuff we have to deal with. But, she also shares interviews with Olympians and incredible athletes, life coaches, therapists, and people who are changing the world – most often these two categories are one and the same. She has a master’s degree in Folklore--her research focuses on the personal narrative. She is the author of six books and over 100 magazine and newspaper articles, including her latest, L.I.F.E. – Living Intentional and Fearless Every Day. She consults with individuals on a personal and business level in helping them find their stories, reframe the ones that are holding them back, and manage the stories they currently tell themselves in order to create the story they personally want to live.

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