Less is More: Create Inner Space by Decluttering
I’m all about space. I cultivate space in my head with meditation and help clients find space in their bodies through hands-on treatment.
I work closely with people - making contact and listening intently. When I am not treating clients, I need a lot of space to myself. I revel in the silence and the space to think and be. Space allows energy to flow and is the antithesis of too much rigour and structure.
The space is where I can find my equilibrium.
I thrive best when I have free time, space in my head and space around me.
Clearing space in my home and treatment room feels as vital for energy flow as it does for the physical space.
Some people get their buzz by shopping, but being somewhat contrary, I prefer to let go of things. I find it amusing that I am a stage in my life where getting rid of stuff brings me more joy than getting something new. Less is more in my book.
I’ve made it a regular practice to declutter. It’s one of the easiest ways to shift my state if something is bothering me or I feel bogged down. Sorting stuff out is both literal and symbolic.
According to Dr Demartini, we all have a hierarchy of values that are personal to us. You can tell what a person’s values are by the things that are most ordered in their lives. So when you visit someone’s home, have a look around and see what looks most ordered in their space.
In mine, books are definitely high on my hierarchy of values. I used to dream of having a large library of floor-to-ceiling books complete with a window seat to recline and read. It’s taken years, but I have even managed to condense my book shelves by only keeping absolute favourites or useful books, and using my local library regularly. There are so many more books in the world to read that I will rarely return to one I have already read.
As with many people in my culture, the same suitcases that were used to migrate here were kept on top of the cupboard for years and years. Letting go of stuff was not a usual practice. Belongings helped to keep you feeling anchored and safe. It's taken time but I have learnt that living with less helps me to feel clearer and more free.
Decluttering My Treatment Room
I’ve had the professional wisdom of Helen Sanderson, from Calm from Clutter to help me to declutter. She’s a marvel at clearing space and sensing where you might have unconsciously stored stuff you could do with getting rid of. We’ve worked together to transform my treatment room from a very full room, to one that feels lighter.
Helen has created a Home Declutter Kit based on the process she has honed decluttering with clients for years. She uses laminated cards with ‘recycle’, ‘donate’, ‘mend’, ‘file’, ‘rubbish’, ‘donate’ and ‘keep’ written on them and lays them on the floor.
Next Helen speedily sifts through my belongings, passing one thing after another to me. The trick is to keep the energy moving. My job is to place the item in the pile it fits in- don’t dwell on it- your first instinct is often the correct one.
I’ve found that having Helen to declutter with has helped me to be more ruthless about what I get rid of as I have to justify what I keep. I've lately moved towards becoming paperless - I'd already transitioned to online note-taking and I've been shredding years worth of files. It feels great!
My 10 Tips to Declutter With Ease
- Be honest with what you need, use and like. There’s no point in keeping so many ‘rainy day’ items if you can’t see what you own. If you bought an item and never wear it, don’t hold onto it.
- Get everything out of the space. For example, if you are decluttering a large wardrobe, empty all the contents onto the floor. If you do it section by section it’s too easy to just tidy things and put them straight back. You need to create chaos to find the calm.
- Be organised with carrier bags and boxes so you can easily get your things out of your space. Have labels and marker pens handy too.
- Create a keepsake/ memory box. This is where your precious items get safely stored. Letters, favourite photos in a box are a lovely thing to go through from time to time.
- Use Freecycle, your local charity shop and refuse centre for your unwanted goods. It feels good to know that your old belongings might be useful to someone else.
- You can declutter tiny items like your purse or kitchen drawer if you’re short of time. It doesn’t have to take an entire weekend. Or as suggested by Flylady you could set a timer and declutter for 15 minute spells. This is ideal if the clutter has built up over time and you feel overwhelmed just looking at it. You’ll soon start to see progress and be ready to tackle the bigger clutter.
- Make time to regularly declutter. It’s particularly good in the spring and autumn as we go into a new season. Or you could pick a room in your home to declutter each month. It’s like regular weeding to keep your garden blooming.
- Marie Kondo had runaway success with her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. I find it too intense a programme and prefer to get the bulk done over a weekend. However her tips on folding has definitely created more space in my wardrobe. Instead of piling up, you create little parcels in one layer so you can always see what you have.
- Practice the 1 in, 1 out rule. If you buy a new item, get rid of something. This way you will keep the energy moving in your space.
- Enrol a friend to declutter with you and play the 30 Day Minimalism Game from the creators of a brilliant documentary called Minimalism.
Even though it's snowy today, we will soon be in the Spring and it's the perfect time to declutter. Tag me @avnitouch on Instagram and share your decluttering triumphs.