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You are here: Home Life in Lifestyle Get rid of clutter and success will follow
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25/02/2011Get rid of clutter and success will follow

Get rid of clutter and success will follow Inspirational blogger Mindful Mimi lays out a plan to get cracking on the clutter that sucks away your energy and happiness.

What do the following items have in common?
  • A loose button on your shirt that you have meant to mend for weeks.
  • Your grandma's old china that you never use but keep anyway.
  • An old grudge against an old friend.
  • Unworn clothes in your wardrobe.
  • Gifts you received but don't really like.
  • Fear of failure in your future business
  • The oil change your car is in desperate need of.
  • The rented DVDs you need to return.
  • The filing you need to do.
They are all clutter.

Clutter doesn't have to be a physical object (like the candle holder you got for your birthday that fits neither next to the television nor with the colors of your living room).

Clutter can also take the form of a thank you note that you have meant to write but didn't, a dentist's appointment you know you should make but keep 'forgetting'.

Whether it's the physical or incomplete clutter, they both drain your energy: every time you see them and they bother you, every time you think about them being unfinished.

My coach told me that you get up in the morning with 100 units of energy. This is the energy you need to focus on your life, your intention, your passion, your happiness, the things you want to achieve.

Every time you come across some clutter, some units are taken away from you.

You are leaking energy towards either past events (the grudge your holding against your old friend), or imagined future events (fear of failing in your future business).

And these leaks keep you from focusing on what's important in the present: your goals, your intention, your future business, your healthy teeth, your car not breaking down.

How to get rid of clutter?
The above list of clutter didn't arrive on your doorstep this morning. You have been piling them up over the last few months or even years (Remember those old books and photos from university? When was the last time you looked at them?).

And it is impossible to get rid of them all in a day. You need to proceed in small steps:

1. Make a list
(A4 landscape format, make three columns)
You can't fix what you can't name. For the physical clutter, it is easiest to go around your house and write down what bothers you. Divide the list into each room of the house. Don't start with the basement.

Take the least cluttered room, the bedroom for example (write it down in first column):
  • Dirty socks on the floor
  • Coat hangers on the dresser
  • Clothes on the chair
  • Shirt with missing button
  • Old, ugly wallpaper
  • I hate the color and pattern of the bed sheets
  • That statue doesn't fit there
  • Kids toys under our bed
Then move to the next room. Don't pick things up. Don't start clearing things away. Don't start being overwhelmed. Just write them down.
2. Make another list

(A4 landscape format, make three columns)
For the incomplete (or unfinished) clutter, create another list. Empty your brain (first column):
  • Make dentist appointment
  • Write thank you note
  • Make service appointment for the oil change
  • Clear grudge with old friend
Don't look for solutions, just write them down as they come up.

3. Understand the purpose
These two lists you have created are not 'TO DO' Lists. They are there to:
  • Make you aware that these items drain your energy
  • Make you start repairing those energy leaks
  • Give your brain a break (It's on the list, I don't have to continuously think about them.)

4. Create actions
You can't fix it if you don't know how. Take two items from one of the two lists (pick those that are easily doable/fixable) and circle them. In the second column, write down how you can fix this problem - you can write down multiple solutions:

  • find a place for the statue
  • give to my cleaning lady (Ask her first! You don't want to make your clutter hers!)
  • bring to the Salvation Army

In the third column, write down a completion date. Do these two items this week.

5. Don't over-unclutter
Next week, pick another 2 or 3 items off one of the two lists, add a solution, and do them during the week.

6. Feel victory
As you start accomplishing more and more of these actions, notice the difference.

7. Welcome success
As you start literally cleaning up your life and space, you are getting rid of leaks that drain your energy. This energy can now be used to create the life you intended for. You are able to focus and success will naturally follow.

8. Future leaks
Although you will create new habits which prevent most energy drains, it is normal that over time, small leaks creep in. Now you have the tools to identify and fix them.

If something is not going so well in the future, ask yourself which energy drain might be the cause of it. Maybe you didn't exercise enough, lag behind in your filing or haven't had a massage in a year. Put it on the leak list and fix it this week!

Additional tips against clutter

1. ALL items in your house should be USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL.

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.” - William Morris

2. ALL items in your house should have a PLACE.

If they don't have one, create one. If you can't create one, toss it.

3. Ask yourself, what is my MOTIVATION for keeping this?

  • Guilt (It costs so much; it's from my dead grandmother.)?
  • Fear (If I fail in my business, I will be glad to have kept this?)
  • The image it gives (If I have this, people will think I'm successful.)
  • Souvenir (It's from when I was a little girl.)

Don't link your items to past or future things. Especially not if they are draining your energy. You want to get rid of negativity. Trust your feelings, your instinct when you pick it up. If you don't feel good about it, throw it out.

4. Baby steps
Stick to the plan of doing a few things per week. Otherwise you get overwhelmed and will just stop the whole process.

5. Create a system
Avoid having to think about making appointments. Next time you're at the garage/hairdresser/dentist, schedule your next appointment(s). That way they are in the calendar and you can stop thinking about them.

6. Get committed

Put aside the time to do this. Get your partner involved.

7. Intention
And this should probably be up on the top of this article...
It all starts with your intention. What is it that you WANT? Write it down, clearly. Everything you do should be in line with your intention:

  • Your actions (Is this in line with my goal? If not, why am I doing it? Do I have to do it?)
  • Your language (No more 'I kind of, sort of, maybe want to do this')
  • Your space (Is a messy living/working space in line with the successful business woman you intend to be?)
  • Your people (Are you surrounded by supporters or energy draining whiners?)

Mindful MimiMimi is a working mother of two little boys, who likes to out her creativity through writing, painting and photography. She blogs about self-improvement, creativity, her hobbies and much more at Mindful Mimi.


If you have any questions about life in Luxembourg specifically or in general, let Mimi know via Expatica's Expat Aunt & Uncle pages.

1 reaction to this article

Canucky Woman posted: 2011-02-25 17:12:33

Solving the problems of people who have no real problems is a cinch, isn't it?

I recommend giving them a few real ones so they know the difference.

1 reaction to this article

Canucky Woman posted: 2011-02-25 17:12:33

Solving the problems of people who have no real problems is a cinch, isn't it?

I recommend giving them a few real ones so they know the difference.

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