I started this course to learn an organized system to declutter. After donations were banned during the pandemic, I realized I tend to hang on to many things due to sentimental reasons or because it may be useful later for a project when I have more time. But my clutter and all these unfinished projects seem to be a habit that existed way before the pandemic. The waiting mode. The, “I’ll get to do this when I am more organized or I’ll learn this when I have more time” thought process.
I’ve subscribed to different mailing lists about simplicity and minimalism- most of which I don’t read. Just the concept of it brings me a sense of calm. For me, simplicity is the clearer path in our 24-hour-a-day connected world. The appeal of minimalism led me to pursue my yoga certification. I started riding that track to a slower life at age 50 and got certified 5 years later. I realized that in all the new little projects that I pursued, the projects are not due to boredom or the shiny new object syndrome, it is in the love of learning. That curiosity and beginner’s mind where we can be in that childlike wonder mindset. It also opened my world to meet kindred spirits and find new tribes to belong to that feed my soul. I was pleasantly surprised that The Uncluttered course did this to me as well.
I thought the course would be more of an instructional method of decluttering but It’s a deeper dive into one’s conditioned habits. It is also more emotional and exhausting. It is as Josh Becker would say a “marathon”. Similar to my yoga practice. It is a lifestyle change, a practice to choose that fork on the road that’s new, knowing that the possibilities are life-changing.
When we got to the bedroom section of “The Uncluttered course”. I decided to pick inspirational pieces that will serve as my motivation and mantra to get me through the 12-week course.
By my bed stand is a book I’ve been reading titled “Breath” by James Nestor. That one word is everything in yoga. As a yoga teacher, we begin and end with the breath. Similar to decluttering our space, our breath makes space inside our body for movement and fluidity. It allows for every part of our inner world to heal. When we breathe fully we slow down time and we make space for our body to work as a team.
2. Live, Laugh, and Learn.
The second mantra came from an old friend who gave me a silver trinket tray and etched on it says “Live, laugh and learn”. Many women wear many labels. For me, that meant being able to juggle roles outside of work like being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend. This mantra reminds me that I need to give to myself as well. Nurture the other part I often dismiss because it can be labeled selfish and allow myself to receive. To live fully and authentically, I need to learn to give and receive equally. In order to laugh I need to take time and enjoy the small things in life. To get off the treadmill of continuously buying stuff that I don’t need. To learn is our birthright because when we learn we move towards our potential. As I go through my house and touch each item to donate or throw away, I am peeling back old layers of myself to grow and evolve.
3. The World is Calling
My next mantra that emerged as a result of taking this Uncluttered course is my water bottle that says “The world is calling”. Sometimes I get thirsty at night so I picked a water bottle with an inspirational quote. It’s a light blue aluminum tin with a map of the world and cork seal. As a family, we love to travel. It makes us more open-minded when we learn about other foods and cultures. This pandemic taught me is that I can keep on experiencing the world even with the travel ban. The amazing adventures are present on walks with my dog, new hobbies, books and the internet. “The World is calling” mantra for me meant shifting how I define travel because new experiences can happen at home. In clearing space, I am creating opportunities to travel to new places on the world map in my water bottle.
4. Give a Little Help a Lot.
During my decluttering, I tackled a storage box in the attic and found something interesting- a mosaic bowl decorated with fish and loaves. It was a gift from my mother from her trip to Israel. It became a holder to my favorite essential oils that help me relax. As a caregiver to my family both young and old, I often put my needs last. But the fish and loaves story is about the mindset of giving what you can give. To trust that gift you give is enough and that it will multiply. It is about looking at your stuff and seeing what you have to give versus what you don’t have. To nurture a grateful heart of giving back because it creates a ripple effect of goodness.
5. We are the Light.
When I cleared my bed stand of clutter, I was able to create space for my Serenity tree lamp. What a beautiful soft glow each bulb gives on every tendril and long branches. This lighted Serenity tree to me is the essence of decluttering. When we take the weight off and give, we share that lightness with others. When we make space, we can move forward from that waiting mode and realize our dreams. When we spread that contagious light, we can make our world collectively brighter, freer, and at peace.
About the Author: Grace loves to reinvent herself. She’s worked in corporations, is a wife and mom to two grown children, a certified yoga teacher, loves to travel, and dabble in many creative things that make her heart sing from painting , jewelry making and writing.