Summer’s wrapping up around here, but it’s not over yet. The ceiling fans are still looping around and around all day long. There are still bathing suits hanging to dry and beach towels in a heap, still smoothie glasses on the counter and ice cream bowls in the sink.
It’s fine, it’s good, but I know it won’t be long before I’m ready for a reset.
The board games will be perpetually underfoot, even though no one’s playing. There will be snack bowls left on the picnic table outside, even though no one’s snacking. There will be books stacked in every corner because, well, that’s what we do with books.
And I will be ready for it all to be put away. It doesn’t take long for all the stuff that we were just using to start feeling like clutter.
But that’s actually okay—that’s how I know it’s time to make life simpler again. That’s my sign. It’s time to simplify when everything starts to feel cluttered instead of clear. And I do mean in my space, but I don’t mean just in my space.
All that stuff everywhere is just a symptom. That stuff is how I know I haven’t been paying enough attention to what belongs—and what doesn’t belong—in my life, and in my home, and in my heart, and in my mind.
Because they all get cluttered, right?
Here’s how I listen for when it’s time to simplify again:
1. Notice your space.
Is there stuff everywhere? More importantly, why is there stuff everywhere? Maybe it feels like there’s nowhere for the stuff to go, or no time to put it away. Maybe there’s just too much of it. Maybe there are things you don’t use or don’t need anymore. Maybe life would be simpler with less.
What’s really going on? What is your stuff trying to tell you?
2. Listen to your mind.
Clutter in your mind feels like thoughts pinging back and forth.
Maybe you’re wondering what people think, maybe you’re arguing with the past, maybe you’re worrying about the future, maybe you’re jumping from project to project—but you’re totally unable to engage with the one thing that’s right in front of you. Do you need to clear your mind?
3. Listen to your heart.
Clutter in your heart feels like emotions that are all over the place, pulling you in all different directions, because you haven’t decided what’s most important for right now.
You’re feeling everything, but not processing anything. You need to slow down to feel your feelings and see where to go next. What is your heart telling you?
4. Listen to your soul.
For me, clutter in my soul feels like trying to justify myself when I don’t measure up instead of resting and knowing I am loved. It feels like hanging on when I know it’s time to let go. Is your soul whispering to let something go?
When you feel like everything is competing for a place in your heart and your mind and your kitchen—when everything’s cluttered and nothing’s clear—that’s a signal. That’s your life, telling you it’s time to simplify.
Take a deep breath. Stop. And listen.