I’ve realized that decluttering is a form of therapy.
When I suddenly find myself compelled to clean out a closet, clear out a drawer, or pull out keepsakes, I know I’m doing emotional rumbling. I learned this from my mother. When she rumbles, she moves furniture. During especially difficult times she is known to change the living room nigh unto weekly.
The other day I needed to do some envisioning, forecasting, and figuring out of a few areas of life. But my mind felt muddled. Instinctively, I started making beds. I don’t know why but that single act can usually get me on the straight and narrow mental road.
But this time it went deeper and my preschooler was looking to me for playtime. In that moment, I listened to my soul and knew this time I shouldn’t sketch it out on paper or jot down buzz words. To tidy was the thing.
Like a mom does, I did a two-fer (think and tidy) and headed to my son’s room without announcing my intention (because telling him it’s time to tidy is not the best choice).
First, we played Legos and car chases and train tracks. When we came to a stopping point, I cheerfully challenged him to pick up 10 pieces, race to pick up the books before me, and discover the “treasures” under his bed. When he finally got tired of that (or wise to it), I sat next to him and surreptitiously decluttered while he busied himself with an imaginary story.
Joyfully, I ended up with a happy preschooler and an entire kitchen bag full of toys he would not want (unless he saw them). And I was finally settled to where I had reached that motherhood nirvana–mental clarity.
The point here is, decluttering is not just about getting rid of things, making a clear space, or de-junking a counter. It’s about paying attention to emotional nudgings, using principles that work for you and your life, and making it happen in real-time–not in some magical, mystical free six-hour block that will someday be yours.