The war against clutter is one I am battling constantly. It seems the moment I turn my back on it there is something else doing its darndest to start a pile somewhere, be it paper, clothes, toys, or simply that other catagory known as “what is this?”
“I don’t know”
“Where does it go?”
“I don’t know…”
I guess for the sake of conversation we’ll call it *STUFF*. I am constantly on the look- out for ideas and inspiration in fighting the clutter war.
My friend Christine Kane just wrote a very inspiring article in her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine. She gave me permission to re-publish it here for you to enjoy. Thanks Christine, I need all the help I can get in this war and I KNOW I’m not alone!
The Year I Discovered How Clutter Blocks Success
~By Christine Kane
I looked at my phone in horror.
“You want me to what?” I said into it.
“It’s time, Christine. You’ve been talking about that basement for weeks now. It’s time to deal with it.”
I had been working with my coach for months at this point. And even though I had reached certain levels of success in my career, I kept getting stuck in the same old ruts. I was about to record my fourth CD, and I was ready to move to a higher level.
Thom was doing what good coaches do: listening carefully, seeing clearly – and of course, pushing me to take conscious action.
So, he encouraged me to start small and completely clear out the junk in my basement. Thirty minutes a day.
One section at a time. Building momentum as I went.
Each week, during our call, I’d report back on my progress.
Each week, I had a new reason why I simply could not let go of some clutter-y item.
“But I spent so much on it!” “I might need it someday!” “I could gain weight and need this again.” “I paid such a good price for it!”
To my credit, I did pretty well at letting go once Thom talked me through these old mindsets.
Then came the week I had to face one particularly significant section of the basement.
It was where I stored various pieces of furniture I had gotten at the Salvation Army and at local flea markets when I first began my songwriting career. A bookcase, a kitchen table, a dresser, and a few shelves. I no longer liked or used this furniture because my tastes totally changed. I had begun to cherish beauty and opulence in my surroundings. I wanted to fill my home only with items that I loved.
“So, Christine,” Thom asked. “Why don’t you want to let these things go?”
I was embarrassed. But I told him the truth. “Well, here’s the thing. If my music career doesn’t work out, I might need them one day. If I fail, and I don’t have any money, I might wish I had kept these things.”
“So, you’ll be on the street – but at least you’ll have that bookcase?”
Thom sighed. And what he said next has been a core lesson of creating my success and happiness.
He said that everything in our lives has energy. Everything has our thoughts and emotions embedded into it. Old furniture is no exception. In essence, what I was saying to the universe and to my subconscious, creative self was this:
I believe so deeply in my own failure that I’m holding onto physical things that represent that possibility. Every time I walk by these items in my basement, I will be reminded of my inevitable failure. Every moment I’m in my house, my subconscious will know that in the very foundation of my life (my basement), there are items that prove I don’t believe in my own success.
That week, I called Goodwill, and scheduled an appointment to have the old furniture taken away.
I’d love to report that I smiled and waved as the old clunky furniture was carried away. But the truth is I was terrified. I was letting go of my Plan B. I was saying to the Universe: “I thoroughly believe in my own success.”
I had never done that before in such a concrete way!
As I wrote earlier, I began recording my fourth CD “Rain & Mud & Wild & Green” as I was clearing out the basement. That CD went on to sell five times more than any of my other CD’s. It received rave reviews. Border’s Books featured it on a listening post that year, and named it the top CD of the year in my category.
Now, even though I know this success wasn’t ONLY about letting go of my old flea market furniture, I have become a firm believer that we each need to pay attention to the energy of the stuff that surrounds us. We need to pay attention to what we are telling our subconscious minds when we hold on.
What are you holding onto? What thoughts and beliefs are you putting out into the Universe by clinging to it? Are you telling yourself you don’t believe in the inevitability of your own success and prosperity? Or that you don’t believe you can expand and create better things in your life?
Pick one thing – just one small thing – and let it go. Today!
Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.
WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?
See Christine’s blog – Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous – at ChristineKane.com/blog.
Karen Swim says
“I believe so deeply in my own failure that I’m holding onto physical things that represent that possibility.” This line is so incredibly powerful and made me say “OUCH.” I have an intimate understanding of the impact of our environment on our internal self but there are always those areas…if you had asked if I had a clutter problem I would have told you, “at one time I did, but wit help now find it easier to let go,” and now I realize I would have been a big fat liar. Yes, there are things that I am holding onto that subconsciously say that I don’t believe in me. With tears in my eyes, and joy in my heart, I’m going to go grab a big trash bag. Thank you Wendi for sharing this powerful post.
Argh. What a timely post.
I finally got the clutter in MY house down to a reasonable level.
But my Mom has been purging out HER basement as well. This weekend, she gave me a carload of crap to take back with me. Stuff that I’ve had in her house for years…which I’ve forgotten about.
Sigh. More sorting.
But I’ll still keep some stuff.
Not much….but a few things.
Dog-eared Mad Magazines from the 60’s and 70’s. I read again and again. (And I still flip through them). I’ll never get tired of these.
50 year old DInky Army trucks, that an older kid passed on to me 35 years ago. I cherished these for years. I still do. Now that I have enough room, I’m going to put in a display case. I’ve wanted to do that for years.
Or photos of my folks when they were young, especially my departed Dad, in their days on the Canadian Ski Patrol, before I was born.
Or a few dozen sheets of paper…crayon scribbles. Artwork I did when I was three or four, that Mom saved.
There are the things I treasure. It’s the other “Stuff” I have no use for. Impersonal books, old furniture, pots and pans, etc
….THAT will all get chucked.
Friar’s last blog post..How to Suck all the Fun out of your Kids’ Childhood.
Evelyn Lim says
Tell me about it!! I have constant battles with clutter. After a weekend of sorting through my stuff, I’m back to accumulating stuff again on Monday!!
Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Create A Powerful Intent By Completing A Jigsaw
Stacey / Create a Balance says
I am currently working on removing 80% of the *stuff* in my house. This week I’m removing 80% of what is in all of my kitchen cabinets. I’m boxing up extra plates, saucers, etc that I do not use, I’m getting rid of extra tupperware that I do not need, and removing non-perishable food that has been sitting in my kitchen for far too long. It feels great!
Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..My First Video Blog! Take Back Your Life Episode #1 – Assessing Your Actions
Alex Fayle | Someday SyndromeI says
Yay to Christine (and coach) for curing yourself of one of the strains of Someday Syndrome: I Might Need It Someday.
The answer 9 times out of 10 is No, you won’t. It’s just holding you back.
And now, look at you!
Thanks Wendi for sharing this amazing story.
Stacey Shipman says
I completely agree. Clutter blocks. I cannot work or live in clutter. We have a basement full of stuff, most of it belongs to my husband. I have no problem getting rid of stuff. In fact, just a few months ago I got rid of all but a few photos from my grade school, high school and college days. I kept one of my graduation and a few of close family and friends, otherwise, gone. All of them and I don’t miss them one bit.
Every time I “clear” new wonderful things happen. I absolutely believe in it.
Thanks for sharing Christine’s article, maybe I’ll head back to the basement this weekend for some more clearing!
Stacey Shipman’s last blog post..Friday Quote: Is Opportunity Knocking? Don’t Just Sit There, Go Get the Door.
Thanks for your comments on Christine’s article. I just got back from a road trip 4+ hours up to Wisconsin to hear Christine play in a concert. It was wonderful. If you aren’t familiar with her music, go check it out! We were gone all weekend and used the time as a retreat together to get away. It was relaxing (Well, for me anyway, I wasn’t driving, John was…) and we got a lot of creative brainstorming done. I was struck by the thought that just getting out of our regular environment, clutter or not, and seeing something new, stimulates our brains to begin thinking. Like a jump start!
Nothing like a spotless hotel room to make you want to come home and get rid of more clutter!
That quote was an ouch for me too., I have been really trying to look around this week and ask, why is this here? Is it holding me back?
There is such a subjective difference between “collections” and “clutter” isn’t there? At least you get to make that decision on your own rather than have someone else judging which catagory something goes in!
80% !!! That is wonderful. I can’t claim that. I get so far out the front door and it seems like more stuff comes in the back door…Maybe I need to get rid of that revolving door?
THE “I might need it someday” is a big one. Especially to people in theater and creative people who can always imagine “re-purposing” something for a prop or something else.
Flylady says “You can’t organize clutter, you can only get rid of it”
I KNOW she is right….its in the deciding it IS clutter that is MY problem! Once I have decided it is, then out it can go!
“Every time I “clear” new wonderful things happen. I absolutely believe in it.”
Yes..I totally agree! Almost like magic. whenever I feel stuck or like things are going backward, that is a great place to begin. Start tossing and watch the new windows of opportunity open right up!
John Kelly says
I just wanted everyone to know that this is NOT about my bedroom closet… well maybe a little.