Decluttering can be an easy part of your day.

Making lunches and find some extra lids? Resist that Monday morning lazy urge to just leave them where you found them. Don’t say you’ll do it another day. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t have time. Don’t dismiss it as inconsequential and not really going to make any difference anyway.

I don’t have the containers that match these lids so why keep them? Taking the 30 seconds to throw them into the recycling bin may seem so simple that you wonder why I am even taking the time to think or write about it.

It’s these small items that add up to nagging feelings chasing us around our home. These small items adding up to a feeling of chaos, stress or just feeling unsettled.

These few extra items clutter up every corner. Every time we open a drawer, there they are…lurking, reminding us we have unfinished business. Every time we look at a surface there are a few extra items laying around that don’t belong.

Did you know clutter attracts more clutter?

Gasp! Say it isn’t so!

Clutter isn’t your friend but it soon will have more of it’s own friends of clutter joining it. Clutter can seem to hide as you skim over it because you don’t want to deal with it… but everyone sees it. It bugs you. You blame others in the house for not cleaning up. Clutter attracts more clutter, then dirt. If a surface is cluttered, you and others are more likely to set stuff down absentmindedly filling that area.

More and more clutter until you have had enough of those nagging feelings and get fed up with it. Or you may not notice the little clutter gatherings until it becomes a full blown junk party.

Clutter jumps out to trip you. Frustrating you in your rush to get something done when you are in a hurry. Clutter gets in the way as you try to find what you need. Once you notice clutter and it annoys you, it seems as if it calls out to you from every nook and cranny to taunt you and laugh at you. Staring you in the eye and making you angry. You stare it down. You blame it and others for your problems.

The clutter is overwhelming. It’s everywhere. It’s too much. It almost feels like a judgment of your character and cleanliness… It can feel like you have lost control. It can feel like no one cares about your home and all the work you do to clean and maintain it. It can feel like your efforts are unappreciated. Is it a battle or all out war?

You can feel afraid to have guests over because the shame and guilt you feel over the mountains of clutter make you want to run and hide. Clutter guilt is real. Opinions can matter to us more than we want to admit. Fear of judgment is just as hard as the harsh judgements you think when that clutter is staring you down.

How did I let it get this far? Where do I start? Why even bother now? Look how much time or money I have wasted. Listen to how much we argue and fight about the clutter and pass the blame? See how we hurt our own feelings and the feelings of others as the stress turns us into someone we don’t enjoy.

Look how families can be torn apart by hoarding, extreme clutter, or maybe the exact opposite. Look how sometimes the clutter is just a symptom of deeper issues. A bad habit. An addiction to shopping. Pretending the mess isn’t there because we don’t want to bother. Pretending our bad feelings aren’t there so we gather and collect to keep our mind busy and distracted.

Not all of these things are us today. Most will never happen to these extremes. There is a part of us that knows when we have let it go too far. But there is also a part of us that says I’ll do it later. Part of us that says we don’t have time. Days and weeks where we are just so busy and worn out doing the day to day or facing emergency situations that we don’t have the energy or mental capacity to deal with anything more on our plate.

Then there are mornings like today. I am tired. It was a difficult weekend. I have a never ending to do list. I am not really motivated. I feel bad because the issues of the weekend have me emotionally low. Do I really care about two little inconsequential pieces of plastic? I can close the cupboard door and not have it impact my day.

Next time I open that cupboard and those two caps get in my way I will sigh and inwardly groan. Then I will close the cupboard and move on with my day. This will happen again and again. Repeat exposure here.

It will happen all over the house, in the car, on my phone and computer, (yes there is clutter on electronics). I will have a negative nagging feeling that hangs around yet I won’t know where it is coming from. I will feel unsettled and uneasy. Stealing my joy every time I come into contact with the clutter and associated feelings. Unfinished business everywhere I look.

Now do you see how it makes sense to pay attention to these two little bottle caps that don’t belong in my kitchen cupboard?

Save yourself before it is too late! Yes…That’s a little dramatic. But for some people who don’t know how they got to the point of overwhelm or real emotional pain and trauma it is real.

I have hoarding tendencies due to fear of scarcity. I have habits that don’t always serve me well. I have chronic pain and health issues which make the day to day more difficult so the clutter can pile up fast. I have a whole moving truck of emotional baggage I need to unpack, work through and declutter. I am a frequent flyer on my own personal guilt trips. Some days I watch myself as if watching a train wreck, unable to stop because I don’t feel in control.

Then other days I realize it is the little things that can make a difference. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to do it all today. When I am faced with these silly little items to toss I need to pay attention. I have a choice to be lazy or I have a choice to take the 30 seconds and toss them.

It is easy. It is a good choice. It is a small little thing that needs to be a habit. It isn’t really a choice I need to think about each time from now on. It is a non-negotioable. I don’t need to worry ‘I may find the bottles they go with’ or ‘I might need them for something someday’.

These are the thoughts and habits that have led to my clutter issues and overwhelm.

Throwing these 2 pieces of no longer useful to me plastic is now something I just do. No stress and putting it off. No being lazy and saying I am too tired, too busy. No brain space being taken up in making the decision. And no lingering nagging feelings of guilt and frustration to steal my joy.

So simple and it takes less than 30 seconds right now. Who knew it could change everything for the better?

Tracey, GYST2020

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