3. Decluttering is Self-Love - Conny Graf

Clutter has so many negative effects on us, our health and in particular our stress level that decluttering is self-love and an act of self-care.

I talk about that this is backed by science behind it how decluttering really is a thoughtful and powerful approach of self-development. 

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Episode Transcript

This is From Chaos to Peace with Conny, Episode number 3 - Why I say decluttering is self-love

Welcome everyone how is it going, this is episode number 3 of the From Chaos to Peace podcast where you learn how a few minutes a day keeps the chaos away, thank you so much for being here. I am so excited that you are listening in, I am recording this on Valentine's Day, which seems the perfect day for what I want to talk about today.

So the title of this episode is Why I say Decluttering is Self-love and I actually coined this phrase for the first time 3 years ago. It all started with our very first Decluttering challenge that my friends Vicki McLeod and I co-host every February since 2018. This four week program we run intentionally during the month of February - the month of love, and we focus - as a community - on the clutter in our lives.

Today, as I record this, we are half-way through this years challenge, we have taken care of household clutter and paper clutter, next week we'll focus on digital clutter and in the last week we look at mental/emotional and social clutter.

But so again, why do I say decluttering is Self-Love?

We live in a world where a lot of us are all very stressed. Clutter makes you feel stressed, overwhelmed, sidetracked, stuck, heavy, sluggish, uninspired, unmotivated, and sometimes even depressed. When your environment looks bad, you feel bad.

Also, as the dust that is trapped by clutter affects the quality of air in your home and office and in more extreme cases the dust can lead to mold and bacteria, which all can lead to health risks, especially if you or your family members are prone to allergies or asthma.

If we just stay with the dirt and dust for a bit longer, tidy, clutter free and organized spaces are easier to get clean and keep clean. And lets be honest, for most of us, cleaning is not a favourite activity, it’s more a necessary chore.
So less clutter also means less cleaning and when we save time cleaning we then can in turn use that time for something that is (more) important to us.

So while living clutter-free and organized really helps you feel less stressed and overwhelmed, you also don’t get sidetracked as easily. By creating space in your outer environment, you can focus more on what matters to you. You will have time and energy to put into other areas of your life.

More and more scientific studies by the way support these perspectives.

In a study from 2012 and subsequent book both titled “ Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century ,” researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that stress hormones spike during time spent dealing with belongings. 

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published a report titled “ Interactions of Top-Down andBottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex ”and came to the conclusion that a cluttered environment restricts our ability to focus. The clutter and chaos also limits the brain’s ability to process information.

Stanford published an article on how less clutter can reduce stress https://bewell.stanford.edu/a-clean-well-lighted-place/

So, given that there are so many good reasons to declutter and research that supports the benefits, it still can be difficult? I feel it is because we don't approach it with the right mindset. We might think it's a one time event, or a fad that will go away again. Another reason is that we are not aware how much clutter is weighing us down until we let go of some of it and experience the difference in our body.

My mission is to show you an approach and a way of decluttering that ultimately becomes simply the way you live your life. It is not about purging, minimalism, or becoming overwhelmed with tasks or overwhelmed with decluttering - that would be counter productive right.

Self-care and self-love are important, it's focusing on oneself and personal nurturing. But then again, self-care is so much more than just bubble baths, massages and other special treats, I feel it is just as much if not more creating an environment that supports you, in a very practical way, brings more ease, freedom and joy in your life.

That is looking after ourselves, loving ourselves, in other words, self-care and self-love.
Decluttering, organizing and getting control of the stuff in your life will give a sense of accomplishment and well-being.When you let go of things that have no more room for in your life, you will physically feel the release in your body.

You will feel lighter, you will feel like you are in the flow-- and you this will lead to feeling more energized, optimistic and happy.

Back in 2018 when we did this challenge for the first time, Vicki coined the phrase: Decluttering will give you and your future self elbow room. That is room to grow, discover, evolve and change, all at the pace of your own wisdom.
And that's what I feel decluttering helps us with, 

  • to find ourselves and who we are
  • to let go of the things and thoughts that have nothing to do anymore with who we are
  • maybe they never had anything to do with you in the fist place. 

So what is your vision for how you (and your family) live in your home? There is no right or wrong, a young family with small children will have different requirements than “empty nesters”, and singles or couples without children are different again.

  • What stage of life are you at?
  • What are your requirements for this stage?
  • What is trying to emerge in your life that you might need to make room for?

Craft a vision of the perfectly functioning home for the stage of life that you are in right now.
How would your ideal home and/or office space look like? How would it function on a day-to-day basis? How would it support your lifestyle, your hobbies, your needs? What about your future self?

Remember we want to make elbow room for our future self as well.

These are big questions that you don't have to and most likely can't answer right here right now. But you might want to keep them in your mind, and when you go about the rest of your day and tomorrow pay attention when you get stressed coming into your home or office. See if you can take 5 minutes and clean something up to relief some of this stress. Remember, a few minutes a day, keep the chaos away. 

We are shaped by what we surround ourselves with. The question is, how do you want to be shaped?”
We should surrounding ourselves with what tells the story of who we are now, not who we used to be. So decluttering is really a thoughtful and powerful approach of self-development. 

By the time you are listening to this podcast our decluttering challenge will be over until next year. But last year, after we run this challenge for the second time, Vicki and I decided to created an eBook out of it. So now people who prefer to work on their own or at a slower pace or for those who missed the challenge, you all can do it on your own now.

Ok, lets summarize real quick why I call decluttering an act of self-love:  

  • When our environment looks bad, we feel bad
  • a clutter free environment helps us feel less stressed and overwhelmed
  • we also don't get sidetracked that easy and we can focus better
  • Clutter can be a health risk, the dust and dirt affects the quality of the air, dust and dirt can also lead to mold and bacteria
  • All this dust and dirt requires more time cleaning, so less time for the things we really want to do
  • When you have more time for yourself you can focus on what really matters to you- it's a tool for self-development, we can find ourselves and figure out who we really are

In short, self-care and self-love are important but it's much more than bubble baths, massages and special treats, it's more about creating an environment that supports us in a very practical way, brings more ease and freedom and joy in our life.

Ok my friends, that's what I have for you today.

So lets put into action what you just discovered, identify some clutter in your home and go address it. My hope and idea is that you will listen to my podcast while you declutter a small area in your home or office. Remember "a few minutes a day keep the chaos away.  hope you are intrigued and interested so far and will listen in again and again.

You find all the links of the things I was taking about in the show notes, and the show notes you'll find at www.connygraf.com/podcast/3. 

Thank you for joining me on the podcast and listening all the way to the end. Have a beautiful and amazing week and please subscribe so you never miss an episode. See you next time, take good care. 

What you'll discover in this episode

  • Why I say decluttering is self-love
  • The benefits of decluttering and the scientific studies that support it
  • Why it is so hard to live a clutter free life 
  • Questions to ask yourself before you start decluttering

Resources

If you have any questions: 

If you have a question about decluttering, organizing or something you heard me talk about on the podcast I'd like to invite you to a free public call "ask Conny". You can ask me a question anonymously or just listen in what others ask.

Register here, I look forward to seeing you there. 

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