Often, just getting started is the hardest part of clearing clutter. Once you do finally gain some confidence and get rolling, things can feel good.
You’re able to look around your house and make smart decisions every day to keep your living space and your schedule clear and supportive of your best life.
In a perfect fairytale world, this would be your happy ending. You got rid of some stuff, learned how to put yourself and your needs first, and that’s that, there’s no more work to be done.
The truth is, when you start to clear your life, sometimes you might feel stuck.
Sometimes it will feel so good and sometimes you’ll just want to give up. Because even though you’ve made real tangible progress you can be proud of, your feelings shift.
You’re stuck and you’ve hit the wall.
The biggest problem with the wall is that:
You look around and instead of feeling proud of your hard work, you just see more work. All of your previous progress feels like it never happened.
You feel shame, frustration and embarrassment. These feelings do not mix well with your goals of a peaceful, happy life.
One of the hardest parts of hitting the dreaded “wall” is that you feel like a failure. You think you’ll never win the battle against clutter. You think everyone else has it all figured out and you’re the only one who can’t seem to keep the momentum going.
The good news is, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.
The wall is real, and it can affect anyone.
I remember in the early days of clearing my life, I had put so much work in, with bags and bags of items already donated. Yet I still had areas of my apartment that were stacked high with rubber storage containers filled with more stuff.
What made this worse was the influx of gifts from caring and innocently generous friends and family at holidays. It felt like I would never be able to keep up. It was enough to make me want to give up. I had hit the wall.
I needed to adjust my mindset in order to move forward, and I used multiple positive approaches to do so.
Here are a few simple ideas I’ve used that can help you move past the wall. They worked for me, and maybe they can help you too.
Focus on your successes
Just because you’ve slowed down or feel discouraged, it doesn’t mean that your hard work has been undone. Get quiet and take a moment to reflect. Think about your current physical space and name an area you define as a success. It doesn’t matter how small the area is, it matters that you recognize that you’ve made progress before and you can make progress again.
Write about it
I’m all about my journals. Every single part of my adult life has been positively affected by my journal practice. When you make notes about your simplifying journey, you have a tangible record of where you started to where you are now.
Journal in whatever way works best for you, some may prefer organized bullet lists while others like myself prefer free form writing. Either way it will have a tremendous effect on your outlook. It’s important to see all of the small steps you’ve taken along the way to get to where you are.
Even when you feel you’ve gone nowhere, looking back on your writing will show you exactly how far you’ve come.
Learn to define what is and isn’t clutter
One of my clients had come SO far in her journey. She had done a massive amount of inner and outer work clearing her clutter. She had truly changed her life. Yet, one day she told me that she felt discouraged because no matter how hard she tried, there was still kid’s stuff out in her house.
She has two young children who used the items that she was speaking about. My first question was “but is that really clutter?”
Clutter is useless, stress inducing and unnecessary. It gets in the way of living the life you desire.
What she was describing was “life”. She has young daughters, and they have toys. She had no interest in becoming a strict minimalist and not allowing toys or any items to be out in her home.
So, after she gave herself (and her family) a break, she adjusted her view on what was and wasn’t clutter. It was this mindset shift that allowed her to move past the wall and never look back.
Give yourself a break (please!)
It’s easy to think what you’ve done is never good enough, especially when you compare yourself to magazines, blogs and social media photo shoots stylized to look perfect.
Perfection is for social media, it’s expertly curated, and it’s just not possible (or necessary) in our daily lives.
I’ve decluttered and simplified for over a decade and it still takes work and it’s still messy sometimes. I’ll never be perfect, and that’s okay. Sometimes giving yourself a break is just what you need to keep moving forward.
Have you ever hit a wall in your clutter clearing journey? What helped you through it? Let me know in the comments below!