How to Create More Energy in Your Life (Part 1)Mar 01, 2021
Cleaning is a caffeine shot for your soul.
Let me explain...
We all have limited energy to spend during the day, and, believe it or not, managing STUFF takes energy and time. So clearing out stuff that is just taking up space - and not adding to your life - leaves you with more energy to spend time on things that actually matter to you.
One of my favorite things in the world to do is to travel. Yes, of course, I love connecting with new people, experiencing different cultures and taking in stunning views. But one of the bonus benefits of travel is living out of a suitcase – that’s right – I looooove living out of a suitcase.
Living out of a suitcase leaves me feeling inspired to clear out even more of my worldly possessions. Having a limited number of belongings frees up a tremendous amount of time so that I can actually go out and, well, you know…LIVE my life. It’s such a liberating feeling! It’s that caffeine shot for my soul.
I’m pretty mindful of making sure that I actually use everything I own. Don’t get me wrong, my house is filled with all sorts of things, but I also have empty spaces and none of my closets or cupboards to even close to being overstuffed. Even still, I’m on a constant mission to own even less because it improves my quality of life.
In working with organizing clients for more than a decade, I’ve seen time and time again how easy it is for people to reach the point where they are completely overwhelmed by their possessions. Sometimes we become numb to how much time and energy possessions take! We can easily slip into auto-pilot and not even notice that more and more things come into our space than what goes out.
Consider these points. Do any of these resonate with you?
→ More stuff means you need to spend more time taking care of more stuff (clothing, projects, tools, etc)... on top of still caring for everything else you already had! This time comes from the daily bank of 1,440 minutes, except that you typically have most of your 1,440 minutes allotted to sleeping, working, relationships, eating, hobbies… and you already have panic attacks about not having enough time for all of that.
→ You don’t have time to properly tend to all of the things you have. Company is coming over and you end up shoving stuff into closets, drawers or wherever it will fit to “clean up” for visitors.
→ You can’t find things you need or want because they weren’t organized into proper, logical homes, so you go buy a replacement for the lost item(s) and end up with even MORE stuff. (And then you find the original a month later!)
→ Pretty soon you run out of space to the put any new stuff - or old stuff! And you still can’t find that one tool that you need or the ribbon that you bought for your project. But they’re somewhere in the closet, on top of your grandmother’s old china set (the one you stowed away because you had no idea what to do with it).
→ You were going to start that important home improvement project but keep getting stuck trying to clean all the stuff out of the area so you can start. Keeping the house “picked up” is a challenge all by itself.
Any of that sound familiar? It is the dangerous cycle of buying material things... The more things you have, the more time AND space you need to devote to managing them. With an already busy life, it's so easy to run out of time to take care of “stuff” in any form. In a lot of cases, this may even mean that the more emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with – family heirlooms, items that trigger stressful memories – are covered in a layer of meaningless stuff, which makes it even harder to manage it all. Not to mention, house projects get tabled since a clean house is a new challenge all on its own!
Acquiring more and more possessions sounds like a ridiculous habit when it’s framed like this, right? And yet, so many of us keep piling up things in our lives.
Whether they are just physical items or something more emotional, most of us have the tendency to hang on to way too much. As the saying goes, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard an organizing client say something like, “Oh! That’s where that went” or “I was just looking for that!” I’d be rich! I’ve oftentimes heard clients telling a negative story about an item they had sitting around, or they tell me they’re keeping something out of guilt or the perceived expectation of someone else.
Please think about this: Holding on to things can ultimately hurt us in many different ways - in relationships, physical health and our general happiness and fulfillment in life.
When we release our attachment to these items and clear out the junk, all of that stuck, stagnant energy is released. Which means you just made space in your life for the good stuff to start showing up.
Here’s another way to think of it: you have 5 dresses that you love. They’re hanging in a closet along with 50 dresses that you don’t really like or need. When you open your closet, I bet you’ll have thoughts like “I have nothing to wear!” or “I don’t like any of my clothes, I need something new!” You might even forget those dresses you like are in there. And it’ll take you putting on and taking off about 10 dresses until you find something to wear out of the house. (And, don’t forget, then you have to re-hang all of them!)
Now... picture this. You only have 5 dresses hanging in your closet. And you love each of them. How much time and energy did you save by only having those 5 dresses that you ACTUALLY like?!
A LOT. You save time, space AND maximize your happiness because you feel good and use what you own. The goal is to scale that feeling to everything you own.
What things are you holding onto that need to be released? What areas need to be cleaned up? Some of the areas you may consider looking at are:
- Having an excessive amount of stuff
- Items in need of repair
- Out of fashion clothes or clothes from high school
- Books you will never read
- Kitchen gadgets you’ve never used
- Abandoned projects you’ll (honestly) never go back to
- Gifts you’ve been hanging onto only because it was a gift & so you’re prepared for “what if they come over & ask about it”
All of these are examples of things that we can feel burdened with or guilty about. They overlap and intertwine, taking up precious space, time and emotional and mental energy. If you want to find your true happiness and purpose, you need to liberate your time from negative energy and make time for positive energy. Get rid of the meaningless and negative stuff so you can spend time, energy and space on things that make you happy and align with your true purpose.
It definitely takes time and effort to clear out physical things from your space. However, I promise you that it will be 100% worth it!
Are you struggling to figure out where to start? Start with items that need to be returned to a person or store, then move onto purging what’s in plain sight. Also, consider hiring a house cleaner to do a deep cleaning – it’s amazing how much of a lift this can be! If you’re still feeling stuck then look into working with an organizing coach or a hands-on professional organizer to help guide you through the journey.
Stay tuned for Part Two where I talk about cleaning up your mental space!
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