A guest post by Jen Rao of Clear Your Life
When you look around your home, do you feel a heavy weight on your shoulders?
You want room to breathe, create and grow – but you feel trapped.
Instead of space, your closets, cupboards and drawers are filled to the brim with junk from your past.
Often, people discover decluttering because they don’t like how their home looks. But the more you dig through years’ worth of untouched belongings, it’s clear that how your home feels is the real issue.
I believe Marie Kondo was brilliant when she called decluttering “life-changing.”
Because purging our homes of unwanted items impacts the energy and therefore the outcome of our lives.
Having power over the energy in your life may be a new concept to you. It was for me too until a decade ago, and now I find it fascinating and empowering!
In this article, you’ll learn common clutter blocks and how they hold you back from creativity, freedom and ease.
We’ll look at rooms in your home with common examples of clutter blocks from each.
As you read through this article, take note if any of these types of clutter are hiding in your living space. If so, make a plan to clear them and get ready for the positive impact it will have in your life!
Common Clutter Blocks
Clutter Blocks in Your Office
Often, paper clutter is one of the greatest sources of stress for my clients!
Without constant purging and organizing papers, it grows out of control quickly. Examples of office clutter include:
Old course work materials that you spent your hard-earned money on.
These courses represent dreams you once had. Maybe you were excited to learn how to speak French for a dream trip, finally, understand SEO to grow your business or study Feng Shui to improve your home.
Unfinished projects that you started with high hopes.
You once had an amazing light bulb moment, but now the plans are sitting half-finished in your cluttered office. What remains is a sad reminder that you didn’t complete it.
Note pads, sticky-notes and half-used planners from years ago.
These all represent moments in your life when you were determined to finally get organized. Now they’re just crowding your workspace.
Company binders and training materials from past jobs.
With employment comes paperwork. And at some point, you may have brought it all home with you and there it sits, even though you haven’t studied it in three years.
So, what’s the harm in keeping these items?
You risk blocking space for new ideas and projects to reach you!
Creativity needs room to breathe. If your office is full of old ideas, it will be difficult to think of innovative new ones.
People keep old papers out of fear. You might worry that your best work exists in the past or that you will need it someday.
Trust yourself and remember that you will never run out of great ideas.
A client had a home office filled with old training materials from courses she had spent thousands of dollars on. When I asked her about them, she admitted that she felt guilty for “wasting” that money.
It was clear she needed to release that guilt and create space for new projects to emerge.
Within weeks of purging those papers from her home office, she launched a podcast she had wanted to start for months before. She just needed the fresh space to create in!
Clutter Blocks in Your Bedroom
Your closet is the most obvious bedroom area where clutter blocks exist.
Afterall, clothing is deeply intertwined with our identities.
A pair of jeans that you wore while dating your now wife. Old uniforms or corporate outfits that used to make you feel powerful are now stuffed in the back corner of your closet. These items are all tied to specific times in our lives.
So why do we hold onto old clothes?
There’s a sense of comfort in clinging onto the past, because it’s hard to let go of old identities. We can’t accept we aren’t who we used to be, especially since our society places such a high value on youth.
However, simplifying your closet will have an immediate effect on your energy. You’ll feel a sense of lightness that will carry throughout your life.
You’ll feel confident in who you are now, and step powerfully into who you are becoming.
Think about your closet.
Are there pieces of clothing that you never wear that you’re holding onto?
Look for items that don’t fit or represent a time in your past that you’re ready to let go of. This is especially important if you want to change careers. Dress for the life you’re creating!
When you do so, you’ll allow new opportunities to flow towards you.
Clutter Blocks in Your Living Room
If the decor in your home is stagnant, there’s a chance that you will be too. This hinders you from creating new and exciting experiences in your life.
Living rooms are shared spaces that are magnets for different types of clutter. Look around and you may see unread books, old magazines and décor or gifts you don’t love.
Just like in your office, holding onto old books may block new ideas and adventures.
Now, this isn’t me telling you to donate all of your books if you’re a bibliophile. But if you hold onto books or décor out of guilt, you will experience a clutter block.
Remember, you are in control of your decisions.
This is why knowing and trusting your intuition is essential when it comes to decluttering. You could read twenty different decluttering lists by different bloggers telling you what to purge.
But deep down, only you know what’s best for you and your home.
If you want to sharpen your intuition, I highly recommend starting a journal practice. Just a few quiet minutes a day spent writing and reflecting will connect you to your inner guidance.
Clutter Blocks in Your Kitchen
Check your fridge or storage cupboards and you’re bound to find kitchen clutter.
Perhaps it’s food from recipes you never tried, broken utensils, appliances, or uni-taskers you never use.
What does this type of clutter energy block?
Creativity. You might not try new recipes because your kitchen is too stressful to work in.
Nourishment. You might turn to processed, unhealthy foods because they’re easier to prepare in the limited space you have.
Ease. There’s no better feeling than walking into your kitchen and knowing exactly where everything is to make a meal you love.
And before you scoff and think “easy for people who have huge kitchens with custom organizing solutions!” – let me tell you about my kitchen.
It is approximately 50 square feet, because I live in a fifth wheel RV full-time. And yes, I feel at ease everyday because I know where everything is!
Clutter Blocks in Your Spare Room
Do you have an extra room in your home? If so, it might be a catch-all for clutter.
Afterall, it’s easy to throw stuff in there to deal with “later.” And sadly, later rarely comes.
Spare rooms are often turned into makeshift hobby rooms. They could be filled with craft supplies, bags of Halloween cobweb decorations and bins of sparkling Christmas ornaments.
However, when a space is filled with unfinished projects, you block the space for new creativity and the energy to actually finish what you started.
The guilt that comes with unfinished projects is hard to deal with. But letting go of the clutter and the guilt will free you to move forward towards new opportunities.
Clutter Blocks in Your Garage
Your garage can be a scary space to face if it’s cluttered. They’re big, easy to fill with gear, products and extra storage that doesn’t fit in the house.
What’s at stake when your garage is overstuffed?
Each time you attempt to locate and use your gear, if it’s in a cluttered mess you’ll feel a sense of being trapped and frustrated.
Easy access to your car, tools and gear all create a sense of freedom and being able to do what you want, when you want.
A cleared-out garage that supports you allows for ease, freedom and flexibility.
Clutter is More Than an Eye Sore
It could be holding you back from making exciting changes in your life!
But with focus and consistency, you can clear space for your dreams to reach you. It’s never too late to begin purging the old stagnant energy from your living space.
I promise, there’s no better time to start than today.
Now tell me – what will reach you when you clear more space in your life?
Jen is an intentional organizer who specializes in decluttering (and its magical benefits!) She helps women create peace in their lives by clearing their mind, home & spirit. Jen shares her fresh, approachable take on simple living, organizing and intentional living. You can find her work at Clear Your Life and on Instagram.
Want to keep up to date with The Simplicity Habit? Sign up on the form below and get weekly tips on simplifying and decluttering your home and your life. You’ll also get the Your Home Decluttered Jumpstart which includes 100 easy items to declutter and 12 high impact areas to declutter in 10 minutes.
Hi Jen… I’m really enjoying your blog, thank you. During the last month, I’ve started to purge / de clutter. I’m proud of my progress with and am feeling much better about my home.
One thing I’m struggling to figure out is my email box. I probably received 200 work emails per day and I can never get ahead. I have already endeavoured to remove my name from as many email distribution lists as possible.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Beth. Jen was the guest poster on this one. I do have another blog post that talks about digital clutter with some email tips included too. I hope you find it helpful! https://www.thesimplicityhabit.com/how-to-get-rid-of-digital-clutter-and-save-time/. ~Julianna
Marie Kondo drives me stark raving mad. Anything you could recommend instead of laying everything on the floor and trying to see if each item brings you joy. My potato peeler doesn’t bring me joy, but I still need the little gadget…
I feel the same way about Marie Kondo. I found this book to be helpful (get it as an audiobook and listen to it wherever you’re doing mindless chores like dishes and laundry to keep up the motivation):
Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White