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Decluttering Outside & In, Part 1

December 10, 2013 Home

What we own owns us.  Our home and our belongings are a reflection of who we are.  If we aren’t in tune with who we truly are, it’s easy to subconsciously surround ourselves with possessions and an environment that may appear meaningful on the surface but, in reality, is all meaningless and devoid of sentimental value.

For more than a decade, my house was simply a shelter, a comfortable space where I conducted my life as I thought it was supposed to be.  It’s a nice house by most standards, but the issue was I’d never really made it my own.  Until I began to come alive from within, I didn’t realize that my house didn’t feel like a home.

Home is more than the address where we live; home is a special place that offers warmth, comfort and respite from the rest of the world, a place where we long to be, inviting to ourselves and to others to whom we open our doors.

Above all else, home is the place in our hearts from which we’re able to draw these special feelings, regardless of where we’re physically located.

I wasn’t connected to this place in my heart, so it was no wonder that my physical home didn’t engender these feelings in me.

It’s not like I hated being in my house, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of great times hosting great company here.  The problem was that the place didn’t look or feel like me.  The majority of the walls were white, the house a blank canvas waiting to come alive, just like me.

The rooms of my house were filled with furniture and belongings that were aesthetically pleasing, but for the purpose of occupying space rather than an authentic representation of me.  This is only the fourth place I’ve lived my entire life, and the first house I’ve owned alone, so I hadn’t had a lot of practice creating a home for myself, let alone awareness of the need.

The awareness hit me like a two-by-four when I began to get serious about my dream to be a writer.  There wasn’t a comfortable, inspiring place in my house where I could write.  If I was going all-in with this writing gig, I needed a special place to create.  The dining room table where I’d been getting into the writing groove wasn’t going to cut it for the long haul.

I hired a professional organizer, she herself a writer who understood what I wanted to accomplish.  Actually, Sonya saw what I needed more than I initially could see myself.  I thought I was simply signing up for someone to help me see the forest for the trees in my house, to tidy up and carve out a special place to write.  I had no idea I was opening the doors to some of the most difficult, gut-wrenching emotional work of my life.

I had no idea how much STUFF I owned.  I discovered that for years I’d been deceiving myself, seeking significance in material possessions, regardless of their lack of meaning or utility.  Because I wasn’t in touch with the deepest parts of myself, I looked externally for meaning in belongings that I accumulated.  It wasn’t effective.

Stuff that didn’t serve a purpose in my life instead served to choke the flow of energy in my house.

Sonya and I worked in three-hour blocks, each session feeling like a much longer decision-making marathon.  Keep this?  Trash that?  Donate this?  It blew me away how emotionally exhaustive it was to let go of possessions, many of which I didn’t even remember owning.

I felt a huge, rewarding shift after each round.  Not only did I clear my physical space of all that did not serve me, in the process, I cleared stagnant energy and made way for vibrancy and flow throughout my home.

My former heap of gift bags of all shapes and sizes now neatly organized and easy to find in the closet.

My former heap of gift bags of all shapes and sizes now neatly organized and easy to find in the closet.

After many a trip to the Goodwill donation center and rearrangement of what I valued enough to keep, I began to see – and feel – a real home taking shape before my very eyes (that’s the now bright, inviting foyer of my house above, a truer reflection of me than the formerly white, lifeless walls).  My home began to feel so spacious and expansive, a shift that I couldn’t help but simultaneously embody.

I created the special creative space in my home that I desired, and I emancipated myself from the physical and energetic ties of material things that had unknowingly come to burden me.

Do you have things in your physical space that don’t serve you, things that are quietly sucking up or blocking the flow of energy around you?

While you likely won’t even notice their physical absence once you dispose of them, you’ll surely feel the benefit of greater spaciousness and a freer flow of energy.

Tune in next week, when I’ll share my experience on turning the decluttering inward to my body.

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