Self-Coach Sunday 12: Clear Clutter With The Joy Filter

Would you like something new and wonderful to come into your life? A new job, a new friend, an opportunity? A relationship? One of the easiest, most effective ways to attract something new into your life is to create some space. If you feel stuck, start clearing the decks. Go through your files at the office and toss out all those old memos, reports, and articles you’ve been saving in case you need them someday.

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Set aside a few hours at work or at home to do a big clear-out and toss loads of old papers or send them to the archives if important documents must be kept. If you can’t do that, then spend 30 to 60 minutes a day for a week just clearing out junk and you’ll be amazed at how much useless paper you’ve accumulated.

Once you’ve tackled the office, start clearing the decks at home. Your home is a sacred space where you need to relax and recharge so you have the energy to tackle your work. If you come home to a cluttered and uncomfortable space, you aren’t giving yourself a chance to fully recharge your batteries. There is only one question to ask when evaluating whether to keep or discard any object. You must hold it in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this give me joy?” If the answer is no then out it goes. After all, why would you want to keep anything that doesn’t give you joy?

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You simply get in touch with what gives you joy, you’ll find you can clear clutter all by yourself and it is an invigorating experience. Don’t even listen to music while you are clearing out, as it can distract you from the process of getting in touch with what gives you joy.

You are probably wondering how to get started. Instead, make clutter clearing a special, once-in-a-lifetime event.  Clear clutter by category, not by room. Start with your clothes and get all of your clothes out of the closet, out of the attic, the dry cleaners, or the hall closet so you can see all the clothes that you own. The sheer volume may startle you. Then start by sub-category with tops first, then bottoms, then hanging items, socks, underwear, handbags, accessories, and shoes. Hold each piece of clothing, one by one in your hands and ask if it gives you joy. If not, then out it goes. Using this simple method, I very quickly cleared out my closets and oddly enough, kept some clothes that I couldn’t wear but gave me joy and discarded clothes I had been wearing that didn’t give me joy or were a bit worn out. Now my entire wardrobe gives me joy, I can see everything I own as nothing is in off-season storage and I also have space for new things. Revolutionary!

Instead of focusing on getting rid of stuff, which can feel demoralizing and discouraging, you are focusing on what to keep, which is so much easier and even fun.  Recommendation: Pick them as if you were identifying items you loved from a display in your favorite shop. The process itself is life-changing because you quickly become expert at using the joy filter for decision-making, an important skill for everything you consider in your life – not just your stuff!

After clothes, sort your books, miscellaneous items, and papers, saving the hardest for last – sentimental items.  If you can’t bear to part with some sentimental items, create a Memory Box full of special things that make you feel good. Whenever you feel bummed out or discouraged, look through your box and get an instant boost. (Old love letters can remind you that you are lovable and loved and if they don’t, why are you keeping them?)

Getting rid of clutter is incredibly therapeutic and will give you a huge burst of energy. That is why we eliminate clutter at the start of a coaching program – so you have the newfound energy to tackle your really big goals and the space for new and better things.

Once you create some space, the universe will try to fill it, so be careful to say “No, thank you” if what comes along doesn’t add joy to your life. For instance, be very careful before you agree to store things for friends and family. If you do agree to store things, make sure you set a specific time limit and decide what will happen to the items if the time limit is exceeded.

As you create an abundance of space, there is more room for good things to come into your life. Make this a formal ritual. As you drop off your old things at a charity shop, you can express your gratitude and appreciation for them, even if it was just the pleasure of having purchased it in a shop and you never wore it or used it. Drop off the bags and silently say, “Thank you for having served your purpose in my life. I am now making space for something new and better to come into my life.” It sounds corny, but every time I do a thorough cleaning, I get a new client. It all goes back to energy—you are freeing up the energy attached to your belongings, allowing room for the new.

If you are interested in coaching or have questions, please feel free to contact me.

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