When You Backslide from Decluttering

Not too long ago, I happened to overhear a woman talking about how much she loves decluttering. How much she absolutely loves getting rid of stuff since she discovered how freeing it is for her life.

“Of course,” she says, “I’m always shopping to make up for it. And now I find myself just sitting around surfing my phone with all this free time."

"Is this what it was all for?"

People often think the only challenge in decluttering is letting go. Her struggles illustrate the other side of the coin - contentment.

While it’s important to learn how to let go, and your freedom is worth fighting for - people tend to find themselves in this woman’s situation when they come out the other side. 

They have open space that they’re desperate to fill again. They’ve reclaimed their time but can’t figure out how to use it. If you stop there, you may feel like you’ve won the battle but lost the war.

The reason why people find themselves in these situations is because even though they cleared their space for today, they remain trapped in the same patterns that led them to their overgrown “stuff” problem.

They haven’t changed the way they consume.

Whether they are indulging in retail therapy or information from their screen of choice, they haven’t yet broken the cycle of consumption.

That’s not to say that it isn’t okay to shop, or to surf on your phone. But if that’s all there is for you on the other side of decluttering - and you are still finding yourself dissatisfied, it’s likely you’ve missed these steps.

Have a Vision

A juicy vision for your life after decluttering is absolutely necessary. It needs to be held in your mind as you declutter. Otherwise, you are spending that time focusing on what you don’t want (clutter) rather than what you do want, and this leads to lackluster results.

Take Inventory

It can be really uncomfortable to examine your clutter as you let it go, but it’s worthwhile. If you’re just letting things go without questioning why they’re there in the first place, you miss the opportunity to shift your patterns of consumption into something authentically nourishing.

Make a Plan

Most people acquire things haphazardly, without considering their place not only in their space but in their day. It’s easy to let emotions, compulsions, and old stories take over when we shop. It takes planning to connect the dots between our possessions and our lives to feel secure, content, and in control of our material life.

Decluttering isn’t just a fight for your freedom - it’s a process of self discovery. One that can have real tangible benefits in your daily life if you do it mindfully.

With Love and Gratitude, 

Anna Brunelle