The Magic of Decluttering

Does this title confuse you? Do you think there is magic in decluttering? On the one hand there can be a lot of pleasure in acquiring things and on the other hand what do your do with all of this stuff…….. like, now what??? Could be “where do I put this, or perhaps it ends up staying in the bag, or I don’t want to look at my bank account or ………??? ” What are your thoughts? It can be so very complex, so conflicting and confusing for sure.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your stuff?  Do you love to get stuff, give stuff, stuff is pretty, makes me happy but….then I have to live with stuff, move stuff, clean stuff, have too much stuff, makes my home feel cluttered, can’t find my stuff. 

No wonder it is so hard to let go and to deal with all of that stuff that comes into our lives. If you are bringing stuff in on a regular basis and not letting go of anything in your home eventually you will run into difficulties. It is not about getting more space, more storage and more bins to put stuff in. You need to have a good flow happening in your home. Things coming in, things going out. It can be the same with finances, right. We need to have money coming in so that the money can then go out to pay those bills or to purchase what we need or want.

If you have too much stuff, you will need to purge. I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. BUT…..”You don’t need more space. You need less stuff.” Joshua Becker from

So, what are the benefits of decluttering? Is there really some magic to decluttering? These are some of the comments from the participants in the Declutter Your Life and Mind Private Facebook Group Lightness, peace, freedom, accomplishment, pleased, happy, proud, cleanliness, space, lighter, less to clean, feeling more in control, enjoy your space, taking control of my space (rather than my space controlling me), able to find things, improved emotional health, less impulsive spending, less trip hazards.  Pretty Awesome right?

The Magic of Decluttering (my tips)

  1. More Healthy – Think about it. If you are more organized in your kitchen, you will have some counter space to create a meal or make a sandwich, you are able to make healthier meals, you will use up those leftovers, you won’t have food that has expired as long as you are not buying too much and you can save money by not wasting food or eating out. You might even have some time to head out for a walk after a meal.
  2. Less Distractions – Which means rather than putting out fires you have more time for other things. You will have more time to just be, to think, to dream, be more creative or maybe to read a book. It’s not all about decluttering. You get to decide what to focus your energies on.
  3. Less Anxiety/Stress – There is no question that clutter causes us anxiety and stress. Who needs it? Right? You will feel calmer just because you can find your keys, you are not tripping over the cat and you are able to find what to wear with no problem. You can give yourself permission to breathe, to ground yourself and to have a little time to get to the next thing without rushing. Ahh!! So awesome 🙂
  4. More Energy Flow – I think it is so important to have that energy flow in your home. It keeps things fresh. When something comes in, something goes out. We need to have this flow happening in all areas of our lives. We do not want things to become stagnant and that is what happens when there is no flow. Think about that “stuck energy” in your home. I am sure we all have it. Let’s allow our stuff and our homes to breathe.
  5. More Intuition and Clarity – It can be such a big question to think about what we want for ourselves, our families and our homes. But, just to have that time and space and to trust our intuition to allow what we need in our lives. So important to begin this process and to be able to make some decisions and to trust that it is okay.
  6. More Finances – Yes, this is such a great benefit to decluttering. I could not believe how many people responded to “Have you ever found money or gift cards when decluttering? Do tell?” in the private and closed FB Group. So many people found money after a loved one had passed or even in their own belongings. You will not be out buying items that you know you might already have but cannot find (been there myself). Just paying attention to your finances can make such a huge difference. Watching what you are spending, paying your bills, doing your taxes, watching your dollars add up in savings – its all good!!

I am sure there are so many more benefits to decluttering your life and mind. I wold love to hear yours as well. Please sign up here so that you never miss a post and please leave a comment. Thank you so much for your support. Happy Decluttering and Much Gratitude to all of you.

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A Support Worker who will help you with your decluttering efforts?

If you have had a lot of trauma in your life, then you will want to have a Professional Organizer/Mental Health/Support Worker/Family Member who has knowledge and experience working within a Trauma Informed Approach. It is important to have positive support to help you with your decluttering efforts and to help you to move forward.

What to look for in a Support Person (for the worker and then the client):

Trauma Awareness

Worker: Someone who has an understanding of trauma and the possible causes.  Check out some of the Vulnerability Factors here Having knowledge of the emotional, physical and psychological responses of an individual especially if they are feeling very overwhelmed.

Client: If you are in crisis, facing eviction or an emergency clean up you are likely not able to focus on what you need to at that time. An informed worker will help you with some calming and grounding strategies, help you to feel in control of what you can and help you to feel comfortable and safe.

Safety and Trustworthiness 

Worker: This will take time so it is important to get to know your client and perhaps look for some commonalities. Help the client to become aware of the safety concerns using a harm reduction approach. Let your client know that you are there to help them to create safety and comfort in their living space and to advocate for them if needed.  It is important to be concerned and focused on getting to know the client first. Doing what you say you are going to do to help and following through with the client will help you to gain their trust. I love this Maya Angelou quote.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.” 

Maya Angelou

Client: Remember this is a relationship that you are working on with your Support Worker and of course trust is going to be very important. This is very personal and emotional work and it will take some time to get to know if you and your Support Worker are a good match. You will know after a number of sessions as to whether you can trust and work with this Person.

Opportunities for Choice, Collaboration, and Connection 

Worker: Offer the client options for support and help. Let client know about possible other supports in the community like support groups or other Support Workers ie: mental health. If the client is in an emergency/crisis situation help the client to be aware of where her important things are like medications, purse, wallet and keys, remote control, etc. Encourage and take the lead from your client. They really do know best about their own life.

Client: Get some support for yourself. Join a Support Group for people who are struggling with clutter in person or online. You are not alone. Learn more about yourself and what is underneath the clutter. Start to look at the reasons you save things and why you have difficulty with letting go. You are important and deserve to take this time just for you. You can make positive changes in your life!

Strengths Based and Skill Building 

Worker: What is the client doing well? Comment on those positives and build on them if possible. No need to fix anything that is working well. Encourage your client to come up with some ideas and solutions to help to make things work better. Teach and model some new skills that will help client to move forward.

Client: You are the expert in your own life. It is important that you are working with someone who encourages you to take charge of your life. Someone who will listen to your stories about your life and your possessions, support and teach you some new daily living skills and can help you to make those important decisions that you feel comfortable with.

Have you had positive experiences with Support Workers and/or friends or family members who have helped you in your home?

Please let us know in the comments……

If you would like more support for your Decluttering Efforts please join the Declutter Your Life and Mind closed group on Facebook

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The Link between Trauma and Chronic Disorganization

Do you think there is a link between trauma and clutter/chronic disorganization/hoarding? The current research is showing that there is a connection between the two. So, the good news is that you are not alone. There are reasons why this is so challenging for you.

It is helpful to look underneath the clutter issue and think about “why” am I so frustrated and cannot seem to get a handle on my stuff even though I feel like I am constantly working on it. Why Me? Ugh!!

Here are some possible Vulnerability Factors that may have triggered these issues for you:

  • Family history of hoarding (mother, father, grandmother, etc.) They likely have suffered from their own trauma
  • History of mental illness in the family (depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, bi-polar, etc.)
  • Parental values and behaviour (ie: values about waste, obsessively neat, compulsive acquiring/saving, hand me downs, control over decisions (perfectionism), sentimentality
  • Physical obstacles (time, space, health, others living in the home)
  • Traumatic events (loss of loved one, assaults and violence, moving, deprivation, divorce, birth of a child)
  • Other……..Loss of belongings, eviction, poverty, hospitalization, loss of contact with family members

I remember when my second husband left me.  Yes, I was married twice.  I was surprised when he said he was leaving. I really should not have been as there were signs but I probably didn’t want to see them.  I just assumed we would continue to work on our relationship and all would be okay.  

After he left I went through the motions at work helping others with their trauma and would come home and just wander around my home in a fog not knowing what I should be doing.  It was a hard time and I know that I drank way too much wine, spent a lot of time in bed and didn’t ask for help and support. 

We can become emotionally numb, have a lot of emotional flooding or isolate ourselves after a traumatic event.  Everyone handles it differently.

“After a traumatic event a person can either try to cope using negative methods or learn to cope successfully and enhance their ability to cope in the future”

If you have suffered a traumatic loss and/or have a number of the vulnerability factors (above) you may be more at risk and more likely to develop hoarding behaviours.

Although the underlying causes as to why someone ends up with difficulties with chronic disorganization are still unclear, after a traumatic event or incident, compulsive shopping, acquiring and difficulty discarding can become a way of coping with those uncomfortable emotions that come from grief and loss.

Shopping is one way that we try to soothe our emotions

It is very beneficial to understand why you struggle with these issues and a beginning step to start to make some changes in your life. Here is a link to a previous post with more information about looking at your own Personal Clutter Model.

Next post: What to look for in a Support/Mental Health Worker/Professional Organizer considering a Trauma Informed Approach. Please comment if this post resonates with you or join the Confidential Facebook Group for more support at

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Happy Spring Clearing: Physical and Emotional Clutter

Spring is in the air

It’s that time of year again when we feel motivated to clear out the physical and emotional clutter that has been holding us back and make some changes in our lives.  The birds are singing and spring is in the air.  

The weather is changing and warming up which allows us to open windows, feel and smell the fresh air, watch the new growth sprouting out of the ground and witness the first new buds on the trees.  It’s a good time to get serious about organizing and clearing out. The sun feels so much stronger now which makes everyone feel better and hopefully inspires you to get moving.   

How do we move the physical clutter and what happens when we do?  What about the emotional clutter that tends to come up?

For some hands on ideas for spring cleaning/clearing check out this blog post

Perhaps you find the idea of clearing out more appealing than actually doing the work. If so, you are not alone.   There are a lot of reasons why it is difficult to let go of our stuff aka clutter.  Getting started is usually half the battle.  If you are avoiding dealing with the clutter then it might be helpful to actually sit with your clutter and really look at what comes up for you. What is the resistance to doing this work?  You could try writing about your feelings and see what is coming up for you.  It might feel like you are not doing anything but this is a really great way to get started especially if you are feeling stuck. This helps you to start to take some control and to have power over your belongings and your space.

Physical and Emotional Clutter go together!!

While it is easier to see the physical clutter, if you move it without being conscious about your feelings and not paying attention to what might be underneath it, likely you will just re-acquire and end up back in the same place again. When we look a little deeper we might find there is emotional clutter as well. The clutter can very well be emotional baggage and unfinished business.   Do you have old files from a previous career, love letters or cards from an ex-partner, a wedding dress from a failed marriage, books about dreams that you once had, clothing from a happier time or a time when you were a lot slimmer, or projects that are unfinished? (When I was involved in a quilting group in the past we called these UFO’s Unfinished Objects).   These are all areas that can keep us emotionally stuck in our lives.  Clutter can be giving us a message that we do not want to or cannot move forward.

Messages like:

“I will be able to wear this when I lose 10 pounds” (someday in the future but for now looking at those clothes can make me feel bad about myself)

“I am afraid to try to meet someone and start a new relationship” (because I am sad and still thinking and dwelling on the past relationship)

“I spent a lot of money on this so I cannot let it go” (I will hang on to this even though I don’t love, want or need it and it is taking up valuable space that could be used for something else)

“Someday, I will fix, sew, sell this” (again, someday in the future but realistically am I really going to do this)

“I will not be able to clean this mess up, so why bother trying” (a good excuse to not even start and an easy out in some ways)

“I would like to have company over but cannot because of the mess” (relationships are tough and I have been hurt in the past so it is easier to not have people over)

“I am keeping these books because one day I will read them and then I will be able to get more organized” (my books offer me the promise of making things better but in the meantime they are taking up space and causing me to feel bad because I haven’t read them or actually done any of the work or followed up)

Can you see how some of these thought processes can hold you back and how they protect you from actually pursuing your dreams?

declutter your life pic

Happy Spring Clearing Everyone

What is your clutter saying about you? How is it protecting you from moving forward?  Would love to hear from you.  Please comment below…..

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, Inspiration, space clearing | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Create the Space that you Want

This picture is from The Hive in London and was the inspiration for this post.

What would you do with this space? With this room? If the clutter was gone?

How do you decide what goes into your space?

Where does your inspiration come from?

What would you like to see in your space?

I know these are really tough questions. It can be hard to know what we want for ourselves and if you are overwhelmed with clutter it can feel almost impossible. How can you actually get your space to look like how you might envision it in your head? Having a vision for how you want your space to look is certainly a good place to start.

Some ideas and inspiration that might help:

  • What do you want to do in this room? Think about what activities you would like to do here? What is the function for this space?
  • How do you want to feel in this room? Feelings like calm, peaceful, relaxed, loved, respected, connected with others, proud…….
  • What do you not want in this space? Maybe, you don’t want any clutter in this space or anything that doesn’t relate to the two points above.
  • If you are stuck around a design/theme for your room……think about how certain colours make you feel. Do you have a favourite picture that you can use as your inspiration? Perhaps you can pull out a colour and add a splash here and there around the room.

It can be challenging to think about what you can do in your space. It can take a lot of time. Perhaps, there is a lot of stuff to clear out which can be quite the process. I just had lunch with a friend yesterday who has been semi-retired now for over a year and she talked about how she is just now thinking about what she can do in her basement. It continues to be a process for her as she slowly works on making this space hers. So, it might not happen quickly but working on small steps will get you to where you want to be.

Looking for more inspiration on how to create the vision that you want for your home and your life. Check out this post!

I hope this inspires you to create the space you want for yourself in your home. If you would like more inspiration and accountability please join the Closed Declutter Your Life and Mind Facebook Group

Do you have dreams of what you can do with a specific space in your home? What is stopping you from actualizing your dream?

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How to Have More Clarity and Trust Your Intuition

Take the time for yourself. YOU are worth it!

My word for this year is clarity. Clarity for me means knowing what my vision is for my life and knowing what I want to focus my energy on. I can easily feel overwhelmed and “all over the map” not paying attention to my intuition. I know that I need to figure out what my path is and how to actualize it.

  1. Spending time alone! Doing activities that are quiet and help you to look within. The answers are there already if we are open to listening. Some ideas that might be helpful are having a daily practice of yoga, walking or any kind of physical activity that gets your body moving, daily meditation even just starting with five minutes per day, paying attention while having a shower or on your drive into work just noticing what comes up for you.
  2. Journaling!  Getting your thoughts down on paper really helps with getting them out of your head. It allows your inner self to have a voice. It can help with feeling more aligned with your emotions and in touch with your feelings. Write down your goals, look at them often and see what fits and what doesn’t. Morning pages can be helpful too! Automatic writing which just means writing whatever comes with no judgement just letting it flow and you might just surprise yourself. Inspired by The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  3. Visualization! Listening to visualization exercises about your dreams and visions, setting intentions, re-setting are all good practices to help you to get more clarity. I recommend checking out Sarah Prout who is all about setting intentions, creating abundance and everything Law of Attraction.
  4. Declutter Your Life and Mind!  You didn’t think I would leave that out, did you? Whenever, you are trying to get clear, its a good idea to work on decluttering any or all areas of your life and mind (meaning physical and emotional clutter). This clutter can really get in the way of our attempts to move forward in our lives and to really manifest what we truly want.

For more inspiration and accountability join us in the Closed and Confidential Facebook Group at

What do you do for yourself to have more clarity and to trust your intuition in your life? Do you have a word for this year? Would love to hear from you…….

Posted in chronic disorganization, De-Clutter Your Life, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration, Organizing | 12 Comments

Vision Quest for 2019

For the past few years I have gotten together with friends to work on our Vision Quest (Vision Boards) for the year.  We always do this in early January as it is a great time to reset and to envision what we want for the year.  It is also just fun to get together with friends, catch up and have some lovely snacks. We plan to get together again halfway through the year to see where everyone is at and to visit with each other.

As most of you know, I retired from my full time job with CMHA at the end of December 2018. I was so surprised to see this on my Vision Board from 2018. I had no plan to retire and in fact was planning to work for two more years.

Vision Boards are So Powerful!!

Vision Boards are not for everyone. It can be a bit overwhelming to think about what you want to have on your board and what you want for your life. Some big questions for sure. It can be helpful to do some work on this before getting together to start the work of putting your board together.

It can be really important to be grounded before doing this work with a meditation or smudging with sage as it is good to be in the right mindset.  It is good to have a focus and perhaps to narrow it down to a few areas in your life. It could be Work, Relationships, Family, Personal Growth for example.

This year I worked on both sides of my Board. The first side is the personal aspect of myself and what I want to work on and the second is the work I want to do. As you can see it is a work in process.

Personal Vision Board 2019
Future Work Plans 2019

Our visions and intentions for what we want will change over time and we are always a work in process. I really love the flow of this and believe that where our attention goes is what will grow for us. Writing down your goals and looking at them everyday is something that will help you to be able to make the changes in your life that will help you to move forward.

If you would like more inspiration to make space for you and to declutter your life and mind please join my closed facebook group at

Have you had experiences or success with making your own Vision Board? Would love to hear from you?

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The First Day of the Rest of My Life

January, 2, 2019

Sounds a bit dramatic but today is the first actual day that I don’t have to go to work.  After more than thirty seven years working in mental health, I knew it was time to make a change.  I have to admit, I am feeling a little lost but I am sure that is to be expected and I know it will be short lived.  Change is good!

There are so many things on my to do list that I easily can feel all over the map not knowing what to do or where to start.  My worry is that I might just want to hang out at home, nestle in, hibernate, clean the house, declutter, change things around, read books, cook nice food, do crafts, take naps, watch Netflix.  Well, I am sure I will still be able to do all of those things and more.  I really was doing mostly all of those things before and still working full time.  

But now, I have the gift of TIME.  Something I have craved for so long.  And I do realize that I will need a plan or I will just be only engaging in those activities above.  My focus needs to be on me and I really need to start to listen to my intuition about what is next.  I feel that I have been so much in my own head with my work, so busy, seeing one client after another who were often in crisis that it was difficult to come home and change gears.  The work can be emotionally exhausting and its hard to focus on anything else at the end of the day.

My first plan is to try to take things slowly, relax somewhat, get more physical with yoga and walking, have a meditation practice, take time to listen and trust my own intuition and figure out what is next for me.  I do know that my work is not done yet.

You will be happy to hear that I will be continuing with the Clearing Clutter Support Group that I initiated and is run through the Canadian Mental Health Association.  I am so excited about this as it is my passion and I want to continue in this work helping others to have more space and clarity in their lives.  

About This Blog

I am unsure about continuing.  Maybe, its time for a new start.  I know that quite a number of people read it and I do have some followers, however, I get so few comments (thank you and a big shout out to the Professionals Organizers who always comment Woohoo!)  I am just not sure what kind of an impact I am making and I really want to be using my time wisely.  If you follow me please let me know what you think and/or what would be helpful to you in your decluttering journey.  You can contact me privately if you wish at

So yes, I do feel that this is a new chapter for me and I am so excited for today and what is to come.

Thank you as always for following along.  Happy Decluttering!

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Redefine Your Relationship to Your Stuff

Does your stuff tell the story of who you are?  Does your identity depend on your past accomplishments, memories from the past or stuff that is in your home and possibly taking up valuable real estate?  Does your clutter protect you from getting out, taking risks and living your life?

Identity With our Stuff

Books:  Textbooks from attending school in the past might speak to our intelligence. Books that we have read give us happy memories of wishes or dreams of how things could be. Books in general on our bookshelf show others that we are well read. Self help books not read offer us the promise of a future self who will have it all together once this book is read and the steps are followed.

Art Supplies: Do you see yourself as an amazing artist or a historian ie: scrapbooker but you just continue to acquire items as opposed to actually doing the projects

Attachments to Stuff 

Clothing:  Clothes that no longer fit or remind us of happier times we cannot let go of.  Or the hope for the future that we will lose/gain weight in order to fit into those clothes again.  

Baby Clothes:  Tiny baby items that reminds us of when our children were young.  That time is really so fleeting.  It goes by in a blink of the eye.  The memories are priceless and sometimes those cute little outfits are just too hard to let go of. 

Unfinished Projects:  If you look at the definition of clutter this is one of the things listed.  UFO’s (Unfinished Objects) can be about the dreams for the future.  “Someday……. I will fix this, finish this”.  If you have a plan to finish the project in a defined amount of time, great, otherwise it’s just clutter taking up space.  It is negative energy that reminds us of what we think we “should” be doing.  Don’t “should on yourself”. 

Sentimental Objects:  Memories from the past, items from family members that have passed and things that remind us of happier times can be some of the most difficult to let go of.  I am not saying to let go of everything. It becomes a problem when there is “too much”.  Perhaps you are in a position to choose the best of the best or just a few things to keep the memories.  Remember the memories of others are inside of you…..inside your heart.  

Relationship to our Stuff

Relationlships:  How does your clutter in general affect you?  Perhaps it feels very comforting and safe, like a little nest that you have created for yourself.  You have things around you that you love and this feels like your happy and safe place.  There is nothing wrong with this at all.  However……..sometimes we create a space where we know we don’t want others to come in.  This can be a way to keep relationships out of our lives.  When one has been hurt in a relationship it can feel pretty scary to think about letting a new person in. So it feels like our stuff can replace a relationship.  Our stuff is not going to hurt us like a relationship could. 

Gifts from others:  Gifts come with good intentions from others.  Once in our hands, it no longer belongs to the person who gave it to you.  It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it.   If you don’t love it or use it, maybe it has served its purpose and it is time to let it go. 

Items we have spent a lot of money on:  I hear this a lot.  I paid so much money for that, I just can’t donate it.  It is worth a lot of money and I could get a little cash for it.  If you can do the Kijijji thing or other online avenues and it is worth your time and energy, I say go for it.  In my work I hear that a lot of individuals do not have access to a computer or the knowledge on how to do it.  You could always ask for help though.  

Can you see yourself with any of these attachments to your stuff?

I am sure there are a lot of other factors that contribute to our relationship with our stuff.  It can be very complex.  Please let me know your thoughts about how you relate to your stuff?  I always love to hear from you.  Happy Decluttering!!

Would you like more inspiration and motivation ideas from others?  Please join the Declutter Your Life and Mind Facebook Group at


Posted in De-Clutter Your Life, decluttering, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration, mental health | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Emotional Responses to Your Stuff

When you think about your stuff what kinds of emotions come up?

If you struggle somewhat with your stuff you may think of negative emotions right away. They may include feelings of fear and anxiety, grief and loss, sadness, guilt and anger or perhaps just feeling overwhelmed with it all. Some of these feelings may come up when you are handling your possessions, you are thinking about where to put items, you are looking at the clutter or thinking about how to organize or discard items.


There are also positive emotions like pleasure, comfort, safety or satisfaction. For example, finding a lost treasure, (ie: something that has been missing for awhile) finding a found treasure (ie: at a thrift shop), finding a bargain, giving something away to someone who will enjoy it or even donating to a worthy cause.

I like to use the example of finding an amazing treasure at a thrift shop, feeling like you are on a high, bringing it home and then thinking “where will I put this” or looking at your finances and thinking “oh no, now what will I do for groceries for the rest of the month?”

Both the negative and positive emotions can keep us stuck in the cycle of acquiring stuff, moving stuff around aka churning (as opposed to finding a home for the item or letting it go) and difficulty discarding.  It often is about the avoidance of the uncomfortable feelings associated with taking these steps to make change.

Would you like to dive deeper? Would you like to start making some progress on decluttering and organizing your home?  We will be looking at what is underneath the clutter, emotions and feelings that come up, attachments to items, and thoughts and actions that follow.

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Please add any comments, questions, etc. Also, I would love it if you can share with a friend who might benefit from this. Thank you so much for following along.

Posted in acquiring items, chronic disorganization, compulsive acquiring, De-Clutter Your Life, difficulty Discarding, Emotional Clutter, Inspiration, mental health, Organizing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments