You may think it odd that I would bring up the subject of Clutter. I mean, what does clutter have to do with your checkbook, anyway? A lot more than you realize. It is the clutter in your closets, drawers and rooms that is keeping you from living the simple life. Yes, it is true! As weird as it may seem the connection does exist between the two, finances and clutter.
Here is the deal. In order for Life to gift you with the resources, money and opportunities that you want, you first have to have room for them. You may be saying to me right now, “Hey, Janine, I’ve got PLENTY of room in my checking account for an extra few thousand dollars right now! Where is it?” As I chuckle at your all too appropriate request, I also know that the problem is not the low balance in your check book; it is the over stuffed closet next to your bedroom.
Americans, Canadians and Britons on average buy more stuff than they have room. The quantity of You-Store-It warehouses is testimony to that! It is a problem of our capitalistic economies. It is very easy for us to “get” stuff. It is easily accessible and for the most part we pay less for “stuff” than most of the world. Because of this cargo and our high standards of living, we have a tendency to really get ourselves over stuffed on “things.”
When you start out to create your financial plan I ask you this question, What do you really want out of life? Once this question has been answered people tell me what amazing transformations occur. They stop impulse buying, their expenses drop almost magically and they realize that many of the shopping habits they had in the past were due to their lack of understanding. They didn’t know what they really wanted in life so they fixed their lives by buying more stuff!
Well, you now have an opportunity to align your home as well as your finances. In order to have space and time to take the opportunities that will come to you as you lower your debt and become more financially stable, you now need to purge your home of its unnecessary stuff! Does this cause you to recoil! Do you suddenly start to hyperventilate and feel yourself hugging your precious stuff in fear that Janine is going to make you give up something priceless? Look closely at yourself and your emotions during this trip of thinning your things. You know you have more stuff in your life than you can possibly use. Why do you hang onto it? Why do you allow it to take up your time, money and energy as you move it, store it and haul it around? It is crazy! Does this stuff love you? Then why do you love it back?
Here is a quick list of things to do over the weekend to get you started on your decluttering campaign.
1) Start Small. Don’t tackle a HUGE project like the garage right off the bat. Do something really easy, like, your wallet or purse. Dump everything out of it onto the table and throw away, put away or file all the little pieces of paper that you’ve been carrying around for weeks. Then decide what REALLY needs to go back into the purse or wallet and return them. Isn’t that wonderful! Don’t you already feel like you’ve lost weight? Don’t you feel lighter on your toes? I mean, you can actually sit down now with your wallet in your back pocket, right? When was the last time that happened?
2) Check Out the Medicine Cabinet. After you’ve finished with your purse or wallet and now have a sense of accomplishment move on to the next item. The bathroom medicine cabinet. This is a small enclosed space that will take you very little time. Even if this is the first time in 5 years that you’ve actually cleaned it out. Take all the items out of the cabinet and decide which ones really belong in there. I mean, do you really want that old razor to continue sitting on shelf #2 leaving a rust mark? Look at all the medicines you have in there. Are the expired? If they are, pitch them in the trash. Don’t let them take up any more space! They’ve served there time in your washroom, throw them out!
3) What’s Under the Sink? Dig out all the stuff that is under your sink in your bathroom. This place is usually loaded with 15 bars of travelers soap and itty, bitty bottles of shampoo that have never been used along with mounds and mounds of out dated cleaners, dispensers and soap dishes. I mean, really, do you need that electric blue eye shadow that you used in the 70s? No kidding, I had a client once tell me that she found 5 different bottles of foundation that she never used. Throw it out!
4) Time to Clear the Closet. Whatever you do don’t attack the biggest one first. If you haven’t cleaned out the master closet since you moved in, wait on that one. Do the smaller ones first. Get some successes behind you and have the adrenalin rush working for you before you move on. Pull out everything in the closet and lay it out on the floor. You will be amazed at what you find no matter how small the closet is. I continually startle myself with the amount of “stuff” I can pack into small spaces.
I think you have the idea now. You start to declutter your abode by working with manageable tasks and then moving to the bigger ones. When you decide that it is time to get more space in your life start small and work up. Eventually you will be able to take each evening for a week to declutter the garage. It is amazing how fanatical you become as you move from closet to closet. As you find the 6th pair of leather gloves and vacuum parts from an appliance you haven’t owned in 15 years. Have no fear or hesitation. Pitch it in the trash, give it to a thrift store or find a friend who can use it. The main point here is to remove it from your house!
After you’ve taken a weekend to start this process, you may want to then consider moving to different rooms of the house for decluttering. Try attacking the kitchen. Do you need 4 pancake turners, 3 coffee makers (2 by the way are broken) and 6 bread pans when you only use 2 at a time? Figure out what it is you truly need and then make room for it by removing the rest from your home.
I highly recommend that you read a book by Don Aslett. It is called, Clutter Free! Finally and Forever. By reading Don’s books, I have lost my pack rat heritage and I now purge my house once every six months to unload it of all the stuff that has accumulated from the last throw out. It is amazing what finds its way into your home.
How does this work in your favor for cash coming into your life? Well, you now know what it is you want out of life, you have cleared out all the items in your world that don’t serve you (husbands and children excepted, just joshing folks!) and now you have space in your life for new opportunities and experiences. I have had client after client tell me that as soon as they decluttered their house (for some it took weeks, others months) they were astonished how a yard sale yielded them hundreds of dollars even though no item was over $2. They had more time in their life for their home-based business because they no longer had to find a path through stuff to reach their computers. I have no idea in what way Life will decide to share with you abundance after you’ve made space for it. But the one thing I do know is that you will see a change for the better in your life. I wish you good luck and now, pull out that wallet/backpack/purse and start purging it!