This month’s question is from one of our readers named Jody:
Question: Jessica, after many years of denial, my wife and I have agreed it is time to take action and totally remove clutter, organize every room, paint and add things like shelves where needed. The job is overwhelming but we are ready.
How we break it down is my question. Do you think it is best do either take one room at a time and finish it with the painting and shelves, or to remove the clutter and organize the whole house (one room at a time) and then do the painting and shelves?
Greetings, Jody, I have a feeling that a lot of people are in the same predicament as you find yourself: they simply do not know where to start a large project. In fact, those are the exact words that people usually say to me when they call for help!
When anyone thinks of tackling something like “organizing the whole house”, there often comes a wave or a wall of resistance, which shows up in a variety of ways.
* distraction: often a crisis or a new urgent issue will ‘suddenly’ present itself in order to take your mind away from the original task.
* overwhelm: You may find yourself feeling so emotionally overwhelmed that you can’t even think about starting.
* over-thinking: Often people spend so much time planning, strategizing, calculating, figuring out the whole thing, they never actually get started. The start date gets put off so many times the original impetus dies and the project gets shelved indefinitely.
*resentment, fighting, irritation: Suddenly, your beloved partner becomes the most awful person alive and you can’t seem to agree about anything, much less tackle an organizing project together! This is just your resistance talking. If you can recognize it for what it is and laugh it away, you will find your sweet husband again.
*fear, anxiety, dread: Sometimes you just can’t even get out of bed, how are you going to declutter?
Does any of this sound familiar?
These tactics are just a short list of the creative ways people find to procrastinate something they know is probably gonna hurt inside. The reason most people put off organizing is fear of discovering what is underneath the clutter. It sounds to me like you are excited, ready and willing to face what comes up—good for you! Just make sure to build in some emotional release time, for when it’s time to face those papers, or clothes or memorabilia that have been keeping you back.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do the project, what I would suggest is that you get started.
If it were my project, I would declutter everything first, room by room, that way, you are on a roll of letting go and it keeps getting easier and more exciting as you go. You may want to rent a dumpster for a few days to inspire your letting go frenzy.
With any large project, you want to capitalize on momentum and make sure you keep your spirits and energy up, otherwise you can hit the wall and come to a standstill. When that happens, start talking. Start digging deep inside, you have reached a beautiful doorway into your inner life, so if you can, take the chance to let go on every level. It is so amazing how once you declutter your heart and soul, magic and light and passion and spirit has room to blossom in your life in a new way. It is a rebirth, I have seen it again and again.
Back on task: once the rooms are empty of clutter, you will experience something delightful…space. Breathing room. Energy flowing freely, giving life to your surroundings and what is in them. I know this sounds poetic, but honestly, it’s what happens! Suddenly, your clothes feel new, once the ill-fitting and shabby ones are gone, the food in your pantry tastes better, because it is not crammed unconsciously on the shelves. Your artwork and furniture have a new life, once the unloved pieces are gone and you’ve taken time to really thoughtfully choose where to put what is left. What is happening here is you are making room for God in your home, the results are transformative.
So, one important question: how can you tell if something is clutter or not?
I would say for most things, you can easily tell: if it has dead, lifeless energy, toss it! Don’t wonder if you may need it some day, or linger in the guilt of how much it cost, or what if the person who gave it to you asks you where it is. These are ways we keep ourselves stuck forever in an environment that owns US. What you are courageously doing is creating a space for yourself and your family that enlivens you, nurtures you and inspires you.
Here is what you can ask yourself while holding the item in question: does this inspire me, or drain me? (I recently had a 5 day transformation job in Connecticut with a woman who teased me all week about how she could hear my voice in her head asking, “Do I LOVE it? Do I LOVE it?”) Well… do you?
Most people move into a home in a hurry to unpack and normalize their routine. Because there was not a lot of consciousness in the process, that unconsciousness remains after the packing boxes are gone. Over time, things get tossed and dropped and shoved and stuffed into available space without thought of their effect on you.
Now, you are like a great artist with a blank canvas. You have removed the obstacles that block your creative spirit. You have the energy and freedom to redefine your home to reflect who you are now. You can paint, rearrange furniture, buy new things that are more aligned with where you are going and what you need. Think of this as the most important thing you can do for yourself right now. You must be on your way to something big, because the way is being cleared for you to really show up!
By the way, I would love to see before and after photos and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
Remember, I am on your team!
..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
((¸¸.·´ ..·´ Jessica -:¦:-
Jessica Duquette from
It’s Not About Your Stuff