Outer Order, Inner Peace: De-clutter

Last night, my daughter Camille and I had a girls night-out. We went to my favorite vintage store in Coconut Grove, Sale Rack, they were celebrating their fourth anniversary. It was a complete success: we drank, ate, conversed with new friends and shopped!! When we were leaving, Allison, the owner, told us: “Ladies, remember to empty your closets!!!”. Of, course, she meant that we should look through our closets, decide what we’ll keep and what we’ll toss. She will be more than happy to buy what we don’t want……yeah!

I have been de-cluttering for ages. In my opinion, this exercise is life affirming, addictive and necessary. It helps you feel in control more than anything. As in everything in life, there are different kinds of de-clutter. The easiest, in a way, is  getting rid of physical objects. I follow the three adjectives formula: useful, beautiful and loved. Each category is carefully considered before making a decision. I can get tangled in sentimental wanderings and end up with more than I want or can keep. So a bit of ruthlessness is called for.

First things that need a good look-over are those you have accumulated throughout the years. I don’t know about you, but for years I collected things. Adding small boxes, small houses, silver miniatures, until I needed a special display to stored them. There were things, as you can see, without any practical use, except that I loved them. Now, how much did that matter? was it necessary to just accumulate and store? They are now in boxes, somewhere in storage. Need to go over them and toss. One thing is for sure: nowadays I use this simple rule of thumb: if you buy one, toss one. You’ll think twice when buying something you do not need. It’s worked so far.

When I moved, and I have done my share of that, I try to get rid of whatever I feel  would not be needed in my new place. Unfortunately, here I come against sentimentality. Should I keep my children’s favorite toys, books, baby clothes? I have been ruthless, but I still have a few of boxes. With a bit of force, I have told my children that once they have a big house of their own…they have to take all this! We’ll see…..I don’t think they take me seriously!!!

Now, clutter is not only the physical things we cherish. Clutter is also emotional: toxic friendships, loose ends, unfinished projects. We cannot and should not forget these. They clutter our lives and rob us of precious time we could use to work on our passions. Here I come against guilt. We want to, but we don’t want the tangled mess we can get into. You know exactly what I am talking about, don’t you? Guilt makes us keep this emotional clutter……Need to let go of that guilty. Really…

Since Camille returned from London, I have been on a de-cluttering mood. Every week or so, I go through my closet, kitchen cabinets, boxes. I give away to charity what I don’t want, I throw out stuff that is not longer usable. I now will take to Allison everything that is in good condition and see what she has to offer. If she doesn’t buy something, she will ask you to donate it to a shelter for abused women. Can’t think of a better place for my pretty things to go!!!

One final thought: clutter blocks the flow of energy into our homes and into our lives. Cleaner and uncluttered surroundings boost our mood. Cleaner and uncluttered  emotional state boost our happiness. So, toss and make space for magic to happen in your life!!!

P.S. Trust me, if you live in Miami or are visiting….you are going to love this place!!


Sale Rack

6 Replies to “Outer Order, Inner Peace: De-clutter”

  1. Querida Mercedes,

    Thanks for your blog and insights!

    This last weekend I had a cousin from the US visiting and we had a reunion at my house with the cousins living in NL. It was one of those typical family gatherings with lots of food, childhood memories and of course…family gossip. Our grandmothers would have been proud :-).
    It was ‘funny’ to hear the similarities in our upbringings even though we all grew up in different countries.
    Out of all the stories 2 ‘themes’ stood out. Food on no.1, and family feuds, especially around funerals, on no.2. It almost seems like a tradition. And these feuds last for years!! Our generation wonders why?! Some of our family members are still angry with people, loved ones, who passed away 20 years ago! I kept thinking; what a waste of energy, so much anger, negativity, CLUTTER! I find it so sad that people let this kind of negative emotions rule their lives and are not able (or not willing) to let go. It seems more important for them to be ‘right’ than to be ‘happy’.
    It’s not easy to get rid of this kind of clutter, I’ll be the first to admit. But when you ask yourself what’s more important to ME? To be HAPPY or to stay stuck in righteousness? What would you choose? TOSS conflicts, TOSS anger, take control and responsibility and ask yourself ‘what can I do to change the situation’. It really adds more value and joy to our lives and gets rid of a lot of stress!(TOSS stress!!)

    1. You are welcome, Valery!! I am enjoying myself and getting things off my chest. I already feel lighter and happier knowing I am making a small difference.
      You are right: emotional clutter can make us unreasonable. When we refuse to deal with it, no matter how “right” we are, we cannot be HAPPY. Tossing is the only answer, we must keep trying. The reward is bliss!!

  2. Hi Camille – hope you are enjoying Florida & visiting with your Mom!

    How do you come up with such truths, Mercedes? It is that time of year when decluttering the closet is a great exercise. I have filled several bags for donation but still hold on to certain outfits that I “hope to wear again some day”! Decluttering mentally is just as important as the physical decluttering – I’ve gotten to the point where I realize I cannot fix the world’s or anyone else’s problems. I am responsible for my own actions – not others.

    1. Camille says hi…she has moved back to the US. I am enjoying her so much!
      These are truths I have slowly come to accept and incorporate into my life. Now I am sharing them, trying to help others. My de-cluttering is a never ending task. Anything is an excuse to give away or throw away. Now I have found this wonderful place that buys my clothes. There is also a book-exchange place where I can take my books and get new ones! Emotional and mental clutter is another story because we tend to ignore it…..until it is right in our faces. Your approach is very good. We can only change ourselves, solve our problems and be responsible for our actions…….everyone else is on his/hers own!

    1. Thanks, Irene! I am enjoying this blog. Feels good to be able to share what I have learned, at the same time it helps me to continue learning.
      Yes, Camille has been back for about 10 months. We are so happy…..

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