Cluttered Life – Cluttered Mind

8 01 2011

One of the challenges of open plan living is the requirement to be ultra tidy and organised. When my surroundings are free of clutter and everything is in its place, my life just seems to flow. Like the beautiful river outside my window, I am free to follow the twists and turns of my life’s journey.

However, things can quickly and easily get out of flow. Just preparing a meal can cause chaos in such a small space. It never ceases to amaze me how the preparation of the simplest dish can create such a mess.

And mess is something that I cannot ignore, particularly as I am unable to close a door on it and pretend it isn’t there. Even if I could, the clutter would still be there and it would play on my mind until I cleared it up.

My home is so tiny that I have to be pretty disciplined to stay on top of any accumulating clutter otherwise my life very quickly becomes chaotic and out of control.

My previous work as a House Doctor involved working with home owners who were trying to sell their property. Their homes weren’t selling and they were getting desperate to know the reasons why.

There were usually a number of reasons why this was the case and I was able to help them to view their homes through the eyes of a prospective buyer. This process helped us to identify the key areas for improvement and with some simple, cost effective changes; their homes became much more appealing to their target market.

However; it quickly became apparent that very often the main reason why their property hadn’t sold wasn’t just because of the way it looked, but the way it felt. Despite their assurances to the contrary; on an unconscious level, they just weren’t emotionally ready to let go of their homes and move on.

Invariably this reluctance was manifesting in piles of clutter around the home giving me the first clue as to why their lives had begun to stagnate and their property was ‘stuck’ on the market. The clutter was not only putting off prospective buyers who were unable to see past the mess; it was also symbolic of their lack of commitment to making the next move. Often this reluctance was being fuelled by a fear of the future and of having to face letting go of memories and emotional attachment to their homes.

At this stage I became their ‘counsellor’ as we started working through these fears. Thankfully I had trained in this area many years ago and I was able to put my counselling/coaching skills to good use. Once we’d indentified the blocks and begun to work on releasing their fears, we could then begin physically removing the clutter; a very powerful and therapeutic process. By freeing up their physical space the ‘stuck energy’ around the home began to shift, their minds were free of clutter and they could begin visualising a happier future in a new home.

Once the internal and external clutter had shifted…’as within – so without’… positive energy began to flow again and a quick sale usually followed!

I had been through a similar process myself in 2005 and was able to relate to some of my clients’ fears. My life just wasn’t working at that time and I knew I had to make some big changes.  I knew the reasons why…I just didn’t know what to do…or how to do it. I’d been living in a very pretty country cottage for nearly ten years during which time I had collected piles and piles of ‘stuff’. My life was definitely ‘stuck’ – in all areas.

Then completely out of the blue, I was offered a job working for an interior design company based in the Middle East…and was given less than two weeks to sort my life out and get on a plane to Dubai where my new job, a different culture and a completely new life would be waiting for me. 14 days to clear out my home and say my goodbyes to friends and family was quite a tall order and looking back I don’t know how I did it in such a short space of time. My desire for change must have been even stronger than I had realised!

With no time to think about any resistance to letting go, I had what seemed like a split second to choose between accepting a great opportunity to do something different with my life or to remain stuck. With such a tight deadline, I decided to give away all but my most treasured possessions, moving these to my parent’s home for safe keeping. It was a crazy couple of weeks and I was exhausted by the time I got on that plane. But the overwhelming feeling was one of freedom and it felt wonderful to have cleared my life of the baggage and clutter that had held me back for years.

Eventually, the novelty of travelling light began to fade and after five years of moving house every few months, I felt the nesting instinct coming on again and I set the intention of attracting my little riverside pad. We all need balance in our lives and having a place to call ‘home’ gives us stability and a safe haven.

As I’d given away all my stuff when I began my Middle East odyssey, I was able to furnish my new home from scratch. In many ways this was a real blessing as I was able to buy just what I needed and to surround myself with objects that would bring me pleasure.

At my age it is rare to be able start again with a clean slate as invariably we carry around the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated from early adulthood. House to house; relationship to relationship; and very often generation to generation; no wonder we can feel bogged down with carrying so much baggage. There is certainly something very liberating about fresh starts and new beginnings.

Day 8 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate the joys of living an uncluttered life!





4 responses

9 01 2011
Jean Paul

Lovely story Julie. When you said House Doctor a picture sprang into my mind – did we meet at Berkshire Property Meet? I remember an attractive House Doctor – it must have been you, surely?

And by the way – your link to the old site doesn’t work. It’s as if you were trying to make it a referral link, but it gives a 404 error. Take the wordpress bit off the front.


9 01 2011
1961 Girl

Thanks JP. I have to confess to not checking the link. I will take a look now and see if I can amend this. The correct link is: Hopefully, this will work. And no, I don’t remember going to the Berkshire Property Meet although I used to attend lots of property meetings in central London. Have a great weekend. Julie

9 01 2011
L M Bland

Another good blog. Well written with a simple helpful message.
Thank you

9 01 2011
1961 Girl

Thank you. Clearing our ‘stuff’ goes a lot way to heping us get our lives back into balance. Glad you like the message.

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