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Guest Blog: Clutter – it’s not just the stuff!

By Liz Gresson

Do you recognise any of the following?

  • Commitments you’ve taken on and now resent?

  • Too much time watching rubbish television?

  • Wasting time on social media?

  • An overflowing inbox?

  • People who add nothing good to your life?

Clutter and too many calls on your time are robbing your life of its potential. They do it in the same way that weeds in your garden crowd out the plants that you value.

Letting go of stuff or obligations creates more space and freedom in our lives. As a result,

the important things emerge and have room to flourish. Time to spend with family and

friends. Time for ourselves, to read, to get out into nature, to travel, to exercise.

Some of these things can be deep-rooted and we may have never questioned why they’re in

our lives. It can take time and effort to remove them, but it will be worth it in the end.

How I deal with the life clutter:

  • Commitments I’ve taken on and now resent

Many of us find it hard to say no. We want to be seen as good people. Sometimes we

take on commitments from a sense of guilt or an over-developed sense of responsibility.

Then the resentment creeps in.

These days, when I’m asked to commit to something, I start by asking myself if I really

want to do it. Rather than give a snap response, I use phrases like, “Let me think about it

and get back to you”. If I definitely don’t want to do it, I’ll remember that “No” is a

complete sentence. I can soften it by saying, “No, that wouldn’t work for me”.

When I do take on something, I will be specific about the degree of commitment I’m

prepared to offer; for instance for a certain period of time, on a specified number of

occasions, at a particular level.

I’ll also think about my exit strategy – how I can leave the commitment gracefully with

no hard feelings and no loose ends.

  • Too much time watching rubbish television

It’s all too easy to come home and de-stress by turning on some trivial TV. Sometimes I

do jobs like sorting paper in front of the television. However, I know that too much of it

just drains my energy and wastes my valuable time. I now put a strict time limit on how

much I watch.

  • Wasting time on social media

It’s very tempting to join lots of Facebook groups around your interests or to network or

promote your business. However, it can take up a lot of time without being very

productive. I review the groups I belong to on a regular basis and leave them if I find I’m not getting anything from them.

  • An overflowing inbox

How often do we sign up for newsletters from sites we’ve found on social media?

Then they start coming in every day and they’re not as relevant as the one which

made us sign up. I go through my inbox once a week, just as I do with my

paperwork. I delete most of what’s there and unsubscribe from anything that I’m

not reading regularly.

  • Relationships which have run their course

This is similar to commitments above. There is often an element of guilt around keeping

in contact with people from the past even when our lives have taken different directions

and we have very little in common anymore. Sometimes we get involved with people

who start out by seeming to be good for us, but as time goes on, we realise that we’re

getting nothing from the relationship – we’re the ones putting all the effort in and they

just drain us with their negativity. With people like this, I stop being the one to reach

out. I start turning down invitations so that the meetings become fewer and fewer.

When they call, I refuse to get drawn into their issues when they just want to unload on


I’ve come to realise that letting go of friendships that aren’t working for me is doing a

favour to the other person too. As well as creating space in my own life, I’m giving them

space in theirs to find someone who is a better match for them.

Our lives are precious. Let’s not waste them by giving room to the stuff that doesn’t

contribute to our own well-being.


About the Author: Liz Gresson

Liz, a.k.a All Organised For You, is an organiser and de-clutterer who helps people free up their lives by clearing the clutter and staying clutter-free.  She provides strategies to help simplify life and to purchase less and waste less. Her mantra is keep it simple.

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