Have You Done The Work To Physically & Mentally Declutter?

a hand hold a pen and writing in a journal

I can picture you doing the happy dance once you have decluttered your home and gotten rid of all the piles of stuff. I hope you are feeling light and proud of yourself because it is a big accomplishment.

What is your maintenance plan to keep your beautiful new space decluttered? If you do not do something different it will only be a matter of time before you will be faced with more piles of stuff staring at you, wondering how in the world this happened again.

The cause

For example, you have run out of space. You have more clothes and accessories, more shoes and boots than Imelda Marcus ever had. So you resolve to get rid of most of the things you have not recently worn, the stained or torn clothes and the clothes that no longer fit you.

You have achieved success, your closet is now in order and you for the first time see space around the clothing you have carefully curated to keep. Done, cross this off the list, right?

Woah, not so fast! What will you do differently to ensure you never have to do this task again? The correct answer is you will change your habits.

Step one, using the example above, is to determine how and why you constantly buy clothes, accessories, shoes, and boots or how they magically appear in your home.

You could spend thousands of dollars by engaging with a therapist. Or you could write your way to the other side of this behavior you wish to change.

By writing about this you will excavate your true feelings around this subject of buying clothing etc. When you are painstakingly honest in your writing you will learn more about yourself than what is behind your clothes-buying habits.


This is the beginning for you. It is common to resist the exercise of writing. Why do I say this? I say this because I resisted writing along with all the people who finally tried writing in all the groups I have facilitated. Some people call this process journaling. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it only matters that you pick up a pen and write.

The common excuses for not writing are:

I don’t know how to write, I am a terrible speller and I don’t do grammar.

I don’t have time.

How can writing work, this is stupid.

My hands hurt!

How do I know this? I used every one of these excuses years ago when I started to write, as do others. The people who start this process of writing often make writing a lifetime, habit. Sometimes the writing habit starts, then stops, and starts again. This is fine, just keep restarting.

Here is my writing process. My first act upon waking is to take my pups out, bring them in, and feed them breakfast. I then pour a cuppa and instead of opening my phone, devices, or laptop, I pick up my cheap worn spiral-bound notebook and pen.

Life happens, the days I have to miss writing during my habitual writing time I either write later in the day or give myself a pass for the day. The thing I do not do is beat myself up.

an open notebook and mint green pencil with the text Your life is as good as your mindset

But I don’t know what to write!

What to write about is easy. I write about whatever pops into my mind. Some days the pen writes ‘I really don’t want to write now, I want to see what is going on in my online platforms! On another day I may write about something distasteful that happened the day before and I remind myself this is a new day.

There are mornings my whole being is bursting with the gift of a new day and I write about this. There used to be days I would write only the words ‘I have nothing to write today’ over and over again until I filled the page.

What did I accomplish by writing this? I accomplished building my discipline skills. Without discipline I could not have supported myself as an artist for 30 years.

I write about why I do, think and feel a certain way about particular things. Sometimes I remind myself that if I want something different I have to try something new. If I keep doing the same old thing I will keep getting the same old results.

Forget about what your English teacher taught you

a graphic image of an older crabby school teacher wearing a blue dress,  writing letters on a blackboard, with a piece of chalk

Sorry Mrs. Mcgillicuddy, we are writing without rules only in this free-form writing context. We will remember always the patiently taught English lessons you gave us.

While writing in this stream-of-consciousness writing style I never worry about my grammar. I am sure I would have a hard time deciphering some of my words if I looked back, which I seldom do.

I call this writing my morning pages, a term coined by Julia Cameron in 1993 in her book The Artist Way. This is where I learned this practice.

The spelling of the words does not matter, since these pages are for my eyes only. The magic will happen despite poor writing skills, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Can’t I use my phone to write?

Sure, you can write however you want. Because I have hand issues and writing can hurt my hands I have tried writing with my keyboard instead of paper and pen. For me, the feeling is very different so I will stick with my pen and paper.

For me, using my keyboard, it is too tempting to leave the page I am writing and lurk elsewhere online. You could try both and see what works best for you.

I have gone from a life of wasting my time and deep discontent where bad habits and not knowing held me back at every turn. With work, discipline, time, and support the obstacles I had transformed into my greatest strengths and they will for you too.

I am confident about everything I just wrote because I have facilitated groups of people doing the things I am suggesting you do. Writing is just one piece. I will get into more steps in other writings. I have been privileged to have a front-row seat to witness all the successes of transformed people.

My friends

For the most part, a bond is formed with people in the various groups working together. You can go it alone if you choose. It does not work as well without the help, encouragement, and support of other people.

KP went from a sales clerk at Nordstrom to an expert yoga instructor with her new home studio.

KT went from a nuclear pharmacist at a major hospital to opening one of the first animal compounding pharmacies in my area.

CC went from a writer of all sorts of content to a published author. Attending CC’s book launch at Borders Books was the coolest! The list goes on.

Where are you now in your life? Are you craving a change? Are you living up to your full potential? If you were not afraid, what would you do today? I just gave you a choice of questions to write on a blank page, one question at a time. Now pick up your pen and write your answers!

author picture

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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