Clare’s Clutter Clearing Story
Clearing your Clutter isn’t just about clearing the physical clutter you see in your home.
For many, their Journey also involves clearing their mental, emotional, financial, social, family, relationship, vocational, even spiritual clutter.
Our Journey requires us to start to acknowledge and accept all this invisible life clutter. If we don’t, we’ll never become Clutter Free Forever. It’s why it’s so important to go at your own, comfortable pace.
Many of us know deep down that we have other life clutter that we also need to deal with, but it’s easier to focus on the visible physical clutter. We’ve been in denial for so long it’s now a habit to actively avoid it.
Life clutter is uncomfortable and unwanted clutter that we don’t even want to acknowledge, much less deal with, make decisions about and potentially let go of. The thought of moving on without it can be terrifying.
Ironically, although we all resist accepting how long it’s going to take to clear our physical clutter, ‘life’ clutter can often take longer to deal with and often requires the help of a therapist or counsellor to work through.
For me, my therapist became an essential tool on my Clutter Clearing Journey to help me deal with my hidden life clutter when it appeared. In fact, it’s an ongoing process, and I still see one when I find another piece of clutter I need help to understand or deal with.
For me personally my emotional, family and relationship clutter were the most painful to face, accept and make decisions about. (I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like trying to deal with it in the glare of the judgemental spotlight of the insensitive media like Prince Harry and Megan are having to do).
When I started my Clutter Clearing, I didn’t realise the most difficult clutter to process and make decisions about would be my emotional, family and relationship clutter. I had to decide what value it added to my life, whether it would help me live my best life, and if it was actually safer for me to let go.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m estranged from my family because it was safter for me to let go. Despite what people think, family estrangement – or ‘family relationship Clutter Clearing’ as I call it – has similarities to the Clutter Clearing Process.
The family member who decides that it’s better for their mental and emotional health not to have their family in their lives (the ‘estranger’), has usually had that family relationship clutter, which is usually toxic and buried deep under other clutter for years, decades and maybe even their whole life.
No one becomes estranged from their family on a whim or overnight. It is rarely a result of one specific incident, and it usually comes after multiple attempts by the estranger to try to find coping mechanisms to keep their family in their lives due to cultural, societal or family expectations.
When they start to face it as they clear their clutter, they put that toxic family relationship clutter in the not sure category, thus ensuring they don’t make an instant rash decision that they might later regret. While it’s in the not sure category, the estranger lives in hope the family will notice and want to fix the relationship.
They usually return to that family relationship clutter multiple times, hoping that it will somehow magically change and improve. Maybe they’re told by the family there’s nothing wrong, or they’re over-reacting. They question and doubt themselves constantly. They feel they ‘should’ find a way to cope because this is just ‘normal’ family behaviour, right?
Finally, they have to accept that things only change when both parties acknowledge things are broken, need to change, and BOTH sides start ‘Doing the Doing’.
For me, I tried time and time again to find ways to cope with and deal with my family relationship clutter. I didn’t want to fail, but my family didn’t acknowledge the clutter.
One thing I tried was suggesting we have monthly family days to make happy memories. I called them ‘Draper Days’ (my maiden name).
The idea was simple. On the first Saturday of every month we would take it in turns to decide what we wanted to do as a family and spend the day making happy, family memories.
There were 3 simple rules for Draper Days:
- Whatever the family member decided to do, others couldn’t object. This empowered those who felt less heard.
- There was a maximum budget and we all paid an equal amount towards it each month. That way no one could pull rank on the decisions during the day, as was the norm in our family.
- Draper Days were sacred days – no one was allowed to book anything else on the first Saturday of every month. Family Day came first.
We did lots of simple, inexpensive things such as country walks, picnics in places that had a specific memory, we even did a simple drive around Hayes, Middlesex, seeing the houses my parents grew up in and hearing them share their family and childhood stories. We also did more traditional days out such as theme parks, museums, day trips to London.
Draper Days worked well to begin with, but they slowly started to fizzle out and turned into short lunches at different pubs or restaurants, talking about day-to-day things, and old relationship clutter habits started to creep back in. People started to say they had other, more important things to do. Draper Days were no longer sacred, and eventually they fizzled out completely.
Clearing your clutter is about accepting that YOUR needs, hopes, dreams and future really are just as important as other people’s if you want to live your best life. As selfish as it feels, we are only going to live our best life if we do just that – live OUR best life, for US.
We can justify keeping everything in our clutter, yet we have to learn to accept what’s clutter and learn that it’s OK to let go.
Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go
The Hardest Decision
For me personally, finally letting go of my family relationship clutter forever was the hardest decision I have ever made. Yet I wish I had done it sooner as I wouldn’t be living my best life now if I hadn’t.
Whatever other people may think and the assumptions I’m sure people make, clearing my family relationship clutter was the right thing for ME so that I could start living MY best life.
I no longer feel the need to justify the decision I made to let go, or explain the 1,001 separate events that led up to me finally letting go.
Clearing your clutter is about more than just learning how to make decisions about the things in your physical clutter.
It’s about learning to take ownership of YOUR life, deciding how you want YOUR best life to be, putting YOUR needs first for a change, deciding who YOU want and trust to share that best life with, and having the courage to make that dream a reality by clearing all your clutter.If you know you’ve got some ‘life’ clutter buried in your physical clutter, get Clare’s help to start to safely face that clutter in Step 1 of the 7 Step Journey: https://www.clutterclearing.net/7-step-journey/