Clutter Busting: Realizing That You Matter

"The fact that we began to declutter at some point means a crack was created in the “Things Are More Important than Us” belief." Join Brooks Palmer in this essay about how decluttering helps to reveal happiness and what truly matters.
Brooks Palmer is a coach and author.
Brooks Palmer is a coach and author.

My client was feeling critical of herself for all the clutter she thought she should have let go of long ago. She said those thoughts tormented her every day. I said that it could help for her to step away from that harsh kind of thinking. Not to push it away, but step back and notice her actions.

I said I wanted her to see that getting involved and entangled in self-criticism wasn’t actually helping her let go of clutter. It left her with the clutter, plus the crappy feeling that comes from being mean to yourself. It’s one of the most insidious kinds of clutter. I said that kindness and encouragement are the ingredients to help bring about positive change.

Being kind to yourself can seem strange at first because we can be used to demeaning and forcing ourselves into change. To be kind can seem like it will leave us feeling complacent and unchanging. But being kind to ourselves makes us feel good. It gives us energy. Kindness encourages us to do beneficial things for ourselves.

I had my client close her eyes. I asked her to focus on her breath, to notice the air coming in and out of her body. I suggested to notice that her body was breathing her. She didn’t have to do the breathing.

She was being given the breath of life every moment. Even when she didn’t realize it. Even when she was sleeping. That must mean she matters.

A power greater than her was constantly giving her life – the greatest possible gift. She didn’t have to earn that love. It was given to her even though she still had clutter, even though she didn’t think she deserved it. Perhaps she could bestow some of that love on herself.

My client said she never realized that she was being given the gift of life. It made her feel loved and peaceful for the first time in a long while.

I said if she felt herself getting harsh again, she could stop and take a few moments to remember how greatly she is loved and cared for regardless of her actions. It would open her life to great change.

Another client said that she wished she could stay in the de-cluttering frame of mind. But she found that she would soon get caught up and get lost in her stuff again. I said that was normal. It’s not her fault.

We are constantly told by the world that we are not enough and we need more things. We are hypnotized into believing that certain things, people and activities will make us whole. So of course we stop questioning what’s in our life. We conform to the acquiring and holding on mindset. And we stay miserable.

But the fact that we began to declutter at some point means a crack was created in the “Things Are More Important than Us” belief. We may forget about clutter busting, but then we remember. It comes back to us spontaneously. There’s a feeling, “Oh, yeah. Right. I don’t have to live that old way of thinking anymore. I’m enough as I am. Things have to prove their value to me, or I will let them go.” 

That remembering comes in naturally because of the crack that was created in the old belief. And the nature of a crack is that it widens over time.

More and more you find yourself remembering about what’s actually important. I say that because it takes encouragement and support. It’s important to hear that you are what matters.

Things have value only when they make your life a better place to be. You are sacred and your things are not. You get to say, “No” to what hurts you. You get to take your life back. It’s your nature to look for what no longer supports you, and remove it from your life. Your feeling is the most important voice to listen to know what to do. That you have a built-in clutter radar that tells you when something doesn’t fit your life.

On Insight Timer, Brooks Palmer offers various inspiring and motivating talks as well as guided meditations that will help you to start clutter busting. You can listen to a few selected tracks below:

  1. Turning On Your Clutter Radar (Meditation) Brooks Palmer 11:42
  2. Freeing Your Heart Of Clutter Brooks Palmer 2:01
  3. You're Okay As You Are Brooks Palmer 7:06
  4. Decluttering Is An Act Of Love Brooks Palmer 11:44
  5. What Really Matters Brooks Palmer 2:26

This is the start of a new life — one in which you start to really value yourself. Ultimately, it is your life to enjoy. It is up to you. What do you have otherwise? A house or apartment that you dread coming home to? A life not worth waking up to in the morning? There is no value in things. The value is in you. You don’t need anything — you alone are enough. You were mistakenly taught otherwise. You now know what really matters.

To live peacefully and happily, honestly look at what you have and ask, “What matters? What do I really need? What is worthless to me now?” Keep what matters. Toss what doesn’t. It’s easy once you start.

I tell people if I can do it, so can you. My life used to be a mess, but then I cleaned it up. I found I enjoy my life in simplicity. I have more fun than I used to when I had so many things but felt confused and unsatisfied.

Everyone’s clutter-busting story is different. Yours will be too. You will find yourself laughing at some of the things you have held on to. You might cry. You will feel joy in tossing things that do not matter to you anymore. You are making room for yourself. In the end you will feel freedom, the kind you have been wanting all along.

Happy clutter busting!

Want to learn more about clutter busting? Join Brooks Palmer in his 10-day course “Clutter Busting: Let Go Of What’s Holding You Back” in which you will take with you a valuable sense of your own sacredness to use for the rest of your life.

Meditation. Free.