Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up didn't go gangbusters for no reason. People are drowning in their stuff, and it's having a major impact on their lives.
From a feng shui perspective, it's obvious why decluttering is picking up so much buzz. The practice believes that symbolism is the name of the game and our homes represent our lives. One of my colleagues, Carol Olmstead, teaches that our homes are, in essence, "3-D vision boards." Therefore, every item that you own plays a role in crafting your life.
With that being said, it's clearly a good idea to be vigilant about what you choose to keep in your space. If you can find the strength to live with less, you may just experience the most transformative "therapy" of your life.
Here are four reasons that a decluttering session is akin to time in the therapist's chair:
1. Decluttering is a way to process your past.
Think about it. Every item you own has a story. Your aunt who passed away last year made you that ratty blanket. You bought that one dress to celebrate when your mother found out she was cancer-free. Your best friend gave you that purse for your 30th birthday, and you'd secret had your eye on it for months — beautiful synchronicity. If you can "face" all the stories of your life long enough to let them go, you are more likely to have clarity in moving forward.
2. Decluttering is a way to tune into your inner joy.
Marie Kondo introduced the brilliant concept of asking if each item in your home sparks joy. This question cuts straight to the chase; after all, isn't it the reason we do anything? Because we think it will bring more happiness? If you can determine which items bring you joy in your home, you'll be better equipped to determine which friends, jobs, and partners bring you joy outside your front door.
3. Decluttering can help you trust yourself to make decisions.
Clutter represents delayed decisions. When you sit down with every single item that you own and get past all you have been avoiding to make a decision on whether you keep it or let it go, it's extremely empowering. It's a way of conquering quiet and nagging fears about your ability to make sound choices.
4. Decluttering is a way to uncover deep psychological patterns.
My clients laugh; my clients cry; my clients process old guilt and let it go. When you go through your stuff, you will find yourself holding on to certain things for certain reasons time after time. These moments often spotlight issues that are affecting you in a larger way. For example, a client may keep heirloom after heirloom simply because they feel an obligation to their family. It's possible this pattern represents a warped sense of obligation and guilt. Or maybe someone has kept every relic of an ex-lover. This could symbolize a fear that he or she won't find love again.
In short, letting go is a powerful process that can help heal old wounds so that you can move forward with confidence.