Declutter

These are four areas that Len and I decluttered so we can live abundantly:

1. OUR PURSUITS
We identified three opportunities that genuinely light us up — that align with our values and strengths — and let go of the rest.

2. OUR RELATIONSHIPS
We took an in-depth look at relationships that we want to nurture, including boundaries we set where needed, and habits of engagement that we continue to develop (i.e., listening, appreciating, helping) — and let go of the rest.

3. OUR THOUGHTS
We realized that the person we speak with the most is ourself. With that in mind, we make a practice of listening to our internal monologue, then ask ourselves: “Is it true? Is it logical? Is it helpful?” When we come across thoughts that aren’t positive, uplifting, constructive, or healing, we pluck them out like weeds. They don’t have a place in our internal garden.

4. OUR STUFF
We eliminated things that aren’t must-haves so that we can enjoy what we truly find pleasure in. I love how Seth Godin puts it: 

“The frenzied search for more is a distraction and a place to hide, all in one. Pick the right stones and cherish them as you turn them over. That’s enough.”

Do you resonate with any of the four declutter areas listed in this post? Click To Tweet

Do you resonate with any of the four declutter areas listed in this post?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Category: Food for Thought

66 thoughts on “Declutter

  1. I love,the picture of the flowers,The quote and the categories you have chosen to declutter,All in all,an inspiring and helpful post.
    Thank you so much.

  2. Absolutely I do. Being at work can clutter so much. I won’t let it. Home is the same. Isn’t it both amazing and wonderful how less is really so much more. Great thoughts, Laurie.

  3. De-cluttering my thoughts is a daily practice. Music and walks in nature tune me in to the right frequency.

    De-cluttering my relationships? This may surprise you, but I’m glad I have not chopped people off my Facebook, email, and address book lists. They have proved invaluable in promoting my book. I hope to see new faces and old acquaintances at my book signings. 🙂

    Thanks for getting me thinking today, Laurie.

  4. The chord they strike with me reverberates. Most all of us can identify with decluttering physically, but we often neglect the mental decluttering which is, I think, the most essential of the four. Pretty hard to keep your surroundings tidy if your mind’s in a muddle.

  5. I’m also in that declutter phase of my life, and all four of the areas you listed are under examination. Decluttering things is the easiest part. Letting go of pursuits was not too hard. But the relationships and the thoughts….those take time.

  6. Great way to start my day, Laurie. Woody and I spent our morning tete a tete just listing our current “pursuits.” We came up with ten items! No wonder I feel so distracted lately. We share four activities together that we both love plus each of us has three activities we do separately — we both have our part time jobs, for example; I have two if I include my little poultry business. AND, social media time was not even on the list! Off I go; must finish gathering the items to bring to my new office. This comes on the heels of a recent awareness that I don’t WANT to multitask. I want to focus, be absorbed by, lose myself in . . . That’s my new definition of heaven.

  7. Working on all four. Thoughts are critical; paying attention to the “stories” that may be present and applying questions similar to yours. Is it true?, is a vital question. The, what else might be true or possible? etc.. Relationships some were purged due to our political climate; often others made the choice (I’d prefer with family to keep some line of communication open). Pursuits … I have a full plate but all are currently positive and line up with talents, strengths, and values. I am only letting go of one at the end of the year (retiring from the refuge board after 10 years). I will bring that energy to work and completing my memoir. Memoir 1st draft deadline end of October; then editing begins. Stuff … an ongoing process … every week I shed old papers; every month I recycle or toss something (usually a batch of books or some item no longer used).
    I’m also working toward downsizing the space I live in, in about 1.5-2.0 years.

  8. I think I do the first three naturally, without conscious effort. The fourth is harder, because what do I do with the things I no longer want?

  9. #3. Our thoughts: the person we speak with the most is ourself. After some evaluations on my thoughts, I try hard to discard unnecessary ones, often unsuccessfully. Often I do this subconsciously!

  10. All four resonate with me. Currently I’m collecting and packing stuff I no longer need for a charitable organization that actually picks it up from your place. And relationships – I’ve been thinking of some relationships that are toxic and am letting go of them but keeping famiy and friends that are dear to my heart and soul. My “to do” list has to be lightened and that is something I have to do. Strangely, my post on my personal blog today ties in with your post Laurie. I post about debooting (not the computer) but from all the stuff (read “everything”) in my life. It’s a trick I learned from my late Mom and I’ve put my own spin on it. You and some of your other readers might want to read it at https://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/only-child-on-rebooting-your-life/

  11. Hi Laurie,

    I align with a lot of what you say, and (as usual 😉 ) a few areas of “quibble”.

    I certainly agree with the idea of considering what is important in all areas, and I am a sufficiently aware student of complexity and of biology and cosmology that I am aware of several major themes that seem important to me:
    1/ that however much we think we know, it is a close approximation to total ignorance in respect of what is possible to be known;
    2/ from database theory, that for a fully loaded processor, the fastest possible search is the fully random search (ie, those intuitions can be important);
    3/ from neurology and artificial intelligence research, that we tend to embody information and wisdom long before we become conscious of it. And most of that comes from exposure to experience and the making of mistakes (even if we do not consciously recognise them as mistakes at the time);
    4/ from evolution (both theory and practical experience) that evolution deals with what works in practice, not with any theoretical optimum. It will tend to optimise for survival (which means use of energy, materials and time in various combinations) but only within the options that a particular line of chemistry and physics and understanding allows. Thus it seems that all understanding is a simplification of reality at some level, and anything that we accept as unquestionable truth becomes a danger to us, even as there is a necessity that we use useful and workable ideas in practice without wasting time questioning things that actually do work. Yet when conditions are really changing, then things that worked in the past can fail in ways that our unquestioned assumptions make us completely blind to.

    So in some senses I am a yes to each of your four declutterings, but not in all.

    1. OUR PURSUITS
    Yes certainly decide what is important and pursue those things, but in making such assessments be willing to question everything. Don’t ignore feelings and intuitions, but don’t be driven by them alone. Maintain a balance between feelings and intuitions, and logic and reason. Find a balance between the deep lessons of the past encoded in many levels of cultural wisdom, and the possibilities inherent in the eternal uncertainty and becoming of our creative potential. Find a balance between culture and science, between lessons from the past and being open to trying out new things.
    For me, that means choosing our highest values carefully, and for me that has come down to life and liberty (mine and everyone else’s, every entity capable of recognising and naming itself in language, human and non-human, biological and non-biological). And that demands of every one of us responsible action in social and ecological contexts. It demands accepting a truth of evolutionary theory, that all new levels of complexity and creativity come from cooperative contexts, and that competitive contexts drive systems to some set of minima on the complexity landscape and as such are fundamentally destructive of creativity and individual expression (ie we need to seriously rethink our relationship to markets).

    2. OUR RELATIONSHIPS
    Yes certainly, choose where we put most energy in our relationships. And part of that must be accepting that we have implicit relationships and responsibilities at every level of cooperation that makes our existence possible, family, community, humanity, ecology.
    Complexity theory has some interesting lessons about creating and maintaining networks, and information flows through congested networks. Diverse networks are actually required for survival.

    3. OUR THOUGHTS
    Yes certainly, consider what seems the likely impact of our thoughts. Do our best to nurture those which deliver the greatest benefit to the probability of life and liberty for all, and to dampen down the others. Accept that all life, all complexity, demands certain levels of restraint for its continued existence (so liberty in such a suite of contexts is not a simple thing). Every level of form demands boundaries for survival, and rarely are those boundaries as simple as we think them to be. So it is dance we each dance with ourselves and reality (whatever it actually is), as we try new steps, new patterns, to see what actually works best, for us and for others. Sometimes the complexity of reality demands of us levels of complexity that we simply could not see before, and sometimes that can only be gotten to by seeing what is unnecessary baggage from our past (and there are dangers in that, because sometimes there are real treasures hidden in our cultural “stuff”, but not always).

    4. OUR STUFF
    Yes certainly, avoid the cultural traps of acquisition for the sake of profit or status; but also look deeply at the long term risks and benefits, and keep those things that can last and seem likely to be useful over the long term. And for each of us that will look differently, as for each of us what seems probable in our future will be a very complex function of many levels of biology, culture, experience, reason, logic and creativity.

    So yes – consider deeply what is of most value.
    Question deeply the unquestioned and implicit values of our cultures and our past, and keep only those things that seem, on balance of intuition and reason, to be most valuable for life itself.

    And that is very unlikely to be a culturally comfortable experience, as it is likely to take anyone who seriously engages in it far beyond the accepted norms of culture, to question things that most cultures say are not supposed to be questioned.

    It is likely to be a deeply uncomfortable and disturbing experience, and it does seem to be what is required of us – all of us.

  12. Fantastic post, Laurie. It certainly resonated with me. I’m not sure if the individual points have consciously resonated with me other than the DESIRE to declutter stuff–but inertia and a reluctant-but-coming-around-to-a-declutter-mindset wife slow that down.

    I don’t have dozens of close friends and only two best friends (besides my wife) who I’ve been best friends with for 35 and 22 yrs, respectively). So other than those and family, I’m pretty well decluttered with relationships.

    Not sure I’ll ever declutter my pursuits because I believe in life-long learning and will alwyas find something new to study or learn about. But I focus on the few things I am passionate about. On balance, about a B grade. 🙂

    Thoughts are my achilles heel. I put high expectations on myself and if I goof up or fall short, I let myself know. But I intentionally use it to vent anger so I don’t take it out on someone else. LIfe’s to short to sweat the small stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff. So I kick myself in the butt, put the failure out of my mind (most of the time!), and get on with life.

  13. Years ago, I had to declutter in order to move across country. Maybe that process scared me because it became incredibly difficult for me to release–things, worries, past wrong. But time heals and now I’m learning how to release.

  14. Dear Laurie,
    Thank you for the de-cluttering ideas. We had a disastrous flood in our home and are now living in a temporary town home, until our home is repaired. Jordan and I will be looking at “must haves” when we are ready to return to our home.

  15. I absolutely needed this encouragement tonight, Laurie. I de-clutter “things” fairly well, although I can always do better. But the way you observe and make changes within relationships is where I’ve needed help. You have some very helpful “tools” here, and I am going to sit with them for a while and see what comes to me! This feels huge!

  16. You’ve started something now , my head is buzzing with answers .I certainly need to declutter my thoughts. My husband would just say ‘ You’re overthinking again Cherry ‘ Love the concept.
    Cherryx

  17. Yes indeed – “stuff”. We recently rounded up exceeding clutter and make library donations and and bringing the house under control after a period of immense “clutter.”

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