Oh No! I’m Stuck!

img_0323-2KonMari  Insight  Blog Series.  


It happens when we least expect it.  There we are tooling along, zipping through clothing, or books, when .. WHAM! It hits us smack in the face. It’s that item, or that pile of stuff that’s always there, or maybe it’s just that there is still so much of” it”  there, and we stop. We freeze. All of a sudden we are exhausted. We can’t move.  We just stop. Or maybe you don’t even know where to start. You’re interested in the process, but haven’t tried it out yet.

Don’t worry.  You’re not alone. You haven’t failed decluttering. You’ve just hit a bump, a stumbling block. Take a deep breath, have a glass of tea (or something stronger), and put your feet up. Let’s see what’s happened.  Once we have figured out the why, then we can look what to do next.

Here are a few possibilities:

You’ve Forgotten Why you Started.

Your vision is your goal, your focus. It reminds you why you are tidying your home in the first place.  When you’ve let your vision go, or haven’t created one, you don’t have a direction. Without a direction, you tend to wander and  feel lost. If you aren’t feeling like you have a clear end result, you may want to revisit your vision. If you haven’t created your vision, now is a great time to do it.

Your vision needs more details.

A vision that is sketchy, doesn’t give you much direction.  Saying you want a clean house, for example, isn’t going to fill your heart with renewed vigor when you look at all of the komono in the basement you have to tackle. You need a vision with substance that will remind you in the hard times, that you are  a valuable person with desires and goals.  You have made a commitment to tend to those goals.  Tidying your life is one of those steps.

 You’re Tired and Overwhelmed.

We have to face it; tidying is hard work! It’s physically and emotionally exhausting Whether we are just doing our own bedroom, or trying to get a four bedroom house with attached garage done, tidying has the power to drain your body and your spirit. In our quest to reclaim and reset our lives we can do too much, too quickly. Add on a job and a family to care for, and you are lucky to be still upright.

Take a break.  Look at what you’ve accomplished so far.  You have probably done a lot more than you think, so celebrate a little.   If you haven’t yet taken pictures of your home, this is as good a time as any. You might feel a little uncomfortable taking pictures, but they really do help when you see all  of the changes that are happening.

You Don’t Feel Like You’ll Ever Be Done.

You’re in the middle of tidying and you look around and  see nothing but a mess.  Here you are, discarding and things seem to look worse than when you started. And that’s true, it might. You have probably sorted things into groups and have boxes and bags to donate or throw away.  Plus, you can’t do much more than a cursory cleaning until you’re done with the category. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged at this point. But, try to hang on.  You’ll hit a tipping point about the time you start on komono. This is where your tidied things begin to outnumber your clutter.  I know it’s taking awhile, but it also took awhile for all of the clutter to develop.  You are learning so much about yourself and your choices. Just keep going.  Start with getting rid of the bags of items to donate.  The longer it stays around, the harder it is to feel done.

You Decluttered By Room Instead Of Category.

This is so tempting to do. Sometimes we figure that since decluttering will take time, if we go by room, the we will have a least one or two places that will be presentable.  This might work in the short time, but it doesn’t seem to work as a permanent solution. We end up moving things from room to room, or into just one room, so we have the “look” of tidy. But while, one or two rooms get picked up, the “dumping” rooms never get the attention. And we never get done.

Go back to the categories. Even if you’ve done clothing, go back to it.  It will help you get back in the swing of the method.  When you go by category, you get to everything in every corner.  You really do get finished that way.  Besides, if going from room to room really worked, we would have tidied homes already.

You’re Stuck On Sentimentals.

You found a photograph of your old boyfriend in a book you were discarding.  Suddenly, an hour has gone by while  your mind has gone back to days long past. It happens, and it can happen in any category. A memory can derail the most committed tidier.

So, as you go through each category, when something stalls you out, even if you think it isn’t sentimental, save it for last. Your perspective about your sentimental items will change as you declutter.  The more you learn about why you kept your belongings, the more you understand yourself, and the more you will want to live in the now. Sometimes we graduate from our sentimental things. Sometimes our sentimental things make us sad.  Sometimes we discover that they are deeply part of who we are, and we treasure them. Whatever you discover about your sentimental things, you’ll be ready to make decisions on them after you’ve done everything else.

If you do get stuck in your decluttering adventure, you can easily reset and get going again. You haven’t failed. This journey is about you.  You can’t fail you.

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