Things don’t change; we change.

“Things don’t change; we change.”
HENRY DAVID THOREAU

 

Happy New Year.

‘Things’ in this context could mean situations, objects or tasks.

In some ways, “stuff” or physical objects, is the simplest place to begin looking for change.

I’m all for tidying up.

And simplifying.

You probably have too much stuff.

And stuff, as a kind of material in your life, will not change. Individual things may break, decay or get lost but overall, stuff will remain stuff.

You can move it from the kitchen counter to a closet or the garage or offsite storage but it will still be there, weighing on you, even out of sight.

The bigger and more meaningful shift begins when you see that, rather than focusing on physical objects, paying attention to yourself and HOW you relate to stuff will deliver the kind of lasting change you’re seeking.

Change yourself and the stuff will (almost) take care of itself.

How do you want to spend your time? What matters to you?

Answer those questions and clearing the clutter will happen quickly. And stay cleared.

It’s great that 2016 brought decluttering more into the mainstream. But Marie Kondo and her Kon-Mari method is just one more band-aid for a symptom that leaves the illness untreated.

I doubt your toilet brush brings you “joy.” I’m guessing it brings you satisfaction when it’s used as intended. I wouldn’t get rid of it because it’s low on the joy quotient. I’d use it when needed and ignore it when it’s not needed. End of story.

When you pick up an expensive cashmere sweater that now has moth holes in it, you probably have conflicting feelings.

You may have fond memories of how you acquired it and the times you wore it and now not so fond memories each time you reach for it and rediscover the moth holes. And then you get upset.

Upset at the moth larvae that ate your sweater.

Upset at yourself for not taking better care of your things.

Upset at yourself that you haven’t taken it to be repaired.

Upset that it was expensive and you can’t wear it any longer, upset at the unfairness of it all, upset that when you think about it, it’s probably more money than you want to spend to repair it.

And upset that you can’t bring yourself to let it go. Even though you no longer wear it.

That’s a whole lot of story. And a whole lot of upset. For one sweater.

No wonder stuff lays right where you left it.

If I had to navigate that much story to get anything done, I’d have piles of things laying around my home and office, too.

But what I’ve discovered is the story doesn’t matter. The story is about you, not the sweater.

The fact is you own a sweater you no longer wear because it’s too damaged or costly to repair.

What are you going to do next?

Change yourself.

And suddenly the sweater will be easy to let go of.

How long do you want to look at the sweater, move the sweater and think about the sweater? Every minute you spend with a sweater you don’t wear is a minute you could be spending doing something you love. Being with someone you love.

The choice seems simple from here.

Change yourself.

The solution to your clutter problem is an inside job.

Change how you view the objects that surround you and more importantly, change how you view your mortality and the time you have left on this planet and I promise you, physical stuff will not be the issue for very long.

Happy New Year.

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