By Leo Babauta
In this webinar, I talked about fear â€” the one thing that most stands in our way of decluttering and letting go â€” and a mediation on how to deal with that. (See notes below.)
I’ve broken this webinar recording into three parts, because it is a bit long:
- Part I: My talk on fear, why it is the secret to decluttering, and a meditation to help deal with it. (See notes)
- Part II: I answered questions on staying consistent with decluttering, finding the time, dealing with papers and books, and more.
- Part II: I answered questions about the decluttering multiple areas vs. one area, and what happens if you develop an aversion to clutter, and more.
Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)
Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):
- The first secret to decluttering is simply starting – if every day you start a decluttering session, youâ€™ll eventually become less and less decluttered. Itâ€™s that simple – just start, and figure it out as you go.
- But what stops us from starting? If youâ€™ve struggled to stay consistent and start each day, why? Fear – the fear of being overwhelmed, of letting go of sentimental items, of dealing with discomfort and uncertainty, of doing something difficult rather than checking email and Facebook again
- It turns out dealing with fear is the real secret to decluttering â€” not just the fears that come up when we start, but the fears of letting things go, the fears of uncertainty that we use our possessions to deal with.
- Every thing we buy thatâ€™s not an absolute necessity (food, minimal clothing, shelter, soap and toilet paper, anything our great-grandparents might have had) â€¦ any of these non-necessities are helping us to deal with some kind of difficulty weâ€™re feeling
- We cope with difficulties by buying things â€¦ difficulties like: stress, feeling unprepared (fear), feeling down, feeling insecure, feeling like you need a reward or deserve a treat, and so on
- We give a lot of power to our stuff, using it as a solution for so many things â€¦ using it to show love when we buy nice things for loved ones â€¦ using it as stress relief and comfort and reward and a way to avoid our difficult problems.
- So the real secret to decluttering is to take the power away from our possessions. And instead, give it back to ourselves.
- How can we do that? Well, if weâ€™re feeling stressed out, instead of using shopping to relieve the stress, we can stay with the feeling of stress and realize that we donâ€™t need anything but ourselves to cope with the difficult feeling of stress.
- If weâ€™re feeling unprepared for something, and fear is arising in us â€¦ instead of coping with it by buying a bunch of gear â€¦ we can deal with the fear by sitting still with it
- The same is true of any difficult feeling that arises â€¦ sitting still with it can be a way to deal with it, instead of using consumerism
- Practice sitting still with your fear right now â€¦ stay with it, explore it, be curious about it, donâ€™t avoid it, get to know it.
Part II: First Questions
Questions answered in this video:
- Becoming consistent with the decluttering habit
- Finding the time consistently
- Dealing with sentimental items
- Struggling with old work papers and books
- The best approach to decluttering if you don’t have much time
- My decluttering seems to be lot of sorting/organising but not so much really getting rid of stuff
Part III: Second Questions
Questions answered in this video:
- Is OK to have multiple areas to declutter and choose a different one each day?
- I have an aversion to clutter! :-) How do you embrace/be when you find yourself in other cluttered environments without feeling overwhelm?
- How to get rid of clothes that are too small, though loved, but we think we’ll lose that last 10lbs for, so don’t want to get rid of.
- How to get rid of books that seem amazing, though I seemingly have ADD and haven’t read more than 2 chapters of… and I keep buying more!
- What do you think of the Kon Mari method in “The LIfe-changing Magic of Tidying Up.”?
- I would like to ask about ways of organizing what we really need (boxes, trays, tags)â€¨