Did you ever look at your closet and realize that you have nothing to wear?
The reality is: you have clothes to wear. You actually have too many clothes. When you scan your closet, all you see are clothes that don’t fit, clothes that are out of season, or clothes that you just don’t want to wear. Therefore, your brain meshes all your clothes together into one blob that your mind has labeled “insignificant,” even the clothes you want to wear.
When we talk about clutter, we don’t just talk about material clutter; we also have mental clutter, time clutter, relationship clutter, and financial clutter. In this blog post, I will cover material, time, and financial clutter.
Material clutter increases stress and decreases the ability to focus. The stuff that we accumulate screams for our attention, begging us to notice it. The senses that your clutter stimulates run around in your brain, leaving you mentally exhausted. These objects also stimulate your memory, since they were special to you at a certain season of your life.
With material clutter, start small. For example, declutter the clothes in your closet. One thing I’ve found especially helpful is putting your items in one spot where you can see them all at once and sorting the items into piles. Most people suggest having a “keep” pile, a “donate” pile, or a “trash” pile. Others also suggest having a “maybe” pile for the items you have that you don’t want to trash yet.
The word “busy” has started to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have something to do every night of the week; my schedule is mentally exhausting. Despite what our culture may suggest, we need time to rest, and we should not feel guilty for creating some free time into our schedules.
My friend Christa Hutchins has some great resources about bossing our time around and not letting our schedules control us. What I’m about to describe isn’t exactly Christa’s system, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due. To declutter your time, draw seven boxes with each box representing a day of the week. Write down all your required scheduled activities, such as work. Then, on the side, write down the activities that are not scheduled but are important to you, and how long you think it will take you to do these activities. After that, write down the amount of free time you have. It is up to you to schedule free time for yourself, quality time with your family, or anything else that fills you. If your free time is less than the time you need to get things done, it’s time to prioritize and reevaluate your task list. Take out the items that are not as important, or reschedule them for what you have more time.
Did you ever wonder, Where did all that money go? The Bible even says that if you’re not careful, money will grow wings and fly away (see Proverbs 23:5). My husband and I have gotten a lot out of Dave Ramsey’s financial plan, and much of it has to do with creating a budget. The template is exactly like your time budget. Write down how much money you make each month. Then, write down the scheduled bills that come out of your bank account. Use the remainder to set an amount of money you will spend on clothes, food, and other necessities. As you spend money throughout the month, write it down on your phone or in a notebook. After a few months, you’ll start to see where all your money has been going, and you can make adjustments to your budget accordingly.
So, what are you willing to get rid of for the sake of your mental health? Ultimately, you need God’s wisdom to know where you are spending your time, money, and resources inadequately. Your first step is to surrender your stuff, your time, and your finances to the Lord. Nothing is more important than He is, and since He wants to be first in your life, He will help you make that possible.
As I did last week, I give you permission to let go of those things that are holding you back, that are distracting you, and that are getting in the way of the things you really enjoy. Do not let any obligation or any feelings of guilt stop you from finding freedom from all the clutter in your life.