What are you tolerating in your life?
It was a question Christine Kane asked in her online Click retreat. She said that often those little annoying things you tolerate in your life, like the keyboard key that sticks every time you type, or the printer that is not working, that block your success in business.
I started pondering the question and boy is there plenty of things that I’m tolerating! My home flooded 3 years ago during Hurricane Harvey. We have a one story home, so every room was touched. Our contractor finally finished the remodel over this past summer, but there are still a few things that need to be done. We need someone to come and cut our bathroom mirrors down because our counter tops are higher. The electrician needs to come and change out a few light switches, and a few other small details like that need to be taken care of. We also have a lot of clutter that hasn’t been put away.
Why are you tolerating clutter?
There are a few reasons we tolerate clutter. One is that we just don’t make clearing the clutter a priority. It feels easier to just deal with it in the moment, but the truth is, when we actually take the time to address it, we can clear a lot of space in our mind. Every time you walk by that pile of mail that you need to sort or that box that you can’t even remember what is inside of, you think, “I need to do something about that.” It takes a decision every time. Deal with it now, or later? We decide to deal with it later and then an hour later, the next day, the next week, we make that same decision again. It causes mind clutter and wastes precious decision making space.
You see, we can only tolerate about 35,000 decisions in one day. That sounds like a lot, I know, but you make a lot of decisions every day, like wake up, get out of bed, brush your teeth, put on leggings, what top should I wear?, etc. Just starting your day, you make thousands of decisions. By the time you get dinner ready, you have depleted much of your decision making threshold. Then you have what is called decision fatigue. You want to reduce the amount of decisions you have to make as much as possible.
The other reason we don’t address clutter is that it looks too daunting. You know when you go through that pile of mail, you will have to decide what to do with each piece of paper. It will take a long time. You don’t want to take the time, so you put it off yet again.
How does procrastinating on clutter rob you of joy?
You look at that pile of mail with dread every time you see it. You stress about what to wear every day when you have too many options, some of which don’t even fit you. That pile of boxes you have in storage causes anxiety every time you think about getting rid of them. What can you clear out of your space to bring you more joy?
What can you do to relieve the stress of clutter and bring back joy?
- If it will be a short, easy fix, take care of it now. Like, that printer that needs the colored ink replaced, or the cup that has a broken lid needs to be thrown out would be easy to take care of in just a few minutes.
- If it’s a large pile of mail or a room packed with boxes, etc., break it down into bite-sized pieces. Deal with 5 pieces of mail a day, or one box a day, for example. My office was packed with leftover sheetrock, paint cans, tools, and door knobs. I put off dealing with it for months. Every time I looked in there, it felt overwhelming. But, I’ve been removing a few things every day and the progress encourages me to keep going
- Get help from a family member, coworker, friend, or someone you hire. There’s no shame in asking for help. Some people love this stuff. My daughter, Katie, loves to organize. I can often get her to help me sort things and find a new spot for them. My husband works long hours with a lot of stress, so I only ask him to help with the big things.
It can be so satisfying to see large bags leave your home and see bright open spaces. I’ll post some resources below. What can you clear out of your space to bring you more joy?
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Resources: 40 Bags In 40 Days