Top 5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

Feng Shui CatarpillarIn my previous incarnation as a headhunter, during a time when deals were slow a Chinese colleague
came to work one day wearing a beautiful watch. When I asked her if it was new, she said “Yes, the
Chinese believe sometimes you need to put the money out,in order to make room for the money to come in.”

I started reading about the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, Feng Shui, years ago while I was still living in New York. While there is much debate over ancient and modern day practices, the idea of energy flow, or more specifically the movement of Qi, is present in even the most modern interior designer’s interpretations of the art. Most books discuss the idea of “cures” for rooms of the home or office for love,
health, wealth and the list goes on. These “cures” however, will not work while clutter is present.
All clutter must first be cleared before a cure can begin to work. It is quite logical really.

When I began my coaching practice, I realized that the idea of goal seeking, action, and forward motion are
very similar to the “cures” in Feng Shui, and that to be able to move forward, we need to be able to
DECLUTTER our lives. We need to make room for the good and wonderful things that we want more time for and the first step in doing that is to identify our clutter and deal with it. Sometimes even mundane “stuff” whether a pile of laundry or receipts can have greater meaning. There is also mental clutter, habitual clutter and the ever so difficult to get rid of people clutter.

If you haven’t made it to one of my Declutter Your Life! Coaching Workshops here in Hong Kong,
here is your opportunity to take away some of the tips others have gone home with.

1) Conquer the Stuff – What is it’s function and where does it live?
Everything should have a place and a real function in your home or office. Do you really need it?
When was the last time you used it? Do you still have a stuffed animal from 3 relationships ago?
What other sentimental items do you have that are potentially preventing you from moving on? There is a
saying that our outside world is a reflection of our inner state…get organized an you will feel better.
I promise.

2) Learn to let go. Hoarding is not helping. Even though you may think you may use one of those 300 bottles of hotel shampoo in this lifetime, you have to start somewhere. Does this sound like you? Give them away to charity and don’t collect anymore. Magazines? It’s called a scanner. Scan your favorite articles then recycle. Can’t bare the thought of the scanning project? Recycle all then start a new program with new magazines. Again – you have to start somewhere.

3) Get focused. Be present. Don’t let “autopilot” be you standard mode of operation. Did you just manage to
arrive somewhere and somehow forget half the journey? Don’t let Facebook take over your life. If you are on Facebook for 4.5 hours a day, what is it that you are NOT doing instead? Can’t finish one task before starting another? Keep a pad nearby – write down your thought – finish what your doing – then re-evaluate your priorities.

4) Do one thing today & get off the procrastination bandwagon! .
“Small daily changes over time lead to staggering results.” ~ Robin Sharma – enough said.
Procrastination is a form of clutter. It is delay. It is cured by action. If what you have in front of you
seems overwhelming, break it down into small, achievable steps. Set yourself up for success.

5) Allow negative people to disappear from your life. You don’t need them. You could be spending time
with supportive positive people instead. If they are family or co-workers then
work to set up boundaries for yourself and new communication where you can effectively express your needs.

The more we can let go of this clutter the more we can tap into our dreams, passions, positive people! It is
liberating to free yourself of the weight of negativity and unnecessary “stuff”. We make space for the things we want to move into our lives.

If you are interested in going deeper into this and meeting some fantastic people? I will be holding another
Declutter Your Life! workshop on Thursday August 20.

What others had to say:

I liked Perri’s structured approach to De-cluttering. She had a strategic way to identify, recognise and deal with junk in
our lives. Ever so often we are perfectly sorted out people with clean desks and organised closets, but a few layers down….
we are carrying traces of our mental garbage. And that leads to all the cobwebs inside our minds. That was exactly what
Perri helped us sort out. I’m glad I attended Perri’s afternoon workshop on Ways to De-clutter. Not only was it interactive
and fun…it helped lighten my baggage!!! I’m on my journey again…travelling light.
Thanks Perri, for your action plan as well.
~ Gargi Guha

Thank you , Perri for a very insightful evening. “Your Declutter Your Life ” workshop has been the catalyst for
some immediate and welcome changes. I feel lighter and more free.I particularly appreciated the atmosphere that
you created, allowing the participants to share their “clutter” problems, and find solutions collectively.

But, more valuable to me personally than anything else- the questions that you made us ask ourselves during the workshop
made me stop, pause, reflect and evaluate my life and direction. Thank you !
~ Alice Kaushal – Refine Consulting

I really enjoyed the workshop. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but it was really a great afternoon, lots of positive discussions and I think I learned a lot about both myself and benefited by seeing the others in the group sharing their own personal stories. Very positive all around Saturday night I bought a new organizer for my hideously cluttered bathroom, assembled it and “de-cluttered” my entire bathroom. Got rid of at least half of my unneeded receipts and magazines and cleared a shelf in the kitchen for all of my bills to go so they are in one centralized location. Sounds mundane but the whole experience was very cathartic. I’ve felt both physically and mentally lighter since the big de-clutter. ~ N. P.


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  2. I love a good clean out, I grew up with a hoarder (my dad) whose idea of decluttering was to put everything in ‘neat’ piles around the house. As a result I am a brutal declutterer, I throw things away in a way that some consider quite rash. However I now also live with a husband who is a hoarder (learned from his mum who has a whole room piled with stuff she’s collected) so it can sometimes be challenging for me. I teach my son to go through his toys twice a year and give some that he no longer wants away to ‘kids that have no toys’ via the local charity centre. So start young people! Teach your kids to declutter early. Great post Perri, I’m enjoying your blog.

  3. As a lover of the decluttering process and also someone that lives with a husband who LOVES to hoard, how do you suggest I gradually get him into a process of decluttering? He is a creative and he uses the “inspiration” excuse a lot, but I have honestly never ever seen him pull out the thousands of magazines he owns for inspiration…. love to hear your thoughts!

    • Thank you so much for your comments & question! I get asked about “other people’s clutter” quite a lot.

      The first thing that is important to remember, is that what is just “stuff” to us, may have a deeper meaning to someone else.
      I recommend by showing that you acknowledge this and talk to him about why he is really holding on to a particular item or set of items like the magazines. For instance in the case you are describing, throwing them out may subconsciously represent a loss of inspiration or creativity, which is a fear in itself separate from the magazines.

      My favorite question is “What is the worst thing that would happen if….” and here “you threw away all the magazines older than…” or “half of your magazines…” or “all of your magazines”. When we ask ourselves this question or someone else, it forces us to either answer in a rational way, or we hear ourselves answering in an emotional way and are then more open to suggestions.

      Help him by agreeing to make time to go through the magazines with him, pick some kind of measurement that he is comfortable with, and help him to let go. If you leave it to him to do alone he may “get lost” in them! There is no issue with keeping articles, photos, ads that he thinks are important, but they can be ripped out and placed in a binder (perhaps by category) or even better, scanned. Then they can be recycled.

      Time is another excuse. Taking time to go through magazines amassed over months (even years) can be time consuming if you are not doing a complete “dump”. I recommend this be a one or two sitting process. It will not get done if you let it go and there will be more accumulation over a longer period. This is something there is no replacement for unfortunately, therefore the most important part is to put a new system in place once the time has been taken to do it. Come to an agreement on what will become of new magazines, how long they can remain, that all good content must be ripped out immediately and scanned etc.

      This is something that you can apply to almost anything. The most important thing to maintain in these situations is good communication and showing that you are sensitive to how the person you are sharing space with feels. Asking yourself the question “what would be the worst thing if….” he doesn’t throw these magazines out and so on is a good reflection as well. Just because you are ready to throw out the magazines doesn’t mean he is “ready” to declutter. Be supportive and it will be a win-win.

      Let me know how it goes! I look forward to sharing more with you!

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