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Unclutter or Declutter?

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

After much Googling, I have come to the conclusion that either word can work depending on whether you see clutter as a verb or an adjective. Personally, I want to declutter my life so it will be uncluttered, giving me a feeling of freedom, lightness, and emptiness that will allow for “what’s next in my life” to show up. Decluttering will help me get clear and take action instead of procrastinating and waiting for the perfect time to ______ (fill in the blank).

Most of us think of clutter as the possessions that accumulate in our closets, drawers, or desks. This type of clutter is much more obvious than the clutter that creeps into other areas of our lives, preventing us from seeing clearly where we want to go. More obscure areas, such as emotional, social, spiritual, financial, and health, can suffer from today’s syndrome of “too much.” Too much information, too many choices, too many people, and too many commitments can result in a stuck-ness and drain on our energy.  Certainly clutter found in our physical space can stop us dead in our tracks. Lately, I discovered my lack of having a comfortable and open space for working keeps me from writing the memoir that I promised my son. When clutter accumulates in less obvious areas, we can experience the same lack of clarity. For instance, do our social schedules leave us too tired to explore other new projects or dreams? Do we need to take a look at the people in our lives that enrich it and those who do not? What and who gives us energy or drains our energy? Do we let messy financial matters leave us feeling fearful and stuck?

Recently, I had an interesting discussion with a group of women about clutter/declutter and how it shows up in our lives. One of the themes that kept coming up was the difficulty of putting what “we” want in the forefront because of our prior roles as mother, wife, daughter, career woman, or student. We discussed how these years of past primary responsibilities could leave our lives feeling cluttered. Roles that were getting in our way of answering the age-old question, “What do I want now?”

After much exploring and discovering what might be possible in the Third Act of Life, a big shift in energy and enthusiasm could be felt. We took a look at all the ways that clutter can sneak in, keeping our vision cloudy. Wanting our unclutter journey to be successful, we started with the easiest area first. We declared our plan publically to the group, enhancing our commitment to follow through. I loved hearing vows made to simplify and make space for learning new languages, painting, writing memoirs, training animals, and discovering new music. We all agreed spaciousness must be created before we can answer, “What’s next for me?”

Janis McDonald, Professional Health Coach, Functional Aging Trainer, Private Gym. 152 0457. Follow the Live Like You Can! blog. Go to


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