THE ETHOS OF INTERNATIONAL DECLUTTER DAY
INTERNATIONAL DECLUTTER DAY HISTORY
Decluttering expert Breda Stack, The Declutter Therapist of DeclutterTherapy.com, decluttering author and creator of The Declutter Academy professional training came up with the idea for National Declutter Day in 2011.
Spurred on by the lack of awareness around the countless benefits of decluttering in all areas of our lives as well as the limited understanding around the challenges that so many of us face with “letting go”, Breda founded the event to champion “Declutter to feel good”. Excited about the win-win philosophy of decluttering, Breda also wanted to highlight the many natural beneficiaries of the decluttering process such as charitable causes and our beautiful environment, all gaining from the redistribution of our unwanted items.
With people around Ireland and the rest of the world embracing the campaign each year (and some even decluttering for the first time in their lives!), Breda made the decision in 2015 to extend the event globally through International Declutter Day.
If you are privileged to be in a position where you have unwanted or unused items, your decluttering can really help. Although clearing out the clutter is predominantly associated with springtime or the start of the New Year, the event is held in September as a reminder to declutter any time of year so you can make a real difference in your own life and in the lives of others.
A HEALTHY APPROACH TO DECLUTTERING
If we really want to enjoy life, it’s essential that we can create a “happy and healthy” relationship with our material possessions and living spaces.
Sometimes we get caught in habits with our wardrobes and homes that are stressful or unhelpful, and although we recognise logically that they don’t serve us, we can find it hard to break them. These may include completely avoiding decluttering, decluttering or organising non-stop, continually organising but not letting go of anything and shopping or gathering possessions to fill a void.
As human beings we can be complex, and we often fail to understand the many layers and levels of our behaviour. Our clothes and books might look nice when colour coordinated or ordered alphabetically, but this in itself doesn’t bring fulfilment or peace of mind. So many of us feel frustrated or disappointed when we can’t declutter or organise, and this just serves to weigh us down further and keep us stuck in a loop. We can be so hard on ourselves, but “forcing” or “pushing” decluttering simply doesn’t work. There is a a better way.
We need to gently identify and work through the values, beliefs and conditioning that commonly keep us stuck as well any limiting emotions such as overwhelm, guilt, shame, regret and sadness so we can begin to declutter with confidence and ease.
“Everyone knows how to choose; few know how to let go. But it’s only by letting go of each experience that you make room for the next. The skill of letting go can be learned, and once learned you will enjoy living much more spontaneously.”
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR
MINIMALISM vs. SENTIMENT
Despite the widespread promotion of minimalism, it’s just one style of interior and it’s not for everyone – we all have such different tastes and even “clutter thresholds”. Nice items are lovely to have and sentiment, when mindful of the practicalities of physical space, is a positive thing – it’s important to enjoy items that evoke special memories and associations. As we become more selective with sentimental possessions we become confident in the knowledge that positive feelings always outlast the physical items.
Although we’re continually told that we need more, material objects don’t guarantee happiness, and some of the richest people in the world admit to feeling poor. Having a relevant, streamlined, individual wardrobe and home has little to do with having lots of money or even shopping regularly. Less is always more when that less is well considered.
BIGGEST DECLUTTERING CHALLENGES
- Mistaking your discomfort around clutter for the enemy. Many people go through life avoiding decluttering because of the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that it shakes up. Even though this discomfort is our biggest teacher as it shows us what we need to change, we often fail to overcome it, and so we never avail of the countless benefits decluttering.
- Letting your perfectionism keep you stuck. We are continually sold images of perfect houses and perfect lifestyles, but they really don’t exist. We tend to think our homes or wardrobes are worse than they are and we often can’t imagine ever getting things “just right”, and this is really overwhelming and debilitating.
- Buying into sensationalism around clutter. There’s a great lack of understanding and even insensitivity around the mental and emotional blocks that so many people face with decluttering. Misuse of terms and sensationalism around “hoarding” and other misconceptions cause much unnecessary guilt and shame and just result in further avoidance of decluttering.
- Not knowing the difference between clutter and disorganisation. Although the terms are used interchangeably, decluttering and organisation are two very different tasks, and many great organisers actually find it almost impossible to declutter. Without this distinction between the tasks it’s difficult to make any real progress with decluttering.
- Not standing into your definition of clutter. Clutter is individual to all of us, and one man’s trash is certainly another man’s treasure. Those around us mean well, but if we go through life letting others determine what we keep or let go of we never create a wardrobe and home that serve or inspire us.
- Believing you can’t change. Although we may think that we will never be able to declutter because it doesn’t come naturally or it’s “just not in our genes”, decluttering is a skill that can indeed be learned. We can all change if the time is right, and people who really want to can move mountains, regardless of age or personal circumstances.
LONG-TERM DECLUTTERING SUCCESS
We can enjoy lasting freedom from physical clutter and disorganisation when we overcome any mental and emotional clutter that’s holding us back and truly let go. This guarantees us long-term success and enables us to reap the countless benefits of decluttering in our homes, families, relationships, careers, finances and wellbeing.
If you are lucky enough to own many material possessions, it’s vital that this doesn’t negatively impact your life and that you can achieve balance in this area. You deserve to wake up to a wardrobe (or closet!) where each item fits and flatters you, reflects your signature style and makes you feel confident and inspired. Similarly, you deserve a home where every room or area represents your unique tastes and requirements and make you feel comfortable, relaxed and creative. You’re in a really good place with your living space when you are happily shopping to reflect your tastes and requirements, enjoying, using and wearing everything you own and happy to let go of what is no longer loved, needed or fit for purpose and pass on with meaning.
We master decluttering when we understand that it’s not so much about the stuff but everything about how we feel and we celebrate it as an empowering, selective and life-affirming process.
ABOUT THE EVENT FOUNDER
Breda Stack of Declutter Therapy.com teaches and motivates you to break free from the overwhelm of physical, mental and emotional clutter so you can enjoy a simpler, happier life.
A Coach, NLP Practitioner, Holistic Therapist, Trainer and Author who specialises in decluttering and letting go, Breda focuses on the crucial mindset aspect as well as the practical side of decluttering to help people “LET IT GO” so they can enjoy successful, long-term change.
Regularly sharing her decluttering expertise with TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, Breda’s media contributions include the Women’s Institute (WI) global annual and Psychologies. Author of Declutter Therapy™ ultimate wardrobe decluttering experience and founder of The Declutter Academy Certified Professional Organizer online student training, Breda’s “Declutter Therapy™” is an internationally-recognised modality and training provider.
Living in Limerick, Ireland, International Declutter Day founder Breda has been passionately empowering her decluttering clients and students all around the world since 2010.
GET INVOLVED IN INTERNATIONAL DECLUTTER DAY 2017
Join in the International Declutter Day 2017 fun and declutter as an individual or get become an ambassador by encouraging others in your community to donate their unwanted items to help your good cause, association or charity of choice. Check out International Declutter Day’s top decluttering tips for individuals and communities too!