"Unclutter Your Life" by Katherine Gibson 

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"Transforming Your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Space"

Physical Clutter 

"The possessions in our world that do not have a purpose, do not reflect who we are, and do not enhance our lives aesthetically or spiritually".

Why We Clutter

- Just in Case - we might need it "some day"
- Nostalgia - to remember the past
- A sense of Abundance - lots of stuff eases a poverty mentality
- A diversion - shopping is a “soft” addiction and clouds our real feelings
- To honour others - keeping gifts and family heirlooms out of obligation
- Collections - that have no meaning to us anymore

The Basics of Uncluttering

- Attack one room, corner, or drawer at a time. 
- Assess each item with these questions:
- When did I last use this and is it outdated?
- Does it make me feel good?
- Do I have more than one?
- Do I really need it? Why?
- Will my life change if I let this go?

Physical Clutter includes:

1. Closet Clutter - "Only keep clothes that make you feel terrific."

2. Unfinished Projects 

- Just finish it - divide it into smaller tasks, doing the easiest ones first
- Swap services with a friend
- Hire people to finish them
- Gift them to a friend who would love to finish it.

3. Office Clutter - Deal with every issue immediately. Postponed decisions add clutter.

4. Paper Clutter - Take Action. File. Or Discard
- Open mail beside the recycling box

Mental Clutter

"Expectations, distractions and obligations that affect our peace of mind"

Types of Mental Clutter:

1. Time - "If an activity enhances your life, embrace it and give it all the attention it deserves. If not, it’s clutter and it’s got to go."

2. Noise – If you’re not tuned in, turn it off! Consciously choose sounds in your home and office that bring you peace. Plan quiet times.

3. Technology - "puts us in a state of continual interruptions that divert us from our task."

Seven Strategies for E-mail Management

- Turn off the message alert – so you don’t read each email as it arrives
- Schedule regular times to check email – reply or delete immediately
- Create Short Answers – this will shorten and reduce the messages you receive
- Delete Diligently – if it needs saving, transfer it to a folder. Delete the rest.
- Use an auto-reply – tell people you are out and will reply at a specified time
- Take control of your in-box- be selective with your subscriptions. 
- Use Caution – Think twice before sending an email with words that you might regret later. It will take more time to do damage control than to let your emotions cool down before sending.

4. Work - "unfulfilling work that clutters life with anxiety, boredom, resentments and low self-esteem".

- Think of work as a vehicle to express your values. Be creative 
- Keep a positive attitude. Change your expectations if you can’t change your job.
- If you decide to change your job, learn new skills and make contacts in your new field FIRST

5. TV– Think of all the things you wish you had time to do. Then track how many hours you spend watching TV. You might find that you could be doing the things you wish you could do just by reducing your tv time.

6. Kid Clutter – "over committing kids with organized activities that don’t give them a sense of joy or fulfillment".
- Step aside and give your kids space to live one adventure at a time.
- Model a balanced life for your children 
- Encourage your children to live their dream, not yours

Emotional Clutter

"Unfulfilling activities and self-defeating thoughts and feelings that keep us from our highest potential"

1. Relationships – "Toxic relationships make us feel anxious, belittled, or betrayed and don’t allow us to relax or be ourselves."

Why we remain involved in toxic relationships:

- We accept what is, or hope for a change
- We retain a strong sense of loyalty
- We fear being abandoned
- We believe that we deserve harsh treatment
- We fear change and stay with people we know
Ways to avoid Toxic Relationships
- Explore reasons why you might be attracting or be attracted to people who do not honour you
- Nurture relationships through open, assertive, and honest communication.
- Choose friends who inspire, nurture and support your life’s view. Dismiss the rest.

2. Guilt – clutters us with shoulds, shouldn’t haves, and must nots

- Accept that we make mistakes and see them as opportunities to learn and grow
- Replace self-blame with self-forgiveness
- Life is a gift. Live it joyfully by asserting your right to be happy.

3. Self-Doubt – keeps us from moving forward

- Acknowledge your successes to yourself and others
- Live your own life and tune out the expectations of others

4. Worry- "what-if’s" cause us to retreat from life.

- Worry is a state of not knowing. Get the facts. Seek Solutions. Take action.
- Recognize successes and gratitudes daily. Worry abhors optimism and gratitude.

5. Money Matters – "clutters the mind with envy, greed, worry, anxiety and fear"

- Take a realistic assessment of your financial status. Education is the key.
- Financial freedom allows us to enhance life for ourselves and others…not to accumulate more clutter
- Have what you love. Love what you have.

6. Grudges –"fills us with feelings of blame, anger and hostility." 

- Forgive the trespasser (which does not mean reconciling or condoning the action) and let go of the power they have over you

"The Challenge isn’t to simplify life, but to simply live."

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Review prepared by Deborah Chamitoff - 8.23.04