"I Just Don't Have The Time to Declutter"
One of the arguments that I've been hearing lately against decluttering is that, "I just don't have the time to declutter." You work full time; have a husband, dog, and kids; there's soccer practice and violin lessons during the week; church on Sunday...there is just always seems to be something going on. When you do catch a break the last thing that you want to do is work! I can't say that I know exactly how you feel or what you are going through but I can empathize with you. There have been seasons in my life where I felt like I was running an endless race; moving from one task to another, never having a chance to catch my breath. It is not my intention to push you or even to convince you that you need to declutter. I am a believer that we all have to get to a place where we are broken and realize that "somethings gotta' give" before we ready to make a change. We're all marathon runners at heart but after a while our legs are going to give out. We all get to this point eventually because we are human. We are not robots, we are not capable of "perfection" no matter how hard we try. We have incredible minds and bodies that only work at full capacity when they are loved, nurtured, and treated with respect.
So back to the whole, "no time to" / "to busy" argument, I would like to challenge on this. I encourage you to take a good hard look at your schedule and evaluate everything that is on it. Are all of these tasks and responsibilities really necessary - do they really align with your values? I have a hunch that there is at least one or two things on there that you could take off. Whether there is or isn't, my general advice is to take the decluttering process step by step. Depending on where you are in it, it is easy to become overwhelmed. My advice though is to take a deep breath and to break down what you need to do in the form of a to-do list. Then, pull out your calendar and set a time and date where you will tackle one of the tasks. Remember to be reasonable when making these tasks - the key is attainability. We want to set action goals, tasks that are clear and easy to accomplish (i.e. schedule Anna's doctors appointment, write blog post for "I Just Don't Have the Time..", clean off one of my pantry shelves). Its when our tasks become too big that we are setting ourselves up for failure. We also want to make sure that we set aside enough time for each task. Since most of the tasks that we have written on our to-do list are attainable, they should be able to be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, say after work one night. Tasks that require a bit more time can be reserved for the weekends.*
The question of time really comes down to this: do we have the time to love and respect ourselves? While I find immense value and satisfaction in loving and serving others I believe that I am only able to do this when I make time for myself. We are able to give so much more when we are nourished and rested, when our minds are at peace and our bodies strong. By simplifying our lives we are able focus more on what is important to us, what we value. De-cluttering is so much more than getting rid of physical items. The process results in us having more time, more money, and less stress; it is life changing.
* I know that for some, the weekends can be just as busy as the weekdays so my advice then is to take time off of work. Yep. A couple of days fully devoted to de-cluttering. Have a friend, family member or professional come and join you as the process can be overwhelming; but remember that is do-able.
Photography by Zoe Grant.