We’re near the end of our declutter journey! This next step of The Declutter Code has everything to do with mental space as it does environmental. It’s a huge step because this is when we clean up the mess.
Since we’ve done the work to see through the clutter, now we can easily decide what stays and what goes. (You’re ready for this step if you read and practiced Step 8 first!)
Step 9: Sort
To sort is to categorize and arrange, and to clear away what doesn’t belong. While the act of sorting may seem largely an environmental task, sorting itself is a mental function. Sorting means evaluating necessary from unnecessary.
Sorting looks like sorting our way through negative and positive moods. Good and bad memories. Productive and unproductive thoughts. Once sorted, that which doesn’t belong or have a place in our lives anymore can get removed.
Sorting helps us recognize and remove that which doesn’t serve our highest good. When you uncover what’s not serving you, the best thing to do is to let it fall away through your conscious decision. Choose to sort what separates you from people, from peace, from the life you want to live. Choose to clear the clutter that stands in the way.
How It Clears Clutter
Sorting is clearing a cluttered mind.
Sorting is, in a big way, releasing the burden and pressure of clutter—the expectations, the demands. When we sort, we release the need to control and manipulate because that behavior isn’t serving a return to peace. It does the opposite and causes blame, anxiety and perfectionism.
If one of the symptoms of clutter is seeking to control the external world, sorting is discovering what we do and do not have control over.
Sort through your environment in people, places, possessions and priorities and determine what doesn’t fit in your ideal life. What’s holding you back from fulfillment and joy?
Because everything is infused with energy (everything is energy), if there’s an energy of anxiety around a subject or object, your thoughts about that are infecting and affecting your environment with anxious energy.
If you notice your energy drains whenever you’re around a certain person, in a certain room of the house or holding a certain object, then your thoughts about that person, room or object are stealing your peace.
On the other hand, if you notice that your energy improves around a certain person, in a certain room, holding a certain object, then the thoughts about those things serve an overarching idea of peace for you.
Sort it out, isolate and assess its energy with mindful presence and awareness, and either trash it or decide to change your thoughts about it. Use your superpower of choice.
What This Feels Like
When we sort through things in our lives—be they people, memories or objects—we can feel our way to a decision.
Sorting is letting feeling be our guide. We allow our feelings to tell us when we need or don’t need something by the way it makes us feel when we hold it or examine it. Depending on how you want to feel, feeling lets us know what can stay and what can go.
Ultimately, sorting feels like releasing the burden of clutter, releasing the weight and pressure of it. Sorting frees us from the hangups, the headtrash and the habits that keep us down. We sort through the fog and find clarity.
A Tool for Sorting: Trash Bag
A tool for sorting is a trash bag! The symbolism of a trash bag is that we can get rid of anything that doesn’t fit into our lives anymore. By now, we’ve opened ourselves up to new perspectives and maybe things we used to hold onto don’t fit anymore.
The burden of junk, unforgiveness and angst is trash. Get rid of it. Tie it up in your mind’s trash bag and throw it out.
Get rid of anything you don’t love or need in mind, body, heart and home. Toss it out without a second thought. The reason we held on for so long is just an illusion anyway. Every day, seek to trash the burdens that zap energy from your life. Find renewal often.
When I go to clean up a room in my house, I naturally grab a trash bag and eagerly start filling it up. Papers, mementos, pens with dried ink and old socks get thrown out! It’s something I do once a month and I shoot to fill the trash bag up within 15 minutes. A full trash bag is my simple aim.
As I fill the bag, I notice what I’m not throwing inside and what stays in place on shelves, on tables and in drawers. What I keep starts to shine again in relevance because my mind simplified its desires and renewed its appreciation for the things I decided to keep.
Sort and release. After sorting your possessions and priorities, release what doesn’t have a place or serve a purpose anymore. Free yourself from the burden.
Practice Sorting Today
This week focus on sorting through what’s working and not working in your life. Ask yourself, “Is this working for me?” If the answer is no, how can you begin to remove it?
Sort through your belongings, searching for what doesn’t serve you, and remove it from your life. Throw it in the trash bag! If it is an obstacle to peace, sort and remove it. Clothes, dishware, greeting cards, makeup, etc.
Sorting comes easier when we let our feelings lead the way, when we’re tapped in to conscious awareness.
Leave a comment below on your experience trashing all the clutter from your life. What does letting go feel like for you?
Excerpt taken from “The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity.”