When Kitti reached out to me about contributing to her blog, I thought, “What do I have to contribute to a professional organizer’s blog?” And then the following came to me.
Since February is the month of Valentine’s Day, many people’s thoughts drift to thinking about love and relationships more than usual. That makes it a perfect time to look at how to declutter relationships and create more space in your life for ease and joy in love.
So often we get used to what is familiar and accept not just a lack of joy, but much worse, behavior and relationships that destroy and rob us of joy in the rest of our lives, because of how they make us feel about ourselves.
The hardest part of decluttering isn’t about our physical space. Purging and organizing our closets is easy compared to decluttering our relationships and dating. Relationships are messy. Life is messy; emotions can feel super messy. But there are things you can do to bring more order.
In order to declutter relationships, we first have to identify where the clutter is. Let’s look at the definition of clutter.
According to Merriam-Webster, to clutter is to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.
When you think about this with respect to relationships, what relationships are scattered enough to impede movement in your life or reduce effectiveness?
Here are a few things to consider when you look for clutter.
1. Old hurts
With whom do you have anger or resentment? Which relationships do you need to tidy up? Was there a misunderstanding? Were words spoken in anger? Maybe you need to set a boundary or ask for something from them. Are apologies needed?
2. Clean up your expectations
Stop nagging and complaining. Find a better way to deal with what you want to be different. Do you need to ask for what you need/want from your partner? Are you clear about what you need?
If you are feeling disappointed with your partner more often than you should, it is because your expectations are not being met. When you expect your partner to behave differently than the way they always have, you are setting yourself up to feel let down and your partner to feel resentful.
3. Create a sanctuary
What does your bedroom look like, literally the physical space?
Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Look around and get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful or useful to you. Replace old candles, get new massage oils, maybe even new bedding. Are there piles of old books or clothes?
If you have a partner/spouse be sure to include them in this process. If you’re single, remove evidence of past loves.
4. Toss old baggage
Is your emotional baggage cluttering up your relationships? Did someone cheat on you or lie to you? Is there abuse in your past? Do you date the same type of person over and over again?
Hire a coach or work with a counselor—whatever you need to do to “let it go.” It will free you up for more joy, guaranteed! A brilliant friend once said, “We all have baggage. But will yours fit in an overhead compartment and can you identify it on a luggage carousel?”
Do you need to delete and let go of memories of past relationships? Have you created a “maybe pile” of old relationships just in case? Unless you truly intend to try again, delete their number and get closure within yourself. Cut contact if needed. Open the space for someone new in your life.
5. Stop investing in relationships that don’t move you forward
Which relationships do you need to eliminate from your life? Who, or what, are you tolerating? Maybe they drain your energy or you feel used. Maybe you have outgrown them. (It happens.) It’s okay to limit your time with them or just let it go. You’ll never need them once you move forward.