Decluttering 2.0: The Missing Step You’re Probably Not Aware of
If you’ve been through the ringer with decluttering, then the words release and let go may be permanent fixtures on your frontal cortex. You know the verbiage: If you no longer love it or it doesn’t spark joy, then it’s time to say adios. And if you’ve read my book, Clutter Intervention, then you also know these items represent past identities from past relationships, past careers, or even past chapters of your life that you’d rather move on from. But there’s been a missing step to decluttering.
What we really should be doing in the decluttering process is not letting go of the past, but integrating the past.
Everything from your past, the good and the bad, has led you to this moment - to who you are now. Even if your life looks completely different than it did ten or fifteen years ago and you can’t believe you dated that person, or lived in that small town, or worked at Bonanza Steakhouse, you don’t disown those experiences as if they didn’t happen. Nor should we wallow in our stories as if they’re playing on loop. It’s when we don’t integrate situations and experiences from the past that we become stuck and our life becomes stagnant.
If that’s the case, you may be asking: why then get rid of the sorority sweatshirt or the Valentine’s Day card from your first love.
Integration happens through acceptance. Until then, we hold onto it in the form of a physical object and store it away as a disassociated aspect of ourself, not an integrated part.
For example, if you still have that love note tucked away in your nightstand, there is still an unintegrated part of yourself stuck in that 2009 relationship. Or it could be something you’d rather not deal with stuffed in the back of your closet. in either case, it’s an unintegrated shadow aspect. Contrast this with those things from the past that are true memorabilia. If it is serving you to keep something from the past, the integration will be proudly displayed in frames, photo books, or other ways to memorialize it. Not stuffed away out of sight.
When we consciously declutter we are integrating the past by observing, remembering, reviewing, and FEELING. This process can happen in 5 seconds or unfold over 5 years depending on the role it played in your life.
Giving yourself the time and space for this integration is a spiritual practice.
When you go through the (e)motions of it, you integrate it. And that’s when you are ready to let it go. You no longer need it externalized through an item. It is integrated within you. In that moment, you are automatically raised to a higher and expanded vibratory state than you have ever been in your life to date. This is the real payoff of decluttering and when you have successfully mastered Decluttering 2.0.