Letting Go of Clutter For the New YearJanuary 31, 2014

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This is a guest blog from yoga teacher, writer, philanthropist and Prana ambassador Amy Ippoliti, part of our on-going partnership with Prana—here’s to finding a little “om” in every day.

This New Year, I’ve re-committed to my own self-expansion through the joy of space clearing. Sure, will power and a connection to a higher purpose is essential in making dreams come true in 2014, but none of that matters if our physical environment is in disarray.

My friend and Feng Shui expert, Ariele Joseph Towne, once shared a saying: “What’s going on in your space is what’s going on in your life.”

If you’re sitting in a cluttered office space, it’s likely you’ll have less energy, lack creativity, and even suffer from poor self-esteem. A messy closet can cause you to spend 15 minutes looking for a misplaced yoga top or pair of sandals when you could have already been on your mat practicing or out the door and on the trail. When you have de-cluttered the spaces in your home, your body actually releases natural endorphins that give you a surge of mental, physical and emotional energy.

When my mother inherited my grandmother’s possessions, I recommended that she hire a personal organizer to help with the resulting clutter in her home. Though it was costly, she took my advice and found a personal organizer to come whip the house into shape. Neither of us anticipated how transformational that decision would prove to be.

To fully understand the significance of what happened when my mother’s homebecame clutter free, you need to know about a concept in yoga called Kundalini. Kundalini is defined within spiritual traditions as an internal energy that can be awakened in order to purify the subtle systems of the body. It lies “coiled” at the base of the spine, and is said to be either a goddess or a sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. When it releases up through the chakras along the spine and out the crown of the head it’s commonly known in the yoga world as a “having a kundalini experience”.

So, after nearly a week working closely with the personal organizer, sorting, purging, assigning and containerizing, at last there was order in my mom’s house. When her office space was completed, she walked into the room, looked at the results and promptly felt what she described as this liberating energy move up her spine that released all the way out the top of her head!

Yep, my mom had a Kundalini experience from de-cluttering.

 

 

Besides the unbelievable spiritual benefits, some of the additional mental benefits include feeling a sense of accomplishment, increased focus, more space, openness to possibility, freed up time, enthusiasm and much more energy! Here are some of the organizing ideas that have worked best for me. They will help you kick start a powerful de-cluttering mission:

1. Identify the items you tend to accumulate like books, magazines, greeting cards, photos, business cards, unread mail, clothes you never wear, sticky notes, bills, broken items and unwanted gifts.
2. If you’re not using it, ask why. Sort items according to whether they need to be repaired, replaced or donated. Is there food in the house that is past its expiration date, is unhealthy or simply does not make you feel your best? Each time you bring something new into your home, eliminate two objects you don’t use. Remember that getting rid of things requires a lot of energy on the front end but the pay off in increased energy is totally worth the initial time investment!

 

3. Dive into it, but gradually. Take on elimination projects around the house on a gradual basis—if you try to embark on the entire home, or even a whole room in one day, you’ll be overwhelmed. Commit to one shelf in a closet, a drawer or one pile of papers so you’re doing a little bit each day.

  • Have a trash bag for items that can only go to the landfill.
  • Get out a box or two for donation items.
  • Prepare boxes for stuff you plan to store.
  • Start by sorting like items together; rubber bands with rubber bands, pens with pens, etc..
  • Allow for open space on shelves in your closets, pantry and fridge.
  • Once you’ve purged and sorted your items, be prepared to organize the things you plan to keep so they are easy to find. Everything should have its place so you can put them away where they belong.

Organizing might seem like a chore, but if you look at it as part of your overall health and well being, it’s easier to take ownership of the process and embrace it as part of what it takes to manage and live in a home or work in an office. The more you embrace it, the easier it will be!