I’ve been in a lifelong battle with clutter, both in dealing with my stuff and other people’s stuff. In January 2015, I was picked to join the launch team for Kathi Lipp’s new book, Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space. It was the absolute wrong time for me tackle such a project, which naturally meant it was exactly the right time for me to wage this particular war.
Fast forward to now, and Clutter Free has taken on a life of its own, changing the trajectory of Kathi’s platform and career. It’s also transformed my life and my home. Earlier this year, Kathi asked if I would help her with a Clutter-Free Facebook group. She just needed me to post a video each week, and to offer encouragement and support to those who — like me — felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in their homes. Easy as pie, right? My home wasn’t in bad shape by my own standards, but there were areas never settled after our recent move. I decided to do the weekly work with the group in solidarity and for personal benefit. But you’ll never believe what happened next.
HGTV didn’t show up. Hoarders didn’t call. In fact, my house didn’t improve much at all. I did, however, lose 15 pounds without even trying. Yup. Fifteen pounds in two weeks. Who does that? And how? Kathi’s Clutter Free stance is that it’s a mindset, not a system, that needs to be adopted. Sure. She has a simple organizing system for those who need one, but the substance of her message is figuring out why we buy stuff, why we keep stuff and how to get rid of stuff. Keeping stuff is my challenge. During this brief program, I decided to tackle my closet first. Two kids four years apart and a commitment to the “strong is sexy” movement meant a lot of clothes in a lot of sizes taking up space. The first pass was easy. All the maternity and nursing clothes went in the “give” pile. Then went the process of tossing things that were stained, in need of repair or not my style. After that, it was the dressing room game of trying everything on to see what fit and what fit well. This is where the mental shift occurred.
In trying everything on, I realized I was only 5 to 10 pounds away from comfortably wearing many of the pants in the “too tight” pile. I had been at the same weight for most of the preceding decade, excluding pregnancies, without giving it much thought. Then it hit me. My 2007 bowel obstruction, and the associated trauma, still lingered. Deep down, I was attached to weighing 165, the weight I was when hospitalized, because I was terrified of my weight plummeting out of control like it did during my recovery. I cried. Ugly cried. And then the fear lifted as I recognized I’m stronger and wiser than I was 10 years ago.
After that moment, the weight — quite literally — fell off. I went from 165 to 162 to 159 to 155 and all the way to 149.9. In just two weeks. Obviously, my eating changed in some way. Less snacking or better choices, maybe. There’s no other logical explanation. But the mental shift made right there in my closet while sobbing was the inexplicable catalyst. I’m officially hooked on Clutter Free. So much so that I’m at it again, this time in Kathi’s Five-Week Fling Challenge with the goal of flinging 1,000 things in 25 days. Want to join me? Details are on Kathi’s blog. I can’t promise you’ll lose weight, but I can promise Clutter Free will change your life in some way.
That’s amazing, Tonya! What an unexpected gift that closet de-cluttering project gave you. Isn’t it crazy how our unexamined ideas about things can keep us stuck? I radically downsized my closet when I moved to a smaller house a few years ago, but it didn’t result in a radical downsizing of me. 😉
Our brains are a funny thing, aren’t they?