Keep Beautiful Memories

This is a great post on releasing the clutter and starting over. I’m not a hoarder but I do have a lot of stuff and clutter, and I do suffer from C.H.A.O.S (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I’ve been slowly selling and donating. At first it was because I needed the money but then I realized that getting rid of stuff that was related to my past was physically releasing many painful and sad memories out of my mind and out of my environment. It was therapeutic.

For sensitives things contain emotional memories that can contribute to ongoing depression.

 When it comes to deciding on what to toss, it’s not so hard if you only keep the beautiful memories. You deserve a new beginning.

SG x

I Was A Hoarder. Here’s How I Cleaned Out My Home, Lost Over 100 Pounds & Changed My Life

Nine years ago, time stopped. Little by little, day by day, my world became less active, less social, and less fulfilling. Like a balloon with a slow air leak, I found myself deflating.

I was childless, husbandless, and miserable in my fixer-upper home that I had no means to fix up. I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, and food had become my addiction — a numbing, comforting distraction from my problems.

I’d allowed my story of brokenness and isolation to overshadow everything good in my life, and I found myself spiraling into a sort of high-functioning depression. Sometimes, I’d find myself crying in my driveway for an hour or more before I could work up the strength to go into my house — a place I dreaded entering.

My hoarding was my biggest secret and I guarded it with my life.

Inside, unpacked boxes from my last move lay on the floor, awaiting a new home. Items I’d collected from my late mother’s estate were strewn all around. The remnants of a burglary a few years back, the mementos from old jobs and relationships all of it made my home a time capsule of “stuff” that marked each period of loss in my life. My space was just as cluttered as my mind, and as tight and uncomfortable as the weight on my body. My hoarding was my biggest secret and I guarded it with my life.

I hadn’t let anyone into my house in nine years.

My home before the decluttering process began

My weight and hoarding were proof of how I’d allowed my mind, my body, and my space to become personal prisons. Yet, late in 2013, the tide began to turn after I watched a video advertising an upcoming “Faith and Fitness” retreat. Intrigued by the notion of using my faith to reach my fitness and weight-loss goals, I attended the retreat and learned more about the importance of using food and exercise to fuel my body, my own personal temple.

Once 2014 came around, I had committed to eating healthier, exercising more, and spending time with new like-minded friends I’d met at the retreat. One of those friends soon asked me to join him while he stood in line to audition for ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss — a program that documents participants who set out to lose massive amounts of body weight over the course of a year. I was excited to support him, but I made it clear that I had no intention of auditioning myself. I didn’t think I had an interesting enough story to tell, and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of standing half-naked for the whole world to see.

My space was just as cluttered as my mind, and as tight and uncomfortable as the weight on my body.

But as time went on, my friend convinced me that the show could be an opportunity to move closer to the life I’d always dreamed of, and by the time I was selected as a cast member for Season 5, I was thrilled. But then reality sank in. I learned that participants on the show were required to allow a camera crew into their home for filming.

Needless to say, I was nearly paralyzed by the thought of letting the Extreme Weight Loss folks into my space. I hadn’t let anyone into my house in nearly a decade what was I thinking inviting more than 3 million viewers on national TV?

I still remember the moment I was standing in my backyard, waiting for my 90-day “weight-loss reveal” to my friends after a few months of intense diet and exercise. A show host asked me to tell my friends why they were in my backyard for the reveal and not in my home. I was mortified. I stood there weeping and praying, but that moment ultimately gave me the clarity I needed to move forward in my journey and release the things, weight, people, and regrets that stood in my way.

I had literally built a barrier around my house, my body, and my heart so I wouldn’t feel any sort of pain again. But then I realized that I was hurting myself more than anyone else could. It was time to open up my home.

My new, clutter-free home

After sharing my hoarding secret at the 90-day reveal, the folks at Extreme Weight Loss told me that they’d arranged for the team from another reality show, Hoarders, to come into my home and help me clear the clutter. Show host and decluttering expert Matt Paxton and his team were extremely helpful and patient with me as I made decisions about what to keep, donate, or trash.

Doing so was easier than I’d imagined it would be — once I made the decision that getting my life back in order was more important than living in clutter, isolation, and fear, releasing items from my past was relatively painless.

Within 24 hours, my home was a comfortable, minimalist space. It felt like a ray of sunshine streaming in where darkness had lived for far too long. I loved finally being able to easily maneuver around my house and allow friends back into my life. Before they left, the clutter-clearing team presented me with a small box of items that my mom had specifically marked “Keep Beautiful Memories.”

To me, this described not only the items in the box but the mentality I needed to take moving forward. I would only surround myself with the beautiful memories and allow the baggage to fall away.

I would only surround myself with the beautiful memories, and allow the baggage to fall away.

My televised weight-loss journey continued over the next year, and I found it easier to focus on my health without the emotional weight of all the “stuff” that surrounded me. Freed of the clutter, released from the harbored regret and unresolved hurt that manifested throughout my home, I lost 114 pounds and regained my health by the time the show wrapped up. I also regained a functional household, paid off my debt, and adopted my new, positive mindset through all other aspects of my life.

Each day, I continue to evaluate everything in my life and release anything that’s holding me back instead of propelling me forward.


Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

Live more by owning less

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie

The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Many begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of decluttering their homes. That’s too bad. The decluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. In fact, there are a variety of people who have come up with some pretty fun, creative ways to get started.

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byers recommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using yourimagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10.The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.



The thin line between ‘finding oneself and losing oneself.’

Your environment is symbolic of your mental space.

Feelings and thoughts that are inherently messy and disorganized reflect in your environment.

Clutter gets in the way of your dreams and all kinds of clutter can stop you from moving forward into the kind of life you desire. The kind of nourishing daily life each and every one of us deserves.

Clutter comes in many forms. Mental clutter. Calendar clutter. Spiritual clutter. And, of course, physical clutter.

‘Clutter’ series by photographer Lee Materazzi



Post by Elizabeth Gilbert

Too much clutter

Good morning, Dear Ones!

So, I’ve been on a major de-cluttering bender in my life lately, and it’s been truly wonderful.

Some of you know that I sold my house last year, in order to move into a smaller place. In the process, I shed an enormous amount of stuff — including about 95% of my books (which caused my literary friends to lose their minds, but which has made my life feel immeasurably lighter and happier).

You’ve seen me speak in these pages, too, about the radically empowering act of burning old papers and journals (and even photographs) in order to rid yourself of sad memories and clean out your house, emotionally and spiritually.

You’ve heard me say, in regard to throwing away relics of the past, “Don’t let your home become a museum to grief.”

So you KNOW I loved this podcast that I listened to last week, hosted by my dear friend Pastor Rob Bell, in which he interviewed two guys who call themselves “The Minimalists”.

The Minimalists speak eloquently about the spiritual and emotional (and financial) liberation that can come with shedding your addiction to excess STUFF. They are not monks, and they are not living on one grain of rice a day; they are just regular guys who changed their lives by getting rid of a lot of excess STUFF.

This is a really wonderful interview.

I learned a lot from it, and I think you will, too

My favorite takeaway was this — that sometimes the three most dangerous words in our lives can be: “JUST IN CASE”.

Think of all the stuff that you are holding onto in your life JUST IN CASE you might need it someday.

Think of the fear that lurks those words — JUST IN CASE! What emergencies and disasters and desperations are you imagining when you say “JUST IN CASE”?

Those three words are the very motto of scarcity-thinking. To me, the words JUST IN CASE connote the fear of poverty, the fear of helplessness, the fear of loneliness.

What would happen if you cleared out your space of all the junk you are keeping around JUST IN CASE?

How much lighter would your life feel?

The Minimalists offered this suggestion, too, which I love:

“If you can replace an object for less than twenty dollars, in less than twenty minutes, then you don’t need to be storing it inside your house.”


Get rid of it, then. You are not a Costco. You are not a Walmart. You do not need to be holding onto shelves and shelves full of STUFF, just in case you ever need it again. If you ever really need that hole-punch again, you can probably go buy one for less than twenty dollars in less than twenty minutes.

The Minimalists said that — when they applied this twenty/twenty rule to cleaning out their own houses — that they were able to get rid of about 80% of their stuff.

And with that shedding came a radical rethinking about consumerism and spirituality and debt and even physical health. (One of the guys said he lost about 80 pounds after he reduced all the clutter in his life — which doesn’t surprise me, because being buried under so much stuff makes you HEAVY.)

A dear friend of mine was in a panic a few weeks ago because she felt that she needed a new apartment. She was longing for a bigger place. She was feeling cramped and stuck and confused about her life. She felt the walls were closing in on her. She wanted to make a move. But she can’t really afford a new place right now — and realizing this fact only made her feel impoverished and small and shamed.

But then my friend did something interesting: She radically cleaned out her existing apartment. She got rid of HEAPS of stuff — including (bravely) throwing away a broken table that had belonged to her beloved (and now-deceaed) mother. She had been carrying around this broken table for years, but had never once used it. The only thing this table had ever done in her life was take up space and make her feel guilty and sad.

Then she realized, “This broken table came from my mother, but it is NOT my mother. My mother’s memory lives in my heart and in my mind; her memory does not live in my closet. I can let this table go. It is just an object.”

She kissed the table and said, “I love you, mom.” Then she hauled it outdoors and put it out on the sidewalk, and within moments somebody had come and taken it for themselves. It was such a liberation, so she kept going — she got rid of more and more and more…

After a few days of cleaning and shedding, my friend realized this: She didn’t need a bigger apartment, after all, because now suddenly she HAD a bigger apartment. She had a space that was open and airy and full of possibilities. Without having spent a single dime.

By clearing out her home, my friend brought light and space back into her consciousness — and within that light and space, she began to imagine what the next bold steps for her future should be.

She began to dream up a new life for herself, and take action toward it.


It’s the weekend, guys. I have a suggestion. Put this podcast on and listen to it as you commit to clearing out SOMETHING from your house today.

Maybe it’s one closet.

Maybe it’s one kitchen cabinet.

Maybe it’s one corner of your garage.

Maybe it’s your desk.

Or maybe you want to commit to fully liberating your entire house, and your entire soul.

Don’t be afraid to throw things away. Don’t be afraid to give things away. Don’t keep holding on to things (belongings or ideas or relationships) JUST IN CASE.

You do not need to hoard anything anymore.

You are safe.

You are powerful beyond measure, and you can live without these things.

In fact, by living without all the stuff, you may finally be able to SOAR.

LG (Elizabeth Gilbert)