So I’ve decluttered … now what?

I’ve been writing a lot about self-development lately because that’s where my head’s been at. But I want to get back to minimalism for a second, in part because I feel like these two spheres really intersect.

For me, it was the process of decluttering, getting rid of excess stuff and commitments, that opened me up to what I’m doing now.

If it weren’t for my pursuit of a more minimalist lifestyle, I wouldn’t have the time and energy to devote to blogging or life coaching, two things I’ve discovered a passion for.

But that jump didn’t happen overnight. In my experience, and from what I’ve read of many others’ experiences, it’s common to hit a post-decluttering slump.

Once you start making progress on decluttering, there’s almost a high associated with it! It feels liberating to free up your space and your time. But eventually, you start to run out of things to declutter, and the elation fades. So then what?

Here’s what I’ve learned.

It takes time.

I didn’t really get going on this blog until almost a year after I’d culled most of the areas of my home. And I didn’t sign up for my life coaching course for another 6 months after that.

I had to mull these ideas around in my mind for a while, let them percolate, before I was ready to take action. These goals were not on the radar when I started out on my journey. It took me time to figure out where my true interests lay and where I wanted to go from here.

Now, you might already have something in mind that you’ve been longing for the opportunity to spend more time on.

But if you’re not sure what the next step might look like for you, that’s okay. Be patient.

Make a bucket list and choose one thing to start on.

If you’re not good at being patient and you just want to do something already, consider brainstorming a list of things wild ideas you’ve always wanted to do or thought about doing.

Pick one and try it on for size!

This approach is also helpful if you’re not quite certain of your path forward but you need to do something to …

Resist the urge to shop.

One of the biggest struggles I see people face in pursuing a life with less isn’t getting rid of unwanted things, but rather stemming the flow of new items coming in.

If you’re feeling an odd sense of emptiness after you declutter, it’s really easy to revert to old habits and shop to fill that void!

Making a purchase gives the brain a dopamine hit that essentially says “this feels good”. But that feeling is incredibly temporary. Once it wears off you need another thing, and then another thing, just to keep the thrill alive.

The last thing you want to do is spiral into a shopping spree and undo all the progress you’ve worked so hard for.

My biggest tip here is to remove temptation. Akin to not buying chips if you’re trying to eat healthier.

Unsubscribe from email advertisements. Don’t go anywhere near the shopping centre. If you absolutely must go, because you genuinely need something, take a list and stick to it.

Some final thoughts.

Our society today is one of instant gratification. We’re not very good at sitting with any kind of feeling of dis-ease. So the post-decluttering blahs might feel, well, uncomfortable.

But I encourage you to maybe just sit with it for a while. Feel the feels. Spend some time reflecting on what you truly value.

You might just learn something about yourself along the way.



2 Replies to “So I’ve decluttered … now what?”

  1. Great post!

    Resisting the urge to “fill the void” in our minds and in our living space after decluttering is so important. There is a lot being written right now about embracing the “emptiness” and “boredom” of quiet. It’s in that space that so much of the truly restorative work on our lives and our souls actually takes place.

    Recently, I too have embraced the call to declutter. The impact on my peace of heart is tremendous. This is actually wisdom that countless elders of various faith traditions have espoused over the centuries. The path to a transcendent life begins when we cut of our addictions to the “things” of this world.

    Thanks for writing this!

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