I believe, with my whole heart, that the most important thing a person with CI can do (besides taking great care of yourself) is to reduce clutter in your life. I know this is a wildly popular topic – one that is covered everywhere from blogs, YouTube channels, books and magazines dedicated specifically for the purpose to teaching people how or the reasons to declutter.
Early on in my diagnoses I realized I needed to jump on this simplifying/decluttering bandwagon if I was going to be able to navigate the CI life with any success. But getting to a more simple life (or as simple as it can be in this world) has been an ongoing process and one that put me on a quest to accomplish this goal.
I searched on-line and in bookstores for reading material spurred on with the hope that I would read THE passage that would enable me to create my new living space. Numerous books and many reading hours later, I attempted different cleaning and decluttering approaches and was ultimately frustrated with the end results. I quickly learned no book I had read (I realized there could be some out there and I just haven’t found them yet) touches on how difficult it is to declutter when you are chronically ill. Decluttering is a monumental and exhausting task, even if your home wouldn’t make it on an episode of Hoarders or Buried Alive – because let’s be honest…….that is a whole other issue.
The most important point is that you have to want to declutter your home. Despite all the benefits to having less stuff around: more visually pleasing living space which creates less stress and less stress is important for all of us with CI; cleaner air because of the reduction of dust; you will know what you have which can save you money and we all need more of that to pay for our ridiculous endless medical bills; easier to get to what you need therefore using less energy finding/retrieving items; less guilt looking at unorganized and cluttered spaces……….really the list could go on and on. But first you must really want to take on this task because it is an enormous undertaking requiring patience, persistence, dedication, introspection and – the big one – the ability to let go of the past.
Letting go of the past is a hard one for most of us. We never imagined our life would turn out this way……….we were so energetic, full of life, bursting with goals and dreams and our living space reflected that – filled with things that we use to be able to enjoy but now they have become a constant reminder of what is not to be. Letting go of these things can be very difficult as we tend to see this purging as giving up and giving in to the stark reality we don’t want to accept. Instead of focusing on my past, I had to force myself to instead view my decluttering episodes as events to make room for my future. Was this easy, hell no, and it still isn’t. But living in the past only holds you back from what could be.
Until next time………………
p.s. Don’t forget YOU are a superhero!