Decluttering priorities: Which makes more sense to start with: finances and financial clutter or our regular, things and “stuff?” I hadn’t thought of this question before in quite this way, and it’s pertinent to decluttering projects to be sure. From The Art of Simple …. and here are the main points I found thought provoking.
“There’s a really significant connection between clutter and money that I have not seen mentioned in most discussions about discarding… It’s common to mention the ease of access as a reason for not needing to keep something. For example, “If I really need that again, I can just get one.” But, there’s an underlying assumption here that I think is worth pointing out. You have to have a certain level of financial stability in order to make that statement in the first place and believe that you could get one if you actually needed it.”
I commented on Crystal’s blog, because she is asking a thoughtful question I hadn’t heard posed like this. When I read and want to learn or broaden my perspectives, that’s just what I’m looking for.
Financial Clutter Looks Like This
- Reconciling habits when one of you is a saver and the other is more of a spender.
- Not wanting to give up what you used to have, even thought your job situation and financial means have changed.
- Not able to face the conversation with your spouse.
- Not “leaning in” to truly know the state of financial affairs, in detail.
- Hoping it will go away because “it’s just not me; not who I am.”
- Not seeing that this impacts your small business.
- Not learning new information or hearing new perspectives and advice; relying on your instincts, dated and possibly not very good, financially.
- Believing that you’ll be rescued by inheritance, a spouse or some other “magical” means.
It’s Hard Work to Declutter
The things is that you have to stop thinking it’s magically going to resolve itself. Financial clutter is stubborn and the toughest battle.
Decluttering is your tool to make it happen, through education, discussions, thinking and sorting out your “clutter” and pushing yourself forward in whatever ways work for you.
Making choices that align with how you want to spend your time: in the past, present, future? On things, experiences, people, education, etc.
It’s like physical clutter; although many of us have said “I just wish it would go away and I could start over,” that doesn’t happen with our things nor our financial concers.
That magical method doesn’t teach us what we are supposed to learn by leaning in and dealing with all of this. You’ve formed a habit in how you think. And habits can be broken, changed, or replaced by different habits and thinking, but first we have to be aware of what we’re thinking.
The fear of not having enough is a major mental block to getting rid of junk. Even after you’ve improved your employment and financial situation, the fear can remain if you don’t actively address it. This fear can dramatically affect the way you hang on to clutter. [Crystal’s article]
Our limited mindset disappeared and an abundance mindset emerged. [“Four Lessons We Learned from Digging out of Debt.”]
Crystal’s article has 3 questions you can start with. [article link]
In “Clearing Emotional Clutter,” by Donald Altman, a therapist and former monk, you won’t read financial clutter specifics. You WILL get many practical approaches to dealing with clutter of all types: things, thoughts, time, relationships, money and more. Mindfulness and meditation practices show up in his work, too, which is a future focus on the blog.
Use your brain’s veto power, or “free won’t.” Each you time you exercise free will and free won’t, you strengthen the intentionality circuits in your brain. You increase your ability to pause and reflect inwardly and then to choose the beneficial or healthy direction you want to take. [“Clearing Emotional Clutter.“]
Money clutter first or “stuff” clutter first? You decide. There’s no right answer but what works for you. Please do ask the questions. Both of them.
P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, the topic is all about money this coming edition. You can sign up here.
If you want to lean in and figure out what’s going on for you and how to move forward, my organizing and/or coaching services might be a good fit.