For a family of four, we don’t own much. We like to keep it that way so we can spend more money and time on moments and memories rather than up-keeping possessions.
BUT, it’s amazing how quickly the stuff piles up when you remain motionless for some time. Do you agree? I swear the stuff grows out of the walls.
Packing up our small two bedroom apartment to move back on the road after living in Burleigh for 18 months was excruciatingly painful – and we didn’t even own any of the furniture.
I discovered some interesting thought processes and feelings I went through to manage this gigantic cleansing and change. It’s not easy to move from a place of stability, security and ownership to a free-floating life where your possessions are minimal.
There will be so much going through your head as you declutter and detangle yourself from the stories of who you thought you were.
Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to move through the cleansing process of unplugging. There’s a new and better life waiting for you on the other side as you gain clarity into who you are and what is important to you.
Here’s the process I found myself moving through with tips to help you unplug from and minimize your posessions.
Be aware of your feelings.
Don’t shake them away, they’ll fester. Breathe into them. Pretend you are a curious scientist silently observing and notice what you’re feeling and where you are feeling it as well.
The common emotions you’ll feel when unplugging are guilt, shame, fear, lack, greed.
It was fascinating to notice how controlling these emotions. They keep us trapped, most of the time without us knowing it. If you approach with awareness you’ll see how this works and so be better able to unplug from it.
You can even visualize the energetic tie between each of your possessions and your body.
Does it feel like it’s choking you, pulling you, got you wrapped up in a bind?
This will better help you understand the connection you have with your stuff and whether it’s holding you back or not.
Tune into your feelings and then
Ask the right questions
- What am I feeling now?
- I wonder why I feel like this?
- What am I struggling with about this?
- What emotion is lying underneath this?
Acknowledge how you feel
I feel ….
Never say I am overwhelmed, frustrated etc. Because that defines you as being that thing. You attach yourself to it and makes it harder for you to change.
“I feel” gives it a transitory energy. You feel overwhelmed right now but in ten minutes you might feel calm.
Going into the feeling will lead you to peace, help you gain clarity to what’s important and release you from your doubts and fears.
Look to the lesson
Now that you have inspected the emotions, look to the lessons hidden within the emotions and the process of releasing yourself from your stuff!
- What’s good about this?
- What have I learned?
- What stories are attached to this stuff? How has it defined me? Who can I be without it?
- How can this empower me?
- What’s really important to me?
Be grateful, let go, embrace the new
This is a cleansing process. You can’t get through it if you don’t let go of the old and embrace the new. We’re evolving beings so the new is always a positive step forward.
I find gratitude is the bridge to help you get from one side of the other.
The process in action
The emotions I went through when it came to reducing my stuff.
Shame/guilt/greed: I feel ashamed that I’ve got so much stuff here. Most of this I don’t even care about. How greedy? How wasteful? You’re not respecting money or the environment for having so many things you don’t care about.
Overwhelm/annoyed: I don’t want to look at anything anymore because it makes me feel so awful? I’m so annoyed at myself for slipping back into gathering crap. There’s too much here to deal with I just want it to go?
Fear/lack: But, what if I need it in the future? I’ll have to buy it again and that’s not being respectful? What if I can’t afford any of this again? What if everything falls apart and I end up on the street with nothing? Hang on, I own nothing. How is that giving a good life to my children? Oh God I’m such an awful parent. I’m not giving them any security. If something happens to me they’ll have nothing. Look at their life. They hardly have any toys as it is. They’re really missing out.
The lessons and returning to your values
Breathe. Reality check. You’re releasing yourself from the binds that hold you back which you believed were valuable, but only caused you time, energy and money to manage.
Okay so your children don’t own a lot. That’s great. You’re teaching them about priorities, values and sacrifices. You’re teaching them to live a life governed by values and dreams not by stuff.
None of the stuff matters. It doesn’t really tell me who I am in this moment, but who I was in the past. Allow it to pass.
I’m holding onto this plannner, even though it weighs kilos, because it makes me feel important. Would you rather feel important or lightweight and free? Reduce the load and use a small notebook instead.
I’ve unplugged and decluttered so I can live my dream but because I believe I can give my children so much more and a better side of me in doing so. I believe in memories and moments more than possessions. I believing in having a story to tell. I believe in sharing and living a full life.
I’m doing this not just for me but the greater purpose I feel to share and help. I believe in your dreams. I support you. I know it’s my purpose and my strength. I am the person you can come to and whisper your dreams and I will say back “you can do it.” (sometimes with poms poms waving)
I am a seeker. A seeker doesn’t need much else than exploration and discovery. I’m always seeking new insights, pushing my limits, trying new things so I can gather all of this and share it with you.
Moving to the celebration and gratitude
All this time you’ve been berating myself for being careless, whimsical and a fool. Really?
You are courageous to have so much faith to cut off everything, to reinvent yourself just because you feel so called to do it. It’s brave. Be the light, be proud of yourself.
Gratitude for all my teachers, my position and privilege, the good lessons I’m teaching my girls
- Life is more important than stuff
- Experiences and moments give enrichment
- Follow joy, wonder, awe, gratitude
- Believe in the power of you and your dreams
- Give back and make life about something greater than you
Can you see this back and forth process you go through? It’s chaotic. Because change is chaotic. You can’t move through it without there being a severe shake up.
I have a bonus audio and PDF about this in my Money Cleanse and so many participants have said how much this has helped them move through the chaos of change. They had no idea that was what was happening to them they just thought all hell was breaking loose but the guide put it into perspective for them.
There’s no doubt that when you unplug from and minimise your possessions you will go through this roller coaster ride of emotions. You are letting go of who you thought you were – that’s a lot of baggage isn’t it?
But, it will help. And you’ll get better at it the more you do it.
I rarely hold onto anything anymore. I’ve tossed out old journals and photographs – stuff I once deemed was so important because they defined me and were helping me leave my mark.
Now that I’m an avid believer in simplicity and unplugging, I understand there is no value at all in holding on to this stuff. It’s holding on to a stranger’s life. I’m not that person anymore, I don’t care to be that person, and I don’t want that energy hanging around.
Sometimes we hold onto stuff because the memories are the only good things we have in the present moment. It’s good to hold onto those memories, but it’s not good to allow them to turn you from making happier memories now.
It may be different for you. You decide based upon your priorities and values, but I urge you to take the giant leap for cutting something out of your life that you thought was crucial to your identity. Just to see how you feel after it. Check in with the liberation and celebrate the new you.
Tips for minimizing and unplugging from your possessions
Put your favourite music playlist on
Everything is better when music accompanies it. Put on music that has many happy memories for you. It will help you tune into what is important while you clean and cleanse.
Complaining takes you away from the present and is pointless.
This doesn’t mean we turn our attention away from what we are feeling and what we can uncover underneath it – complaining will take you away from that task.
It means intending to be present and dealing with what comes up and perhaps enjoying the experience of cutting ties, making a fresh start and having a chance to listen to your favourite songs. When else do we get an entire day to do that?
Prepare your meals in advance
You won’t feel like making food in the middle of your pack up and cleaning. Have meals and snacks prepared so you can easily have some nourishing food to get you through the trauma!
Drink plenty of water
You know the score. Water keeps you vibrant and replenished and is super cleansing.
Have your mantras
Keep repeating your mantras to help you move through the change. Focus on positive thoughts, beliefs, the greater purpose and the change you are embracing.
Stock-take your food and toiletries
In the weeks before you start this process, stock-take all your food, cleaning products and toiletries – all those disposable items. Make it your intention to use the majority of it up before you leave to avoid dumping.
If you have a lot of a certain type of ingredient left then create recipes from them for the days before you depart to use it all. Google recipes with that ingredient and you’ll find a wide variety of options. Donate what’s left over if you can. At least to your neighbor or friends.
Start with the easiest
Start with whatever is easy for you to let go of first. Move onto the harder stuff and got through the emotion process outlined above.
Once you’ve worked through the guilt and the shame etc. accepted them you’ll find it so much easier to cull more of your stuff.
I had things packed up in boxes to keep. After going through the cleansing process I didn’t feel like keeping it anymore. I knew I was only holding onto it because of guilt, fear and lack, not because it was something couldn’t live without.
Go through this process multiple times. We ended up taking a few boxes down to my mothers and when I arrived and looked in them I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I brought down.
I’m going through a it again and minimizing even more. We have even more stuff at my mother in laws from when we left three years ago and now I look at it, I’m confused as to why we kept some stuff. Totally irrelevant.
Although, I was super excited to see two bottles of sparkling wine I held onto!!! I’ll be getting rid of those soon!!
Trash, donate, keep, sell
I explained more about this in a post I wrote before we left on our Australian road trip, which you can read here. Basically, have four piles that you categorise your things into. Go through your keep pile several times as you move through the unplugging process and gain greater clarity on what’s important.
Assess the time and cost involved in selling your items as well. It might just be better if you donate rather than sell. It depends on what position you are in.
We tend to donate more than what we sell. I like to take advantage of this experience to pay it forward rather than keep every last cent for myself. Not only is it a chance for giving, but also an opportunity to practice my faith that I am always supported and abundance will always flow to me. I don’t need to hoard.
If it costs more to maintain then to replace it IF necessary later, it’s much better to release your energetic tie to it and pay it forward to someone who can use it now.
Tap into the abundance flow – there is plenty for all, what you give returns to you and you’re always supported.
Hire a cleaner
Hindsight is a magical thing. We chose not to hire a cleaner as we were quoted $300 – $400 and thought we’d save money by doing it ourselves. Wrong choice. It took two days and was back breaking and hideous. It wiped me out for days after.
Cleanse the air
When its all done, burn some sage or spray some clearing mist so you can eliminate the rancid air and all that old energy you no longer want hanging around.
Don’t forget to breathe deep, repeat your mantras, feel good about the positive leap forward you are making in your life, and unwind with a song a dance a quick yoga session and a glass of wine with friends at the end of it all.
Want more help with conquering the clutter?
How you’ll feel at the end of your unplugging session
Clean. Free. Determined not to own so much stuff again. More connected to your values and priorities. More connected to moments and memories and those you love rather than possessions that collect dust, break, rust and lose their shine.
You’ve chosen life experiences. Celebrate that!
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How do you move through the unplugging process?