The Declutter Challenge

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

The Declutter Challenge

By Zelda Dominguez

I want to talk about a different kind of tidying. Yes, we hear every year about Spring Cleaning, but what I want to address is much more of a deep cleaning.

I mean the decluttering of our life. What better way to begin the year. I know I have already started the challenge, and I encourage you to pray and consider starting also.

What is decluttering? It is to organize and prioritize, get rid of unwanted or unnecessary things, and/or eliminate extraneous things or information.

This can pertain to our minds as well. I say this because I’m a multi-tasker to begin with, and I wear many hats. This can be a good thing for getting a lot done. But at some point, like a computer, it can go on overload and not function at its best when not maintained or cleaned out every now and then.

As I started to think about writing this article, in my home we are putting new flooring in the whole house.  We had to move furniture, empty closets, roll up rugs,  and put things in the garage. Talk about clutter! After they are done, the painters are coming to paint every room, but…. that can’t happen until I pick out the right colors! When the painters finish, new carpet will be laid in two bedrooms, and not until all that is finished can we put the house back in order. Lots of work, but I can’t wait to enjoy the end result. In the same way as this challenge!

Meanwhile I was planning a surprise dinner with entertainment for my mother’s birthday. I also currently am helping host and plan a baby shower, I help take my parents to the doctor, manage their affairs, volunteer weekly at a school,  go to bible study, babysit, ministry, and maintain all my appointments and personal responsibilities. As you can see my life is busy.

As we were nearing the end of last year, I was having heart palpitations, not knowing why. I realized I was feeling a little anxious, which is something I’ve never felt before, but my body was telling me something was wrong.

I started to feel overwhelmed. I am not the most organized person, so I could see that not having things in order added to my chaos. Chaos is stressful. Let’s look at different areas we can declutter to help us.

Declutter Your Mind:

You can accumulate this type of clutter with too much information. We live in a tech saturated society. Prioritize what information you want to put in. Think about it. How many hours are you on a social media platform? How much of that is essential information? For me, I find I go on Instagram or YouTube because I’m bored. But I am realizing it affects my ability to think and concentrate. Because with everything else in our lives, we crowd it with a lot of non-important things. This can happen from the news, tweets, social media, gossip, and any source of non-essential information.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Philippians 4: 8 says, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Toxic or negative relationships can bring you down. Set boundaries for yourself. Or just after examining it, cut it off.  Declutter by eliminating unnecessary use of the computer, phones, iPad, and television. What kind of things are you looking at? Movies, TV shows, or music with sexual content? Who do you follow, or stalk online? On top of all your obligations this can become added info that crowds, can pollute, or overwhelm you.

Declutter Your Body:

This is the clutter that also affects your well-being. Let’s begin with nutrition. We need to eliminate the bad things we put into our bodies. We can’t think clearly and it manifests different symptoms. Good nutrition is fuel that helps our body in so many ways. When we eat anything to relieve stress, that only makes us fatigued, and overeating is just as bad, resulting in an unhealthy body. Skipping meals, fad diets, prolonged cleansing or fasting, lack of sleep, misuse of alcohol, cigarettes/vapes, high caffeine drinks, excessive or lack of exercise can all eventually affect our lives.

What does your schedule look like? Do you over commit yourself? Do you schedule time to rest, or do you have FOMO (fear of missing out)? The way you fill your spare time often is the reason that you can only give God one hour a week every so often. Perhaps you need to declutter your recreational time and reevaluate.  The Lord says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Revelation 2:4 says, “But this is what I have against you: you do not love me now as you did at first.”

How’s your water intake? When’s the last time you have done some self-care and had a physical checkup, mammogram, or dental exam? Are you on a medication you don’t take? What does your sugar intake look like? Believe me, as I write this, I’m speaking to myself. Why do we abuse our bodies like this, and then expect it to run at full capacity?

Declutter Your Emotions:

This is the clutter that affects your soul. You need to honestly consider everything you deeply love, and need to eliminate or deprioritize anything that competes with your love for the Lord. This is the seat of your senses, desires, affections, emotions, and appetites.

Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your affections on the things above not on the things of this earth.”

Do you still hold on to things of the past? Past hurts, unforgiveness, regrets, failures, mistakes, or grudges? Do you continually go back to past experiences? They dominate your heart and you can’t feel joy, peace and, contentment. Have you kept a secret that you’ve never told anyone? Are you an angry person or a complainer? Have past relationships made you bitter? Talk to someone you trust, seek counseling.

Are you fearful or worrisome? Do you dwell constantly on the things you can’t control? Are your expectations unrealistic and set yourself up for disappointment?

Philippians 3:15 says, “All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well.”

2 Corinthians 7:2 says, “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”

Psalms 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”