The Watering Hole Blog

Are you STUCK? Decluttering Can Help

  Updated Apr 2nd, 2016

Are You STUCK?

“When we attack clutter with action, clarity, and a good spring cleaning, creative potential is unleashed.”

– Katherine Gibson, Unclutter Your Life

Feeling a bit like a crusty old barnacle cemented to a rock?

Fear not! Spring is upon us and what better time for a fresh start…whatever that might mean to you.

Several years ago, when I was still living in Calgary, I de-cluttered my home and, sad as it is to admit, I didn’t even recognize some of the items unearthed…and they were in my house! (So if anyone’s missing a large peanut-shaped covered dish with a porcelain squirrel inside, my apologies but it’s gone now.)

I gave over 100 boxes of STUFF to charity and recycled at least 50 boxes of paper and cardboard.

And what else did I find beneath all that clutter, chaos and dust?

A beautiful – and ridiculously large for one person and two dogs – home, complete with gorgeous hardwood floors, funky furniture and stunning artwork. Who knew?

When I first contacted my realtor, Sherry Heinrich, a few months earlier about my dream of moving closer to the ocean, her first piece of advice was, “De-clutter…as in starting now.”

Her second piece of advice was to consider hiring, when the time came, a professional home stager. The de-cluttering concept I understood in theory (although practicing it was a different story); the staging idea not so much.

Alas, four months later, my home was – literally – hundreds of pounds lighter and my dream of moving to Vancouver Island stronger than ever. Sherry was flabbergasted at my de-cluttering efforts and rewarded me with an introduction to Karyn Elliott of Crazy House – the stager who would ‘dress’ my home for sale.

Karyn whirled through my place, leaving a trail of orange sticky notes tagging items that needed to be removed and suggestions for me to tackle – from painting the pink and blue bedrooms back to white (which took three coats!), moving furniture, taking down all artwork (which she later put back up but in different places), purchasing new bedding, towels, soap dispensers, lighting, etc. The total investment was $2500 and the end result was well worth it.

As a good-bye gift, Sherry had a pretty little photo album made up for me that showcased the look of my staged home. Here are a few pics:

living room in calgary home
Living room in Calgary home, 2010
dining room in calgary home
Dining room in Calgary home, 2010
blue bathroom in calgary home
Master bathroom in Calgary home, 2010
den in calgary home
Den in Calgary home, 2010

However, true to human nature, I quickly realized that I loved the new look of my old digs…and I got to thinking that I would be a-okay if my home didn’t sell because I was so happy here! I could stay right where I was and enjoy my –

My phone rang.

It was Sherry. An offer had just come in on my house.

Most barnacles don’t jump off their rocks. They either fall off when they die (and even then, sometimes not!) or get pried off by forces bigger than them.

After only 5 days on the market, my home was conditionally sold. I dare say the universe was gently prying me off my safe little rock. My friend and a mentor of mine, Brian Willis, likes to refer to this apt quote by William Jennings Bryan:

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice…it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

If you’re feeling rather stuck, here are 3 things you can try to help get you unstuck and back on track towards living the life you love:

1. De-clutter: start to shed those things – furniture, clothes, files, dishes, thoughts, feelings – which are no longer working for you.

2. Ask yourself: are you excited about the changes you can make – or are you content with the status quo?

3. Get a new and different perspective – preferably from an objective source – on an old, but familiar-to-you, situation.

And, perhaps most importantly, if you really want to get unstuck, be sure to set tangible goals:

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

– Napoleon Hill

P.S. If you are in the Calgary market and looking to sell your home, I highly recommend Sherry Heinrich as a real estate agent and Karyn Elliot as a stager 🙂

Related blogs by Maryanne:

And then the Day Came…

Right on Time

Order in the House – 4 Steps to More Serene Surroundings

Say WHAT? Sorting Other People’s Stuff

Letting Go of Always Letting Go

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. Her next book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams will be released in Fall 2016. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc. and the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please subscribe here.

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8 thoughts on “Are you STUCK? Decluttering Can Help”

  1. HOW TIMELY YOU ARE MA! Just got back from …. well I think you might know the story… and I really need to unpack and get my house in order, needs a major decluttering and I have no idea where to get the energy to figure out what to do! So the universe just sends me a little tweet from you to let me know the importance of lovely, creative, funny and inspiring people in my life! so glad you are in my life!

  2. Timely article! After de-cluttering at a good speed for the last few weeks, I hit a roadblock. After reading the article, I am happily back on track!

  3. Hi Lynne! So glad this decluttering blog came to you at just the right time 🙂

    I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed…so baby steps is the trick, I think!
    Take care,

  4. Do you have before and after pictures? Sometimes we don’t see the clutter in our own house and from these pictures it just looks like someone else’s’ house.

  5. Oh…good point, Jac! I am sure I have lots of pre-staging photos of my old Calgary home in it’s natural state 🙂 I will find some and add them into the blog to show the difference!

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