Barbara Tako is a breast cancer survivor (2010), melanoma survivor (2014) and author of Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We'll Get You Through This. She is a cancer coping advocate, speaker and published writer for television, radio and other venues across the country. She lives, survives, and thrives in Minnesota with her husband, children and dog. See more at www.cancersurvivorshipcopingtools.com,or www.clutterclearingchoices.com.
Breast cancer, melanoma survivor and clutter-clearing speaker/author clears her cancer and household clutter.
Did you find that cancer adds to your mental and external clutter? Unfortunately, physical clutter can add to mental and emotional clutter and stress in our heads. During active treatment, I had accumulated pharmaceuticals, wigs and more in my bathroom. After active cancer treatment, I found weeding out clutter was a cleansing process. It literally reduced my mental cancer clutter and helped me move forward in my life.
There are so many thoughts, cancer and other things, that weigh us down. "shoulds" and “oughts” can create guilt. Guilt wears people down. Guilt drains us. Stop thinking and start weeding out! Clearing clutter will help you have more energy. I know I needed to find energy after chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries.
The physical clutter takes up precious home space. How can anything new and good come into my life if the space is full of old clutter and sad memories? Clear clutter to free up space for good things. You deserve them.
Physical and mental clutter burns up time. Think about the time and energy to store and maintain excess stuff. As a survivor, do you feel you have time to waste? Clear clutter to free up time for your priorities. You can remove any lingering cancer items—at least from direct and daily sight. Be kind to yourself and remove the reminders.
Emotional clutter, especially cancer-related clutter, eats at us. Things can and do remind people of bad moments in their lives. Think about a gift from someone from a relationship that later ended badly or cancer paraphenalia that is still in your home. We don't need stuff in our lives to beat us up, ever.
Clear your clutter to enjoy peace and order. You deserve it! It can be hard to maintain inner calm when faced with outer disorder. Your home can be a relaxing, rejuvenating and healing space. Your home can help improve your focus rather than drain it away. You can achieve greater peace and order by clearing household clutter and cancer clutter.
Are you feeling motivated to weed out that clutter? There is no one right way to clear clutter. We each have different personalities, styles, ages and perspectives on how our homes can support us. Try the ideas below from my book Clutter Clearing Choices and adjust them to fit your way of doing things!
The piece method: This one is for people who are busy or don’t have much energy and can't create large blocks of time to deal with clutter. Here, you whittle away at your clutter for as little as 10 or 15 minutes per day, or you can limit yourself to tackling a small amount of space at a time, perhaps one shelf or one drawer at a crack. Try using this technique three to five times per week to stay on top of household clutter. You will make significant progress this way.
The as-you-go method: I created this technique to make clearing clutter and staying organized into a life habit. With this technique, you get in the habit to look for clutter as you move about your usual household activities. If you open a drawer in the bathroom, remove the stuff you never use, like any expired medicines and samples that no one has ever used. If you open a kitchen cupboard to get a cup for coffee, quickly donate the extra mugs that have been cluttering up your cupboard space. How many mugs do you have in how many styles? If that many people actually stopped by at once, wouldn't you probably use disposables? It becomes a habit to look for outgrown items in your space and regularly sell or donate them.
Make your home into a more clutter-free space to create a calm haven to restore and energize you—a needed event after cancer. Weeding out clutter isn't to get magazine-cover home "perfection." The goal is to free up your time and energy and create a home that supports you as you move forward through cancer and beyond.