Does Decluttering Make Us More Spiritual?
Every time I clean and declutter a room in my house it makes me feel so happy. It doesn’t matter what room or area I’m decluttering. It could be getting rid of the clothes in my closet, emptying out a kitchen drawer, even cleaning out my car.
It feels good to declutter.
I thought the reason it felt so good was because I felt like I had accomplished something. And, was able to scratch items off my to do list. But, the more I learned about minimalism, the more I realized there is something more to owning less stuff.
Does decluttering make us more spiritual? Yes, the process of decluttering can definitely help us become more spiritual. When we remove the things that distract us in life, we create space to question what we value. The result of these questions could deepen our spirituality.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
First, I want to talk about the similarities between minimalism and spirituality.
Second, I’ll talk about what “clutter” looks like in today’s world and the reason we hold on to it.
Last, I’ll talk about some of the spiritual growth you can experience when you declutter.
What Makes Minimalism and Spirituality Similar?
The minimalism movement and spirituality have a lot in common.
Both help us assess our lives to determine what we value most and guide us to find meaning and purpose in life.
Both encourage us to look within. With minimalism we’re trying to find inner contentment with less stuff and distractions. With spirituality we spend time in introspection to learn who we are and why we are here.
The similar characteristics can create an overlap in someone’s life. In fact, minimalism could open up the gates and promote spiritual growth. And, a spiritual life could encourage someone to declutter live with less.
What Does Clutter Look Like in Today’s World
When we think of clutter we tend to assume we are talking about the accumulation of material things. But in today’s reality, clutter is more than just things. It can be anything that distracts us from the things we value in life.
Below you will see four things we could consider as clutter in today’s world.
Our cell phone is a primary example for our “digital clutter”. There was a time when we didn’t feel it necessary to carry a phone with us everywhere we go. Now, it’s like we can’t live without it. Everywhere you look, people have their heads in their phones. People are seeking connection but not actually achieving it.
The debt to income ratio is a primary example for our “financial clutter”. The debt to income ratio was at an all time high of 178% in the fall of 2018. This means for every dollar someone earns, they owe $1.78. No wonder people are struggling financially, stressed out and feeling discouraged. Not living within our means can result in owning too many material things.
The number of people who are obese is a primary example for “food consumption clutter”. The obesity rate is at an all time high and it’s completely preventable if we focused on eating less bad foods.
Our culture’s rat race mentality is a primary example for our “time clutter”. Many people have this rat race mentality and are on autopilot trying get ahead. Wanting to make more money to buy things we don’t need is exhausting. This repetitive lifestyle leaves no time for relaxation or enjoyment.
Why do we keep clutter in our lives?
When you read the above examples, does it make you question what our culture is thinking? We know the above examples are not good for us – why do we keep doing it?
The need for a connection and constant approval could be why we are always attached to our phones. Social media gives us validation and gives us the false sense of connection. In addition to approval from our peers
The desire to find happiness and hope for a better life could be why we spend things we can’t afford. Being like our “neighbours” could also trigger our need for approval. If your neighbour is go down south for the winter, you may suddenly have this desire to do the same.
Finding happiness and comfort in food is definitely the reason we over eat. Many people are emotional eaters (myself included!) and we seek comfort in things that aren’t really going to give us the comfort we need.
The need for security and funding our spending habits is what feeds the rat race mentality. When our identity is wrapped up in our careers we have a hard time letting go and taking time for ourselves.
How will decluttering promote spiritual growth?
When we have clutter in our lives it usually means we are avoiding something – and we are procrastinating. We don’t want to confront the realization we’ve gotten off track and we need to make a change.
Removing things from life can be hard because we tend to place a lot of power in material things. Material things gives us the false idea that we have security, a sense of value, and a sense of who we are. Sometimes, we can’t let go of something because it holds a sentimental value. The object brings memories we don’t want to forget.
As you declutter, expect some questions to come to mind. Asking yourself these questions is what’s going to encourage your spiritual growth. You will have to answer your questions and you will pay attention to the things you hold value in.
This introspection and self realization will shift your perspective.
You’ll be more intentional about the things you consume and you’ll look for more ways to declutter. Spending time in introspection will help create space and help you learn how to let go of things.
The shift may even encourage you to take some time away from the chaos of life. A simple example of this would be shutting the cell phone off during non work hours or on holiday.
If you have to clutter in your financial life, you could create a budget to follow. Have the intentional of eliminating debt which will result in less stress.
How Much Will I Have to Declutter
Some people may ask, how much will I have to declutter to experience spiritual growth?
The time frame will be different for everyone. Everyone will be unique when it comes to exploring the emotional reasons why we hang on to things. It can be tough to think about the past although it can be super therapeutic.
Don’t rush through it and take your time. When you’re ready to let go you will. Some say it gets easier the more you do it.
The Peace that comes from Owning Less
When we hang on to things and give them power, the things we own actually end up owning us. By removing things from our lives, it’s as if we’ve taken off the shackles, and can move and breathe again. This results in a feeling of calmness and peace.
Is there a connection between Minimalism and Religion leaders?
Many spiritual leaders were not known for the material things they owned. They all led simple and humble lives. Reminding us to not get caught up in the hype of consumerism. Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Gandhi, Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, Lao Tzu to name a few.
What’s the difference between Spirituality and Religious?
Spirituality being concerned with the human spirit or soul, as apposed to material of physical things. It includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. This leads many people on a path to search for the meaning of life.
Religious is a belief or practice forming someone’s thought about or worship of a divine. Something bigger than ourselves.
People can be both spiritual and religious, or just spiritual or just religious. Many would say it’s all connected.