The Junk Room

THE JUNK ROOM – you know what I’m talking about …we all have one, or a version of it, at some point. Sometimes it looks like an attractive Balinese cabinet but when you open it old bras, paperwork in shoe boxes and unfortunately placed vases come tumbling out (yes, OK that might be me).  Or sometimes it can end up being the whole back of the house, the shed and your neighbour’s fire bunker. It is the place all that “stuff” ends up.

A junk room can happen to best organised and most ambitious person. It can happen whether you are naturally tidy or naturally lazy – or mixtures of both like most of us. A Junk room happens when everything is just too much. It happens when you have too much stuff, materially and in your head. It’s a combo. Like a meal deal – you had fries with that and you supersized it and it all just went into the junk room in your head and your house (and literally possibly on your bum). Yeah not sure about that analogy but you get the drift.

A while ago a friend and I went to help another friend, let’s call her Blythe (because that’s her name), with an overwhelming junk room. She has a small business making candles and could not see to the floor anymore let alone safely pour wax into candle holders. She was feeling overwhelmed and stifled. And decidedly uncreative.

Blythe is a super capable woman, in her 30’s, working full-time as well as running her successful small businessand a busy social life with lots of friends. Her junk room story isn’t mine to tell but I can tell you a couple of the key things I have learnt that create a junk room in your head and home:

  • Too busy and stressed.  We think we will just deal with it later- maybe next week or possibly when I get through all of Younger on Stan.
  • An overabundance of shopping/retail therapy.  We have a tendency to fall in love with a lot of things like the ab machine/vintage frock/ croquembouche pastry mould.
  • Too tired and unwell. It’s so easy to let things pile up, literally (and metaphorically) when life is giving us lemons and we can’t make lemonade cos we are just too damn tired. 

So, let’s be clear, I’m not hating on your junk room. I have had my fair share. Sometimes the junk room in your head and home is the only and best response in a situation. We need a release valve and place to hide out in the dark for a while surrounded by 50 packets of sparklers left from the New Year’s party, that we dare not light for fear of the whole place going up. That’s OK. But it’s not a long term solution. It will keep you stuck in the same space that created it and like Blythe you will feel unable to progress in a way that you want to.

So, once you feel resolved that you want to change, what’s next?

Let’s talk tips for planning to clear your junk:

  • Arrange for some help! Do an exchange with a friend for his or her time with something you can do for them. I got me some awesome candles from Blythe! (yes, the story has that ‘happy creative lady making candles again’ ending)
  • Before you do anything think about the room or space that has become overwhelming Ask yourself-  what does that particular room or space mean to you? Do you hate it – it’s the worst area in the house so you feel ok about storing stuff there? Maybe it’s never felt quite right and creeped you out. Maybe you don’t know what to do with it. Or maybe you really love it and wish you could get into it sometimes. You may want to explore something like Feng Shui to see if there any correspondences between this area and your life challenges. For example, Blythe’s junk room was in the Wealth area of her home. And this was an area she was feeling really blocked in – and she couldn’t pursue her business without that space. A Catch 22.
  • Think about how and why the junk room happened. Assuming It didn’t just explode into being one day like something from a Dr Who episode, there’s probably been a lot of throwing things in and shutting the door quickly. So, it’s time to consider how will you work on the bigger challenge. The GOOD NEWS is that actually going through this process will release more energy for you to tackle things. And believe or not some things will quite literally (and metaphorically) just disappear. You just won’t feel so weighed down. 
  • Set your intention for the process. Don’t skip this step! It just takes a couple of minutes to sit quietly and think about what you want for that space. How do you want to feel in that room? This may sound woo woo but it’s actually common sense.  You wouldn’t drive to a place you haven’t been without a map. You setting an intention is like creating your own map.   
  • You can also do a clearing of the room before you start with some incense or sage. Smoke helps stagnant energies move on. Ok that’s a bit woo woo but none the less, works!

Ready to go…

  • Be prepared with boxes, bags and textas to label them. You need to be ready to make some decisions and then have a place to put the items. Keep, Donate, Discard.
  • If you are overwhelmed, stop and breathe, drink some water (no, it’s NOT wine o’clock yet!) and think about the end result. If things are feeling too hard to decide on, put them aside. Ask your friend for help where it gets tough. They can often talk reason about the number of matchboxes, pair of socks or that signed portrait of David Hasselhoff you have been holding onto.
  • Ask your friend to take everything with them when they go….meaning all the Op shop bags. Particularly if you think you will cave and either get stuff out of them or leave them in the hall for six months as a taunting reminder.
  • Try to get the room looking as nice as you can as soon as you can. It took the three of us around 6 hours to tidy up Blythe’s space. In the process, she found her wealth in the tonnes of small change everywhere and the really beautiful stuff she had in there.

So how did Blythe feel once we finished?

“Cleaning up was just the beginning of the removal of layers of “stuff” whether it be emotional, energetic or physical items. I hadn’t realised the “space” I was taking up wasn’t just in my junk room but it was a direct reflection of what was going on inside my head.

I am now a true believer that if you take care of your physical space and your physical body then everything else follows.”

Stay tuned for more blog posts on a range of topics. Full blog posts also appear on my Intentional Interiors Facebook Page

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