Make room for what matters

July 5, 2017

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

I don’t know about you but it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed. Life offers many pressures–some inevitable, some self-inflicted. For days or week at a time, I can feel like I’m slowly drowning. People say you should make room for what matters and I’ve lived it.

Make room for what matters

Too often, we think of it too nebulously. Or we think of it in terms of something like “Ah, yes, I have to clear mental space so I can finally write my book.”

There is an element of simplifying our lives so we don’t buy into “the tyranny of the urgent” and end up wasting our time on what was pressing instead of what was important.

Making space in your mind and psyche is important!

But my biggest lesson in how to make room for what matters came during…

The Great Declutter of 2015.

It was the book Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp that drove the point home and it had to do with actual, physical STUFF.

To live the life you want, you have to get rid of anything that isn’t getting you closer to your dreams.

I know that sounds a little “woo woo.”

Your “dream,” by the way, could be a tidy family room or a walk-in closet you can actually…walk in.

But let’s say you want to write that book. If 5% of your day is taken up with looking for lost items because your home lacks functional storage due to overflowing closets…well, if you declutter your closets and organize your day-to-day items, you’ve got 5% of your day back to write your book.

At the time, I wanted to do more to help out the Gilbert Historical Museum, host more events in my home studio and get back to my love of card making.

The first room I decluttered was my studio (and former craft room) and I got rid of 90% of my craft supplies.

I’ll admit, it was a painful process and hard to let go.

I wasn’t a crafter anymore. I was a museum volunteer, a hostess and an occasional card maker.

I created space for a bin for my museum paraphernalia to go so now it’s all in one place when I need it. I put all my Style School and speaking supplies together. And I reorganized my card-making supplies for more of a “grab and go” concept that works for my life right now.

I literally had to make room for what matters.

Our lives are constantly shifting and morphing so we have to take time to inventory what still serves us well and what needs to go.

We cannot move on to the next season, up-level our businesses or pursue a new passion if we don’t take time to make room for what matters.

The other key point I took away from Clutter Free?

Don’t focus on what you’re getting rid of…focus on what you’re keeping.

It’s the difference in decluttering your bookcase then staring at the boxes of books you’re donating instead of admiring your newly refreshed bookshelves with lots of white space.

I loved seeing empty cubbies on my IKEA bookcase! It was exciting to imagine what could fill those spaces. Just having some white space was a relief. 

More than physical space, focus on the potential of what could be. A new opportunity, a new relationship, a slower pace. There is something to the concept of giving up something to get something. Every time I’ve passed up an opportunity or turned down a high-maintenance client, something even better came along soon after. It’s almost uncanny. 

As we adjust to not having a housemate after 1.5 years AND our new addition due in September, we’re moving around furniture and making our spaces more functional for how we really live. I’ve decluttered even more. I just took another trunk full to Goodwill (and yet another in the week since I wrote this).

Whether “stuff” or in life, we have to embrace a “one in, one out” concept…knowing it will constantly evolve.

Adding a new activity? Quit one. Bought a new outfit? Purge one you don’t love anymore.

Yes, it takes work. (Sooooo much work)

But it’s worth it.


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