Getting Rid of the Clutter

Sel freflection is the first step to

Some travels are not literal. Not in the physical sense. Sometimes we don’t really move anywhere, and yet, we wander – in our minds.

Time of Self Reflection

My heart is so very restless. This past month spent at home has been so tiresome for me. I don’t remember being so down, unmotivated and lazy since the end of Erasmus. Always at the end of an adventure I find myself so tired and lost. Staying at home doesn’t help me rest and recharge – it just makes me lose myself all over again. It leaves me scared and feeling trapped, like there’s no way for me to follow my dreams anymore. Deep down I know it’s not really true, but this is the effect that staying put too long has on me.

I’ve been wasting my time, unable to make myself do any of the things I usually love – no writing, no reading, no playing guitar, not even listening to music as I always do, no drawing. I barely even went out for a coffee, or to a proper party, or even a bike ride and a walk. I closed myself inside my head and into my room all over again, and I felt as if I was sinking.

There was so much mess in my head. I had to do something to clear my mind, to wake up.

Going Dark, but Only to Shine

I looked around my room, dreading the clutter that screamed at me from every corner. I had gotten used to living only out of my two suitcases while I was volunteering in Spain, and for the last two months I traveled around only with the small-size suitcase. All the stuff I had lying around my room seemed so useless now. For days and weeks I thought about organizing the mess and getting rid of unnecessary stuff, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even unpack my damn suitcases. I just kept pulling out pieces of clothes along the way, as I needed them, and then piling them up with the rest of the unused stuff in my messy closet.

So it kept on cluttering.
Things. Things. More things. Loads of useless crap.

Everything was suffocating me. One day late at night, after hard but necessary conversations with various people about my extended summer hibernation, I found myself barely able to breathe, on the verge of a panic attack.

So, so many things always waiting for me to come home.

_Clutter in your physical surroundings will

But I come home rarely now. And I always want to leave again. And I will never again need most of those things.

I cried for hours that night, scared of my own personal “monster under the bed”, and I knew this had to be the end of it. I was determined to start cleaning up the very next morning.

Getting to Work

So for the past two days I’ve been digging through my highschool and university scripts, photos, and souvenirs. Many times I found myself smiling over an old photograph, postcard or a birthday card. I shed a few tears over old love letters. I laughed at silly diary entries from primary school times. I cuddled for a moment with every teddy-bear that had ever been given to me by a family member, boyfriend, or a friend. I traveled back in time, recollecting memories forever stored within me. The good and the bad.

But I’d had enough, so most of the crap had to go. And so it did. There are no more photos on my walls. The pictures and souvenirs have all been organized in the boxes and put away inside the closet.

I packed most of my toys and half of my clothes into bags and took them to an orphanage. I’m done with keeping my old jeans around, just in case I get fat. I refuse to get lazy and gain too much weight again, thus I won’t need my chubby-Nina-jeans.

I used to keep my university scripts before because, you know – I will be a teacher too, I might need these papers with phrasal verbs exercises for fifth graders, I might even need those endless lists of old Croatian dictionaries, all with the names of authors, years of publication, and Latin versions of titles.

Bullshit! How the hell will I ever make use of a half-ripped script about old Croatian literature? Or a notebook with syntactic analysis of some random English sentences?

No, I will not need any of those, because my dream is to travel, and when I will be teaching in some foreign country, I sure as hell won’t be dragging all those papers across the globe in my luggage. And so, tons of papers I had accumulated over the years of school and studying have all gone to recycle bins.

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It's

As long as I am holding on to all of the things that seemingly give me security, I will never be able to chase my dreams of adventure, my dreams of seeing and experiencing the world.

As long as my room feels too much like a home, I will keep lulling myself to sleep every time I visit, instead of taking necessary steps to keep moving. I can’t go on being free as long as I am afraid to let go of too much security.

There is no room for positive new things to come into my life, as long as I am lying around, brooding over the old baggage left over in my head.

Cleaning the clutter somehow helped me release the negative energy accumulated in my body over the time. Now it’s clean. Now it’s fresh. Now it’s light.

And I am ready for the next trip.

Over to you!
Do you ever clean your living spaces to clear your mind?
What are your decluttering rituals?
Tell me in the comment section!

4 thoughts on “Getting Rid of the Clutter

  1. I teach English. I feel like running away and travelling. My mind is much of a mess as yours is. Even these choppy sentences are just there. The feelings are the same but I have no strength to say all that is on my mind. I got rid of the burden that some people left on me, but am still restless. I need to travel, see the world. I may have been a small town girl, but I need freedom.


    • Hi May, I know exactly what you mean. I was also born and spent most of my childhood years in a small town, before I moved to a bigger place for high school and university. But restlessness is just here, I have this inexplicable need for constant change in life. I feel like moving somewhere else every several months, doing something different, meeting new people. And for the past 2 years I’ve managed to do so. I believe you can do the same, you just need to ditch the fear and make that first step for the first big travel or move to a different place. There are ways, you just need to dig and find what works best for you. Did you check Workaway or similar web pages that can help you to travel cheap and exchange a few hours of work for food and accommodation? I absolutely loved it, and can’t wait to do more as soon as I can!


  2. Nina, this is a really excellent entry. I’ve been dealing with the same issue lately and I still find it hard to declutter my life. I started with myself (on the inside) and I have to say I am feeling better already, though I still need to get rid of useless objects in my home (memories and souvenirs are the hardest part for me). Just two months ago I gave 6 or 8 giiiiant bags of clothes to charity – I feel so much lighter now and free! I absolutely agree with everything you wrote. I hope I manage to get rid of my clutter soon as well. Be good and good luck on your travels 🙂


    • I am glad you like the post and that you were able to connect! I also felt so much lighter after giving the clothes away, even recycling the paper. But my favorite part was giving the toys away for the kids. And regarding the souvenirs, well, I can’t get rid of all of them either, so i decided to keep some of the favorite ones and most of them are carefully arranged in the boxes now. I have a box or an album for each of my travels – it’s a good way to keep the reminders, but avoid the messy living space! 🙂


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