Vicki McLeod and Conny Graf. (Contributed)

#Untrending: Decluttering gives the future self elbow room

Life is simpler when we can find what we are looking for.

Ease and flow are the hallmarks of a peaceful life. Along with a sense of time abundance, these are vital components of true in-the-bones contentment, or what I call ‘everyday happiness.’

Too much stuff cramps your style. Fussing and fumbling to find things, encountering daily disorganization and clutter creates chaos. This is the antithesis of peace.

My intention is to enter 2018 in a state of grace and openness. I’m starting with my home, so I contacted Conny Graf, Maple Ridge decluttering expert and financial specialist. In our first session, she said something that transformed the way I am tackling the goal.

She quoted my book to me, saying: “In your book, #Untrending, quoting Goethe, you wrote that ‘we are fashioned and shaped by what we love’.”

Graf went on: “I would say we are fashioned and shaped by what we surround ourselves with. The question is, how do you want to be shaped?”


We should, she said, be surrounding ourselves with what tells the story of who we are now, not who we used to be. Graf proposes that much of what we hang on to has to do with a fear of the future, holding onto what has gone before. Clearing out the old is the way we create space for the new.

This is a thoughtful and powerful approach.

A colleague I deeply admire, Shelley Sims, wrote a moving post on Facebook about her own process of letting go.

She said: “In a way the making room in my house, or sorting through papers, pictures, and ideas, is the releasing of the no longer useful. And it is also making way for new things, new ideas, new opportunities, new ways of seeing things, new connections, new understandings, new stages …”

I love this notion of making way for the new, releasing the ‘no longer useful,’ creating openness, honouring who have become, and finally, putting to rest who we once were.

Graf recommended I start small and keep the momentum going. We tackled the laundry room, and in the days afterward I pared down clothes closets, drawers and dressers, bathroom cupboards, and got a start on vintage dishes.

Last week, I went after my digital clutter, editing bookmarks, deleting downloads, and clearing document files.

Now, as I am deciding what to keep and what to let go of, I ask: does this speak to who I am now? Does it reflect who I am becoming?

Decluttering gives the future self elbow room. It is an act of self-love. Life is simpler when we can find what we are looking for. Less is more – more space, more freedom, and more possibility.

Graf and I want to share the love, so we’re launching a local online challenge. Called ‘From Chaos to Peace,’ it will take place over four weeks in the new year.

You can sign up in advance at

To quote myself: “All of life is simply learning to let go.”

Let’s do this.

Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her @

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SHARE: Views offered from local dikes

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Sunny skies expected across Lower Mainland this week

After weeks of rain and smoke, Environment Canada forecasts clear skies and steady warm temperatures

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Ridge Meadows Hospital executive director an “out-of-the-box” thinker

Rich Dillon brings years of valuable experience with Vancouver Coastal Health

Maple Ridge volunteers honoured for decades of service

Community Services held special ceremonies for volunteers John Work and Rodger White

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read