A long time ago, in a closet far away…

It is in our very nature to accumulate things, but there comes a time in the life of every Padawan to renounce that which no longer serves us—collectible Star Wars toys excluded.

For decades the Star Wars universe has been dispensing wise words of wisdom—words that motivate the heroes of its stories to grow and evolve into better versions of themselves. While the battle between you and your accumulation of stuff may pale in comparison to the one between the Resistance and the Empire, that growing pile of junk in your closet is your own personal dark side that must be dealt with if you ever hope to become a home organizing Jedi.

So what do Star Wars’ wisest sages have to say about decluttering? Read on to learn how you can use the Force to clear your personal space and your mind.

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.”

When Luke Skywalker is starting his Jedi training in The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda basically tells Luke if he is to succeed, he has to take it one step at a time. The same goes with decluttering. Instead of tackling your whole house at one time, go room-by-room. And don’t try to reorganize the whole room at once either. Start with a drawer, cabinet or corner and work through the space until you are done. It might take some time, but you are less likely to get overwhelmed and burnout.

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

It is no wonder Yoda lives in an empty shack, because he is clearly a master at decluttering. Yoda dropped this wisdom on Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith and these are words to live by. We cling on to “stuff” because we are afraid we might need it some day, or we are afraid that we are wasting money by getting rid of it. Instead of holding on to things out of fear, take Marie Kondo’s advice and only keep things that you truly love.

“The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.”

Yoda shares more knowledge in his conversation with Anakin. When it comes to decluttering, this is clearly a warning against becoming a full on hoarder. Hoarding behavior is deeply linked to fear of loss and grief. Hoarding is a spectrum, and it’s important to recognize and address the signs before it progresses.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Perhaps one of Yoda’s best known knowledge bombs, this lesson applies to almost anything in life. But when it comes to decluttering the quote is particularly apt. If you are just “trying” to declutter your home, you never really will. If you decide to declutter, it is important that you commit fully and see your project through. Otherwise you will be “trying” to declutter for a long time to come.

“Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think, use your instincts.”

Qui-Gon gives this advice to young Anakin in the Phantom Menace, but it pretty much sums up the “spark joy” concept espoused by organizing guru Marie Kondo. When deciding whether to keep or get rid of an item, Kondo says to hold the item and concentrate. If it “sparks joy” then you should keep it, if not discard. The trick to doing this well is to go with your gut instinct right away, and not think too much about it. Otherwise you may end up rationalizing a reason to keep an item you don’t really care for.

“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.”

Obi-Wan appears in spirit form to give Luke this important piece of advice in Return of the Jedi. One of the reasons it is so hard to declutter is because we can always think of reasons why we need to cling to something. It is a human instinct that is hardwired, because in prehistoric days resources were hard to come by. When it comes to getting rid of something, we often tell ourselves “I might use this someday” or “I can sell this when its worth more money” and so on and so on. Instead, try changing your point of view and tell yourself “Someone else could use this more than me” or “If I got rid of this I’d have more room.”

“This is not going to go the way you think.”

Luke says this to Rey in The Last Jedi, and when it comes to any major task it is right on the money. Prepare for the unexpected! You will likely come across stuff you haven’t seen in a long time that could trigger bottled up memories. You might struggle with getting rid of things and might need the help of a friend to tell you it’s okay.

“Get your head out of your cockpit.”

This is Princess Leia’s advice to pilot Poe Dameron in the Force Awakens. In other words: don’t be so stubborn. If you haven’t used an item or worn that shirt in more than a year, you really don’t need it anymore. If you insist on being a Poe Dameron, organizers recommend stashing certain items in a “think about it” box. Give yourself a set time period (a few months) and if you still have not touched it, drop the box off at the Goodwill ASAP.

“I’ve seen your daily routine. You are not busy.”

Rey uses this line to convince Luke to train her in The Last Jedi. When it comes to decluttering, you aren’t too busy either. That is just an excuse. In fact, clutter is the result of delayed decision making. “I’ll do something with that tomorrow” or “I’ll donate that next week.” Before you know it, all that stuff has piled up and it seems insurmountable. Instead, incorporate a little bit of decluttering into your daily routine to stay on top of your own mess.

Organizer Peter Walsh offers one simple rule for staying organized: “put it away when you’re done.

“Be careful not to choke on your aspirations.”

Besides being a great pun, these words spoken by Darth Vader in Rogue One caution against taking on more than you can handle. Don’t try to declutter your whole home in one day. If you get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help or consult a professional organizer. Set clear goals of what you want to accomplish and create a reasonable timetable to follow.

Alexander Harris