Clutter can consume us like a poison. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but learning to declutter and simplify your life can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. Just imagine how you feel when you are trying to work in a messy environment. Are you easily distracted? Can’t focus? Feeling drained? How about when you finally decide to clean up… do you feel lighter? Can you finally focus? See what I mean? Clutter really does impact us in a negative way. Our external environments tend to be a reflection of our internal environments.
Does the thought of actually taking the first step to declutter make you want to cry? I hear ya honey, I have piles upon piles of stuff that really needs to get sorted through. Break it into bite size portions to decrease that overwhelming dread inside.
Use these 8 strategies to declutter your internal and external space.
1. Get Rid of the “Stuff”
The majority of us have an abundance of stuff. In junk drawers, closets, under the bed, in the basement. Our lives are overflowing with stuff. It’s time to lighten the load. Depending on the severity of the problem, this may seem like a momentous task. I get it, I have somehow managed to start piles of stuff in almost every corner of my home. Start small. Make it into a game. Pick one area to start, set a timer for 30 minutes and see how much you can get done before the buzzer.
Another technique that works, is to pick a number, say 15, and go around the house finding 15 items that can be donated or thrown away. Seems manageable enough right? Blast some tunes, get in the mood and imagine that with each item you are getting rid of, your body and mind become a bit lighter. Before you know it, the physical clutter will be gone, or at least improved.
2. Clean up your electronic space
Ok, I cannot be the only one who opens her inbox and sees 7,000 old emails! I don’t want any of these emails and the ones I do want, I can’t find because who wants to flip through thousands of emails? It sounds exhausting just thinking about cleaning out this mess!
This is a great mindless activity to tackle while the commercials are on during your favorite show. Delete as many emails as you can during each commercial break. After a few days of screen time, your inbox will be sparkling. The trick to this is once you’ve deleted all of the old, make sure you delete any emails you don’t want to keep each day. Delete as you go my friends. Feeling more calm already, right?
3. Take a look at your finances
Eeep! The dreaded finances. Most of us like to take the “what we don’t know, won’t hurt us” approach. Wrong! When it comes to your finances you need to know what’s up. If you are married and your spouse takes care of the finances, get involved! You need to know where the money is going, if you have any debt and how much, if you are saving any money for retirement. Yeah, it can be really scary to actually write down all of the debt you have. But think how liberating it can be to actually start tackling it in a meaningful way. It provides a sense of empowerment to know where you began and how far you’ve come.
Start taking steps to improve your finances now. Make a spreadsheet of all of your expenses each month. See where your money goes. Make a budget. Start small…baby steps, I know this is a biggie for many.
4. Commit to Less
Go. Go. Go. All. Day. Long. Can’t stop. Won’t Stop. Until you crash and burn. Each person has an individual threshold for this. Some of you love to be busy and for some, one activity everyday can be too much. Evaluate your own threshold. If you feel like your schedule is back-to-back madness, it might be time to let a few things go. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if it’s worth it, or if it’s time to give it up.
- Is it an obligation? Mandatory?
Yes, some things you cannot just get rid of, these we gotta just suck it up and do. Hopefully they only make up a small portion of our tasks. This is also where outsourcing may come in handy. Don’t want to clean, hire someone to help. Is it daddy’s turn to take the kids to practice? Can someone else help with this?
- Do you feel passionate about this? Is this actually something you want to do? Or are you just doing it because you can’t say no? Only say yes to things you want to be a part of.
- Do you feel more energized after this activity or more drained?
Yoga may be your best friend’s go-to stress reliever, but if during savasana, you’re thinking more about all of the to-do list items you could have crossed off your list instead of zenning out, it may be time to cross this one off the list.
5. Do one thing at a time
I bet you pride yourself on being a multitasker. Well, guess what? Multitasking doesn’t work as well as everyone thinks. It tends to take even more time to complete the tasks, than if you just focused on one thing at a time. When we focus our attention on just one thing at a time, we make less errors and produce more quality work. It may feel strange at first, but being fully present in the moment really can make you more happy and appreciative of what you do have in life.
6. Spend more time in nature
You’ve decluttered your external environment. Now it’s time to declutter your internal environment. The clutter in our minds can be just as detrimental, if not more so than the physical clutter. Get your butt outside! There are so many benefits for being outside. First, Vitamin D! Most of us aren’t getting enough and it is ruining our health. Next, listening to nature sounds everyday has been proven to reduce stress and cortisol levels. Finally, earthing. Have you heard of it? Look it up, so fascinating! It is basically just getting your bare feet in touch with the ground. The energy from the earth floods your body, reducing pain, relaxing your nervous system and even lowering your blood pressure. Like I said before, Get your butt outside!
7. Enjoy Media-Free Time
Whether you devote one hour a day, one day each week or an entire weekend, it is good to unplug sometimes. Give yourself a break from the news, media, internet and electronics. Go do something you have been meaning to do for the last 3 months. Go spend time with your family. Our minds are becoming numb from the constant influx of information. Take some time to be silent, be still.
8. Be Silent, Be Still
Start up a meditation practice. I’ve heard all of the excuses: I don’t have time, it’s so woo-woo, I can’t concentrate, but guess what? It works! Meditation has changed my life! It is like the magic pill for any woe you are experiencing. Pain, it helps with that. Anxiety, Depression, yup helps with that too. Relationship problems, you’ve got it, meditation is magic. Try it out everyday for a week and see if you notice any improvements.
I think some of us are scared of the silence. Scared of what we might discover. We are never really going to feel calm and our lives will always feel cluttered, if we don’t take care of the clutter in our minds. I encourage you to lean in. I promise you, it’s worth it.
You can get rid of the clutter in your life. Start implementing these strategies and before you know it, your house will be clean and you’ll feel freer and lighter.
What are your favorite ways to declutter your home and your mind?
P.S. Since we are on the topic of decluttering, I have created a FREE Body Image Workbook to start decluttering all of those negative body thoughts before swimsuit season. Sign up for your copy on my sidebar! ————–>