If you yearn to live a calmer (and happier) life, reducing how much clutter you have in it is one of the best places to start. This includes physical material clutter, and mental clutter like old habits, negative thoughts, and toxic friendships. Once we organize our lives from the inside out and remove what does not belong, de-stressing can help us begin to live more satisfied, peaceful and productive lifestyles.
Let’s jump in by talking about what it looks like to remove clutter from our lives both physically and mentally.
Removing the Physical Clutter from Our Lives
When you think about clutter, what comes to mind? For most, the material items that are piled up, shoved in the junk drawer, and packaged away or lying around the house comes to mind. To remove this type of clutter, you can start by taking steps like cleaning out your pantry or donating clothes that have been sitting in your closet for years. Don’t get overwhelmed! Get to work de-cluttering your entire house one room at a time, so you can make room for calmer and clearer thinking. You may even find that you feel less stressed and are better able to handle stressors that come your way.
In terms of physical clutter, here are some places you can begin to organize your life.
- Clean out Your Closet: Donate any items of clothing that have been sitting in your closet for more than a year. Do the same thing with your shoes and accessories. A good practice is to hold each item in your hand that you are considering cleaning out. If the item does not bring you joy, pass it along.
- Organize Your Kitchen: Go into your pantry and toss anything that has expired and move the things that are about to expire to the front so that you can use them before they go bad. You can do the same thing with your refrigerator and freezer and underneath your kitchen cabinets as well. Donate any kitchen equipment that you do not use.
- Sort Through Mail: Do you have boxes full of unopened mail, newspapers, or magazines? For many people, this is a sore spot when it comes to clutter as it can easily pile up. Spend a day on the weekend going through all of your mail and shredding anything that you don’t need. You will feel so rejuvenated once everything has been organized!
- Go Through The Kids’ Toys: If you feel like your house has turned into a daycare center, it may be time to de-clutter the toy box, play areas and kids’ rooms. Go through your kids’ toys by getting rid of toys and books that are not age appropriate. Clean and donate anything that no longer suits them. Not only will this free up play space for them, but it will help to de-clutter your entire house as well.
- Organize Your Email Inbox: Organizing your email inbox can certainly be a huge task, but it can really help reduce stress each time you open your inbox that is inundated with unopened messages. While you are organizing your inbox, create tabs and folders to help keep you organized moving forward.
Remove the Mental Clutter from Our Lives
Not only is it important to remove the physical clutter from our lives, but removing mental clutter is just as important. De-stressing goes hand in hand with both, so it’s important to reduce clutter from both areas of your life.
Some places you may want to start include: getting rid of old habits that no longer serve you, evaluating your friendships by letting go of unhealthy relationships, and eliminating negative and self-sabotaging thoughts. While getting rid of mental clutter may be a bit of a larger task than the physical clutter, it is equally as important.
To help get rid of old habits, write down things you do that you want to stop, or at least work on. Maybe it means not letting your laundry pile up, or not letting your clean laundry sit without being folded right away. Maybe you want to meal prep more often instead of always relying on takeout food. Start by writing down five habits you have that you would like to work on and then write out an action plan for how you will work on each one.
You can do the same thing with your relationships. If you have relationships that you do not feel are beneficial to either party, trust your intuition. It knows that that relationship is toxic and that it’s time to get rid of the mental stressor. The less distractions you have, the calmer and more centered you will be.
Lastly, taking a look at your negative thoughts is a great way to remove mental clutter from your life. Many of us don’t even realize how often we talk down to ourselves. Think about all the times you have bashed your appearance or were hard on yourself because of some mistake you made at home or at work. Your value is not determined by your ability to live up to your own or someone else’s expectations. Make a conscious effort not to beat yourself up, and to be compassionate toward both yourself and others. That will help you navigate well through your day.
It’s so important to understand that de-cluttering your life means more than just organizing your house or clearing out your desk at work. It really involves both the physical and mental clutter you have going on. The more you focus on what needs to be removed, the better you will feel. Spend your energy on all good thoughts, things and feelings. Living a less cluttered and a more minimalistic lifestyle is an excellent way to start to live a fuller and happier life. See what removing clutter from your life can do for your overall sense of well-being. You might be surprised at just how much better you and the close people around you feel once the clutter has been lifted.