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If you often feel overwhelmed by all the things in your life, you are not alone. These days, we have so much going on in our lives that it’s understandable. Moreover, we also have a lot of “stuff” usually taking up space in our lives – physically and mentally. This is why I want to share some tips on how to declutter your life so you can reduce some of the stress in your life.
Biologically speaking, “responsiveness” is one of the major characteristics of a living thing. Hence, we are naturally wired to respond to stimuli. The things around us directly affect our mind and body which in turn manifest in our thoughts and actions – respectively.
Why am I giving you this jumble of impressive words? Well, a healthy environment impacts a healthy life. When your environment is serene, tranquility is retained. Basically, it is important to ensure your home – and the things in your life – is well kept!
Basically in this post I want to touch on two things – clutter in your home and also clutter in your life. Both of these things can sap your energy.
Clutter in your home
One major challenge most of us face today is centered on home management. Often, we get carried away with other responsibilities such as our career, business, family, and so on. For that reason, we give our homes less attention, and boom, clutter magically piles up. And clutter in your home can definitely affect your mental state, whether you realize it or not.
The craziest part is that most of those items that clutter our homes are:
- Things we bought but never used once,
- Things we once used but no longer use, or…
- And things we don’t even plan to use any time soon.
Yet, we find it difficult to discard those items – probably because we bought them with our hard-earned money. We end up attaching value to things that are practically useless. We accommodate such items until they take up almost all the space in our homes and become quite overwhelming to deal with.
Honestly, clutter makes your life very stressful because you will find it difficult to concentrate when you have lots of unnecessary stuff littered around you.
Old newspapers and magazines, old gifts you no longer use, old shoes and clothes you no longer wear, broken appliances, plastics, glasses… the list goes on and on!
Things like these are no longer relevant in your life. In fact, instead of adding value to your existence, they undermine your quality of life and make you miserable. You might call them your properties but in truth, they’re more like your burdens.
Clutter in your mind/life
Now, there is actually something nastier than a cluttered home, and that is having a cluttered mind.
When your mind is cluttered, it results in unnecessary mental stress, overthinking, anxiety, trauma, and even depression. And with such a chaotic mind, you’ll have lots of negative thoughts swarming into your head. As a result, you’ll be needlessly distracted in life.
Just a reminder, a cluttered mind is part of the reasons your life may feel so burdensome. It keeps you in a position where, instead of focusing on the present, you constantly think about your sad past and always worry about the future.
Trust me, this clutter (whether mental or physical) reduces your level of productivity, and consequently, you will find it difficult to reach your full potential in life. In fact, if you must live a truly stable and organized life that is free of undue stress, you have to do a lot of decluttering. Like, a whole lot.
How To Declutter Your Life
Decluttering your life is easier said than done. In other words, don’t ever think that this is going to be an entirely easy process.
Decluttering your life is like a transition, so it’s going to be a tough and extensive procedure. But here is one trick that will make it simple; always take it gradually. Over time, you’ll be wowed by how much progress you’ve made.
With that said, here are some practical tips on how to declutter your life!
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1. Create A Checklist That Will Help You Declutter
The reason most of us find decluttering so problematic is usually because of fear.
When we need to discard a particular needless item, we suddenly develop a double mind like; what if I eventually need these shoes one day? Or what if the occasion to wear this outfit arises one day? What if I toss this manual and then one day I need it to troubleshoot a problem? And many other what-ifs.
However, one thing you must understand is that decluttering is not a careless activity that makes you throw away your properties without due considerations.
That’s why to get started, you need to create a decluttering checklist. A checklist makes the entire process less discouraging because it gives you a clue about what you need and what you really don’t need. This way, you’ll stop having second (and third) thoughts over those items you obviously don’t need.
2. Don’t Make The Process Overwhelming, Start Small.
Remember, the whole idea is to create some space in your life, right? So, don’t be in a rush to get everything done in a day. If you do, you might find it overwhelming and get discouraged pretty easily.
Instead, start little and take it slowly. You can start by assigning just 10 minutes (daily) to a particular task or a particular section of your home. From there, you can move to more sections. After you’ve gathered enough tempo, you can then set aside even more time.
A good idea is to use Fridays to sort out your office and put your workspace in order. Then on Saturday, you can work in your kitchen. The next Saturday should probably be for decluttering your wardrobe, and so on.
This way, the entire process will be far easier.
3. Consider What Makes You Happy
Want to know how to declutter your life and keep it that way? Then this tip is for you. Because it ensures your decision comes pretty quickly.
Whenever you’re cleaning your physical and mental space, always ask yourself this question; does this bring happiness to my life?
For instance, when you’ve accumulated lots of worries lately, when you are growing increasingly anxious over something or someone, just ask yourself; does this really make me happier? Trust me, by doing this every time, you’ll find out how unimportant many things that trouble you are. This is a good way to declutter your mental space.
Another example is when you’re decluttering your home or office. Simply hold on to that item that is giving you a tough time to deal with and ask yourself; does this make me a happier person? Does this item make this world a happier place for me?
This will similarly make you realize either how useful or trivial that item is. Hence, it will be easier for you to either keep it or toss it away.
4. Limit The Way You Accept Gifts
Sure, it feels good to accept every gift that comes your way, but directly or indirectly, you are only piling up clutter! One of the few sacrifices you will make if you really want to learn how to declutter your life is to limit the way you accept and keep gifts.
However, this is not to say you can’t accept gifts on your birthday, wedding day, or any other important occasion that concerns you.
But then when you go to a casual event where they share freebies like; T-shirts, water bottles, pens, and so on, you really don’t have to accept each and every item that comes your way.
Stop hoarding those free gifts… they’re simply increasing your clutter and before you realize it, your home will be a mess. Truth hurts, but somebody’s gotta say it.
5. Carry Out A Calendar Audit
In order to live a stress-free life, decluttering shouldn’t only affect your physical environment, it should also affect your behaviour and thought process.
At times, the most dangerous clutter is not the tangible one at home, but the one that makes up your calendar entries.
There are tasks you carry out by default that really don’t need to be included in your calendar. For example, brushing your teeth and your hair! Like, why do you need a reminder for that? Bad breath is reminder enough.
Other instances are; attending too many insignificant meetings, committing to everyday events that no longer fit into your schedule, spending unwarranted time with friends, etc.
You need to conduct a thorough review of your calendar and eliminate those insignificant tasks from it asap.
6. Reconstruct Your Routines
Routines give your life a structure and also reduce stress. So, routinize your day!
First, create a morning and evening routine – this will help you to shape your day as you wish. Have a record of your daily and weekly engagements or tasks. Jot them down. Arrange them in such a way that similar tasks are matched together. And ensure you only commit to a workload you can actually deal with.
As a matter of fact, routines bring sanity to your life… they enhance orderliness! When you create a routine, you know exactly what you are to do every day and you won’t spend your whole time on tasks that are not part of your routine. This, of course, will result in higher productivity.
7. Unsubscribe And Move On!
It is needless to struggle to maintain your email inbox. In fact, it’s basically a waste of time. Not only that, but it also reduces your productivity by getting you distracted.
It is often frustrating to have lots of messages in your inbox from sources you can’t really explain. In such situations, the best you can do is to unsubscribe from those emails you never read. Then delete them and move on with your life.
You can do the same on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even WhatsApp. Unfollow pages, groups, or friends that you no longer find useful.
When it comes to software distractions, delete those apps you no longer use which merely occupy your device storage. This will even improve the performance of your smartphone and computer as they will run at their best speed.
You really need to clear up your digital space, that’s partly how to declutter your life!
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8. Avoid Sentiments
This is where many of us get it wrong. We attach sentiments whenever we want to declutter our space. There are some items that we love so much and tend to cling to them for far longer than any other item.
Say, for instance, your set of undies – there is always that particular underwear you like so much and find so difficult to discard – no matter how ragged or hideous it looks. Don’t worry, we’re not judging you…much.
Anyway, the reason for that is because you attach sentiments to that underwear. And if you fail to get rid of that sentiment, you’ll keep holding on to that ragged piece of cloth!
9. Remove Negative People From Your Life
Negative people are very toxic. You really don’t want to mingle with such folk. Part of your decluttering process should also involve eliminating such people from your life.
Negative people are the type of individuals who will be there when you DON’T need them but will be nowhere to be found when you really need someone to talk to.
Toxic people are those who, instead of making you feel better after a sad experience, make you feel worse than you felt initially. Learning how to declutter your life also means learning how to ditch these sets of poisonous people in the wake of their negativity.
10. Finally, Throw it Away!
Yeah! This comes last, but it’s obviously the most important step to take when it comes to decluttering your life.
You have to make it a principle to discard those domestic items that are either old, broken, condemned, rusty, damaged, or entirely outdated. This also involves the spoiled food in your fridge or the old food in your deep freezer.
Start trashing all that stuff to create more space in your home – and your life.
Some other tips on how to declutter your life include:
- Avoid impulse buying
- Avoid handling lots of tasks at the same time (multitasking)
- Be mindful
- Live in the present. Don’t focus on the future or the past
- Learn to relax and rest at times
- Make decluttering a necessity
- Set realistic goals
- Reflect, meditate, and examine your mind
Decluttering your life is not rocket science really. It’s not as complicated as you might have thought. It only requires you to start small and grow from there. The most fundamental thing is to start! Oh and finish!