At some point, many of us get the urge to live a simpler, more intentional life… free of the extra stuff and endless work it takes to maintain all.the.things. Let’s talk about how to declutter your life in a way that works for YOU.
Looking for more than 6 things to purge from your life? Check out these declutter tips that cover even.more.stuff.
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Decluttering Your Life
Occasionally we may think, ‘I need to declutter my life.’ And then our mind immediately recoils, afraid to pursue that thought too far. Because… isn’t it bad to think about removing the things we’ve worked so hard to acquire?
But what if you switched up your thinking? Cutting the non-essential — even though it may feel urgent and important — to make room for the true-priority tasks and people and things?
The tasks and goals that bring meaning to your life and a feeling of satisfaction and hope.
The people who make you smile. The people who build you up. The people YOU can build up.
The things and experiences that bring genuine joy to your life.
When taken to its furthest point, decluttering your life can mean making massive changes. But most of us aren’t ready to leap into a major life change like selling everything we own and moving to a foreign country to do charity work.
So let’s think a little bit smaller, but just as important in the grand scheme of things.
So much of our everyday lives are filled with the clutter of the non-essential. If we can whittle those things down, then we can get a clearer picture of what we really want to do and to be.
Here’s a list to help you take action…
How to Simplify Your Life and Home
This is really a 2-part process. Separating and working on one area at a time will be less overwhelming than trying to change everything in your life at once.
Get Rid of the Physical Clutter
The first part of living a decluttered life is getting rid of visual clutter.
I believe it’s the best place to begin because it allows you to practice making small — but life-improving — decisions every day. That means you’re strengthening your mind and clearing your home at the same time.
Here is a brief overview of some things you should let go from your home.
- Broken things you will never fix
- ‘Just in case’ things that you’ve had for years and never used
- Excess papers [consider going paperless]
- Large items you don’t fully use that take up too much ‘living’ area
- Anything you resent maintaining
If you’re new to the concept of decluttering and clearing spaces, I recommend beginning your decluttering project right here.
Nobody is saying you need to become a minimalist. But embracing the attitude of a minimalist — satisfaction with what you already have and the realization that more stuff mostly means more work — can go a LONG way toward ‘flipping the switch’ when it comes to letting go. You may also want to read about some positive reasons to try minimalism.
After clearing the excess ‘stuff,’ it’s time to move on and declutter the intangible-but-suffocating things.
Declutter the Non-Physical Pieces of Your Life
This could be an entire book for most of us, but let’s distill it down to the basics, the ‘Big 5’ that will make the MOST difference in your life.
1. Your mind
Whether you like using journal writing prompts, practicing yoga, doing a daily brain dump, or something else, spending time each day to clear your mind will help you meet challenges and make decisions with a better sense of self and confidence.
2. Your schedule and routines
We all know that we’re trying to do too much every day. But the hamster wheel spins so fast that we’re afraid of injuring ourselves or someone else if we try to jump off.
Well, it’s time to just do it!
Take everything down to the basics. Kids in a zillion activities? Let them choose one per season.
You host every family gathering even though it makes you crazy? Let someone else host next time… or meet at a restaurant.
Even ‘little’ things like gift-giving and deciding what to wear every day can be simplified to eliminate decision fatigue and reduce stress.
3. Excess tech and digital clutter
We ALL feel like we need more time to just THINK, yet we spend hours every day looking at screens. Practice unplugging from technology for an hour, or a day, or even longer and see how you feel.
Turn off all of the non-essential notifications on your phone. Do you really need to keep up-to-the-second on the latest IG posts, tweets, FB posts, emails, and everything else you can have notifications for?
In fact, you might even try taking many of those apps off your phone altogether. It might be a little scary, but just image the time and mindspace you’ll gain!
4. Old ideas and fear of the unknown
Rid your mind of the ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves.’
This may not be something you can tackle on your own. If events and ideas from your past are keeping you ‘stuck,’ then please seek out professional help.
Then it’s time to work on overthinking the future…
If you can’t do anything about it, then it doesn’t deserve your attention.
I love the idea of this, but I also know it’s so very difficult to practice. Still, I try every single day to (mostly) think about and prioritize action items. I do tend to get caught up in planning at times, but I do my best to not follow every thread of thought to every possible outcome.
It’s an ongoing thing, but if you have the same problem with overthinking, then I would urge you to practice the same… doing instead of worrying about what you can’t change.
5. Comparing yourself to others
Once you get past comparing what YOU have and what you do to what anyone else has and does, everything changes.
Try using these confidence journal prompts to give yourself a boost when it comes to thinking more independently about your life instead of constantly feeling like you have to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’
Steps to Declutter Your Life
But really… how can you declutter so much from your life? It’s not like you can just instantly get rid of all of your stuff or suddenly stop worrying about all.the.things.
It’s a process. 😉 You won’t finish this in a day or a week. It may take a year or more, but each step you take will help you feel better about yourself and your life in general.
What should you declutter first?
I always say, start with either the easiest thing — to get a quick win for motivation — or the thing that will make the biggest difference in your life, that will make everything else feel super-easy by comparison. This idea goes for mental clutter as well as physical.
What if you can’t decide?
I know… you could be at a place in your life where everything feels overwhelming and nothing seems possible. In that case, I would suggest beginning by slow decluttering and choosing a motivational word for your year to help keep you focused.
Next, start journaling to get your thoughts in order and start to determine what you really do want. How does an intentional life look to you? Dreaming about this is okay. You have to be able to envision something before you can begin work to make it a reality.
Inspiration to Make Decluttering Your Life Easier
The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less — Tanya Dalton
Pretty writing journals
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own — Joshua Becker
62 Things to Declutter (That You Won’t Miss At All) free printable checklist
When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good — Emily Ley
Benefits of Decluttering Your Life
Each of the actions we discussed today has a domino effect.
Clearing the physical clutter means less to interrupt your thought processes and less work to maintain your home.
Unplugging from technology gives you time and independence.
Once you start thinking for yourself and bucking the trend of more, more, MORE… you realize just how easy it is to let go of even more non-essentials.
And when you hit that point in your thinking, you’re on the brink of huge life changes.
For some, that means quitting a soul-sucking job because they have reduced expenses. For others, it means taking on a new career or side hustle because they realize that means following their passion.
With less clutter in your life, you CAN add more things… the things that are really important to you and your family.
But just wanting that kind of life won’t get you where you want to be. You actually have to take action!
The thing is… once you declutter your life and get rid of the excess ‘stuff’ — both physical and virtual — you’ll find that the RIGHT things now have space to grow as you build your best life. Relationships, hobbies, peace…
You’ve got this!
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