Many years ago, The Minimalists inspired me to ruthlessly edit my life and possessions. By far the most crucial piece of information I have learned from them is that it is necessary to get really clear about what brings true value to my life. This is an exercise to be completed frequently and honestly. We only have one life to live and it’s important to focus on what’s important and let go of the rest. It is my belief that decluttering your life is a crucial form of self-care.
Clutter is a distraction and the more cluttered a physical space the more cluttered my state of mind will be. For example, if my desk is covered with piles of various paperwork in differing states of completeness, unopened mail, a package to be mailed out, etc. – it is extremely difficult to focus on the most important task at hand. Instead, I’m overwhelmed by the massive to-do list jumping from the physical space into my mental space. A decluttered environment is easier to keep clean and inspires more productivity and creativity.
A Decluttered Home
To assist in clutter-free living, my home has designated storage areas for all of the gear and supplies that my specific lifestyle requires. When I get home, I take a few minutes to hang up my jacket in the closet, clean out my lunchbox and reusable containers, refill water bottles and put them in the fridge, and go through any paper or miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated throughout the day. A few extra minutes and everything is put away in the proper place.
Once a week, I go through my entire house and tidy up anything that is out of place. During the week, I may notice something that needs to be repaired or cleaned and will set this item out on my counter to remember to take the necessary action required for that item. By always keeping the home tidy, that item on the counter stands out and begs to be addressed. By keeping the home clutter-free the actual cleaning of my house each week (dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc.) is much faster and easier.
Every few months I go through my closets and cabinets to see if there is anything that we are not using and no longer need. I like to have only what is essential – and that term does fluctuate as I am learning and evolving. One exception to that rule, my husband tends to want to hold on to every little item “just in case” and we have found that our marriage works best if he has his own storage closets and cabinets that I respectfully do not touch. I’ll clean and dust, but will never ever purge any of his items even if they look like trash to me. Anything that is questionable, we discuss before I make the decision to purge it from our lives.
A Decluttered Mind
A decluttered home is an excellent pathway to a decluttered mind. A decluttered mind is a state of being that focuses only on what is essential for you. This process begins with an honest evaluation of your values and what truly matters the most. Once you’re clear about the essentials you can start decluttering the non-essential. This includes time-consuming hobbies, toxic relationships, excessive social media use, negative thought patterns, people-pleasing, and anything else that consumes your time that does not yield a positive benefit to your life.
Remember that energy flows where attention goes. Don’t be afraid to let go of the things that are no longer serving you so you can save your energy for the things that add true value to your life.