Before you take on the task of decluttering your life, pinpoint first what it is that you DO want in your life and realize that everything else can go. Accept that it won’t happen immediately and that’s okay. We tend to put all kinds of pressure and deadlines on ourselves and then get stressed out about it when we fail. Guess what? There is no timeline to declutter your life. You didn’t overwhelm your life with clutter overnight, so give yourself a break. It’s completely unrealistic to expect to declutter it overnight.
Things to take into account:
-Do I really want this or am I keeping it for sentimental reasons?
Take into account how many times that precious sentimental item that you love so much is brought out or used. Is it really all that sentimental to you or is the memory of it you’re holding on to.
-Do I really love it?
Surround yourself with love, people you love, things you love, pets you love, etc. If you’re putting it out for the sake of putting it out, or hiding it behind something else, you really don’t love it. And if you don’t love it, you don’t need it to collect dust and waste space in your life or in your home.
-Can I do without?
If you have 6 of the same item, rethink it. Why do you need 6? Are they all in working order? Do you use 6 at the same time?
-Does it fit into your life?
If there is a place in your life for it, keep it. If it’s something that ONCE had a place in your life, but no longer does, but you’re “saving” it, get rid of it. It’s like holding on to an old boyfriend that once had a place and no longer does. Why hold on? For the sake of memories? How about making new ones instead.
-Is it broken or no longer fits?
Definitely get rid of it. Don’t hold on to “what-if’s”. No one ever got anywhere with what if’s. Don’t allow for it to hold you back. Go out and buy “right now’s” and toss those “what-if’s” jeans or whatever out.
So, as you address the following 5 tips to declutter your body, mind, and life, repetitively ask yourself those questions above.
- Do it yearly. Who says decluttering needs to be immediate? Every time you pull out a seasonal box to put up decorations, Christmas, Easter or what have you, weed it out. For example, Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I’m not going to lie, my home tends to look like a Christmas boutique around the holidays. It takes so long to take everything out, let alone put it all away again. So what do I do, I declutter as I go, both as I pull things out and again, when I put things away. I set myself a limit. For every new Christmas chachski I buy myself, I consider it a replacement, not a new item for my collection. So, if I buy something new, I HAVE to weed out something old. By creating limits, you keep the build up from getting any bigger. This is especially helpful after the first decluttering you do. I’ve been able to widdle down my Christmas décor to a few boxes and I refuse to let that collection get any bigger. By keeping it to a few boxes, I keep my Christmas clutter to a minimum and save some money, time, and livable space in my home. If you can live without it for a whole year, chances are you can live without it much longer than that.
- Take baby steps. Start with one thing at a time. For example, if you have a favorite drink that you know is no good for you and you want to lose weight and declutter your body of toxins, start with that drink. For me, it’s Dr Pepper. I’ve done Dr. Pepper mornings (instead of coffee) for as long as I can remember. It’s not a matter of willpower; I had to stop drinking it throughout both of my pregnancies due to gestational diabetes, so I know I can do it. If you can get rid of that one thing that you think you can’t do without, than everything else will be a piece of cake to get rid of. Getting rid of the hardest thing to get rid of for the sake of your health, opens up the door to getting rid of those you could easily do without anyway. Do it at your speed. For me, I went without Dr. Pepper for a month, and then slowly started adding other things to get rid of. Am I where I want to be? No, but am I further along than last month? Hell yes! I didn’t gain weight overnight and I won’t lose it overnight either. But steps forward, no matter how slow, is still progress. Don’t beat yourself up if you take a few back along the way, as long as you continue to move forward.
- Weed out your social media. If you are public in all of these, I can’t help you out here, other than to suggest making them all private and weeding people out. However, if you are private and you have collected people throughout the years for the sake of not rejecting their requests, rethink that. The whole purpose of social media is to connect with people, to be social. But what I’ve found is that I have more “acquaintances” than friends. Are you ever annoyed scrolling through your newsfeed? Weed it out. It’s your prerogative to surround yourself with those people you CHOOSE to have in your life. Declutter your friends list. It’s okay. It’s your newsfeed; everyone else can do what they want with theirs. Here’s the deal, negativity or just being annoyed with someone for the content of their posts, even if it’s on their wall, still affects you. Do you want to see someone constantly fighting with others about politics? Do you want to see a million pictures of someone else’s pet in sweaters? Is someone always posting about some sad problem constantly affecting their life and when you reach out they refuse to respond? Bottom line, if it bothers you to see those posts, get rid of them. If you don’t have time in your life to connect with them, get rid of them. If you don’t want to get rid of them for the sake of having tons of people connected to you, but you still don’t want to see all that, filter your newsfeed. The point is, if you don’t have the time or energy for it, or you just don’t want to see it……get rid of it. Believe it or not, it emotionally and/or mentally clutters your brain every time you see something you don’t want to see.
- Stop spending frivolously. Don’t you wish you could spend your money on frivolous things and not bills!?! Here’s the thing, you can do both if you want. The faster you wrap your head around the fact that you deserve to make yourself happy, the happier you will be. Do you need 8,000 channels on cable or can you live with the low easy cost of Netflix, so you can spend some money elsewhere? Is eating out, wasting money on food that is unhealthy for you anyway, better than investing in a few cooking classes that can help you eat healthier AND teach you to cook? It’s all a matter of perspective. Having a healthy view of money goes a long way. I was raised that no matter what you do in life, there is a cost. Eating unhealthy food = to being unhealthy. Owning a home = paying a mortgage…. And on and on. Prioritize what is important to you and go for it, but always keep in mind what your responsibilities are and find what your balance is. Bottom line, you’re going to be in debt no matter what you do. Whether you own a home, drive a car, even if those are paid for, you still have insurance to buy, gas to fill the tank, property taxes to pay, it’s all still a debt. If you can balance those responsibilities and accept them as part of life, saving money just makes sense and you’ll find it’s so much easier to do. Especially if you calculate if things are worth it. What I mean is, is it worth it to work x amount of hours of overtime, so you can eat out every night and save yourself the trouble of having to cook? Then do it. But if giving up time away from your family, or let’s say something as simple as sleeping in, is it still worth it? I don’t have those answers for you, that’s something you have to determine for yourself. Everyone has their own priorities. Finding out what yours are, then make a plan and declutter your finances. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve been spending on things you don’t “need” versus buying those things that you “want”.
- Cleanse your Soul. Decluttering your soul is a lifetime process. Does it mean you have to strive for perfection? Nope. It just means, if you think you need to work on yourself, do it. Here’s how I handle mine, I have kids, I’m their example, and it’s that simple. I used to live my life as if God was watching. Being religious, that’s usually what you’re taught, so that’s what I did. However, I still did things I wasn’t proud of and for that, I had the confessional booth. However, now that I have kids, I know that I’m their first role model. They’ll have many throughout their lives, teachers, mentors, friends, spouses, and more, but I’m their very first. Do I have to be perfect? Nope, I just have to be the best version of me possible. I don’t know about you, but with my religious upbringing (and the confessional) I still had a great amount of guilt for my mistakes. I’d have that voice in the back of my mind constantly reminding me that I wasn’t perfect and that I had failed. I shifted my perspective and those nagging thoughts are gone. When you realize you just need to be the best you you can be, any sense of guilt for falling short is gone. Why is that? Because you’re not being measured up to someone else’s measure of who you should be, it’s your own. You essentially declutter the constraints of someone else’s image of who you should be and set your own self acceptance, mistakes and all.
Do I have the answers for everything? Nope. Is my life perfectly decluttered? Nope. But I’m slowly getting to where I want to be and weeding out what I don’t want in my life. I make no excuses for my life. Its mine. How and what I want in it, is my choice. What better time to start living life in the manner that you choose to, then right now? So go for it!