Many of us think of cleaning out our garage or closet when we hear the word declutter. We all know the benefits spring cleaning our home brings to us, but what about decluttering our lives to declutter our minds? Mental (and digital) clutter takes up brain space and can lead to stress and depression.
There are many things to consider when cleaning your life. Decluttering your life can tremendously reduce stress and increase focus. While you are thinking about ways to clean up your life, here are some suggestions you might find useful.
Declutter your surroundings
Step one, physical things. Have you ever worked in an office that is messy? Usually, working in an environment that is untidy will make you feel so overwhelmed that you end up hardly getting anything done. Start by cleaning your workspace and your home. Have a place for everything and create a system where things can be put and quickly found when needed.
There are many tools out there to help you sell unwanted stuff. LetGo is an app where you can quickly photograph and post anything you don’t need anymore, from clothes to electronics.
The process can be a lot more thorough and fast if you hire a professional. Professional Organizers can assist you in clearing out paperwork, garages, closets and anything else you might need.
You may have heard of Marie Kondo, who’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up spread across the globe over the past year. You might think you know what it means to tidy up, but this book will change how you perceive your possessions, and your life.
Break projects into manageable tasks
Sometimes we get overwhelmed with a task by just thinking about the big picture or the end results. However, if we manage to break projects down into smaller tasks, we can accomplish them step by step. The feeling we get from accomplishing something smaller gives us the will to progress towards achieving our ultimate goal. It is also a way to declutter our lives and create more space for thinking and focusing.
If you run your own business or work for a company, Asana is a great tool for managing tasks and delegating them. You can break down larger projects into detailed tasks and see who is supposed to be doing what.
Time is a precious gift. By the time you take out all the days in your life you spend sleeping eating, going to school and looking at social media, you are only left with about 11 years to do all the other things you hope and dream of. The more time you give to others, the less you leave for yourself. Most of us like to be helpful, kind and loving, but at certain points helping other means neglecting ourselves. Too often we fear to upset our boss, our friends or family by saying no to their requests. When you say no, you empower yourself to focus on your goals. Remember, you don’t owe anyone anything, and your time is valuable.
Declutter your email and digital life
Since it doesn’t take up physical space, we often forget about how much digital clutter we pile up. Flooded email inboxes, outdated contact lists, old photographs, unused apps and icons. All these things slow our lives, and our electronics down. Make a point of clearing your email box and other digital clutter on a regular basis.
The best tool I have found for cleaning out your inbox is Mailstrom. You can clear out thousands of emails in a matter of minutes using their different filters.
One of my least favorite parts about today’s digital world are passwords. Keeping track of them takes up way too much of my brain space. You can organize and store all of your passwords securely using LastPass, so you can focus on the important stuff.
Another form of digital clutter that takes up space, and money. Music streaming services, newsletters, stuff we thought we needed then long forgot about.
Get your Finances in order
Knowing where all your money is going always puts your mind at ease. Read my in-depth article here about how to organize your financial life.
Streamline Your Life
One of the benefits of today’s tech world is the availability of services for pretty much anything you can imagine. You can hire a person or a robot to clean your house, do your laundry, cook your meals and walk your dog. While you may not want to streamline all of these aspects of your life, delegating the less important things can free up your time and your mind.
Release Emotional Clutter
We hold past memories and emotional baggage in our minds and bodies. If you experience back or body pain, can’t sleep at night or easily get angry or distressed, you may find that it helps to work on releasing experiences from your past. By clearing ourselves of the past we can focus on the present.
There are various ways of releasing emotional clutter over time. Finding a local Reiki practitioner, acupuncture, meditation and hypnotherapy can all be extremely helpful.
Reconnect with the analog world
Try putting your phone and computer away for one hour each day. Build up to a full day each week. I started a tradition of Analog Saturdays a few months ago which has greatly improved my life. Sometimes I go on a hike, I bake cookies, paint or draw or just lay outside in a hammock with a good book.
Looking at your digital devices clutters your mind with ads, articles, news and gossip. Unplugging from all this input is crucial to your mental health.
Relaxation is key to decluttering. Always focus on improving your life, decreasing clutter and you will, in turn, declutter your mind and improve your mood.