Cluttered homes and work environments can increase feelings of stress and anxiety when we see mountains of items that need organizing. A cluttered physical environment allows dust, mold, and animal dander to accumulate─which can cause allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Those living in clutter also experience shame and isolation because they don’t want to entertain visitors in a dirty environment. In fact, cluttered homes can be a warning sign of mental illness.
Getting rid of clutter can help release negative emotions and clear the headspace for more productive thoughts. With a clear mind, it is easier to focus on and achieve our goals for a happy life. Read on for 5 great tips for clearing your mind while clearing your clutter.
- Visualize the Life You Want to Live
The first step to creating a clutter-free environment is to visualize your ideal life and the environment you want to live or work in. This vision will help pull you away from the destructive habits that created clutter around and within you. If the image of your dream life excites you, getting rid of your clutter will be an easier exercise.
For example, if you visualize that you want to sleep in a clean and clear bed, you will think twice before dumping a pile of clothes on it. Your visualization will also guide you whenever you are shopping and you get tempted to buy junk. For instance, the green elf you see at a garage sale may be cute but will it fit in with the home you have pictured yourself living in?
The important part of visualizing consistently is to help train your subconscious mind. Remember to be intentional while envisioning.
- Clear Your Head Space
The next step to clearing your mind is to identify and get rid of mental clutter. Our minds are often bogged down by negative thoughts, worry, and self-hating judgments that play on loop every waking hour. Sometimes we may even be unaware of having negative thoughts and the effect these have on our energy and productivity.
We can identify negative and unhelpful thoughts by setting a time each day to observe our thoughts, a process known as mindfulness. Even 5 minutes of mindfulness each day can make a big difference in becoming conscious of our negative thinking.
Meditation also works very well to increase our mindfulness and reduce mental clutter. Once we identify self-limiting thoughts we can replace them with better and more positive thoughts.
Another way to practice mindfulness and get a clearer mind is to avoid multitasking. Concentrating on one task at a time reduces stress and mental clutter and we finish more tasks. Physical clutter is often a manifestation of a cluttered mind so clearing internal clutter can lead to more order in our homes or workspaces.
- Practice Making Decisions Quickly
One reason why clutter exists is that we can’t decide on what to do with items. These decisions are not life or death scenarios so they shouldn’t take more than a second. Practice making decisions quickly and the more you do it the easier it will get.
For example, if an item breaks, decide immediately whether to throw it away or get it fixed. If you want it fixed, immediately call in a technician or put it in the car to take it to fixed as soon as possible. Indecision will lead to the broken item staying in the garage or backyard for years gathering moss and rust
Sometimes we decide to get rid of something but procrastinate for years to act on the decision. Once you make a decision, practice acting immediately on it. Before you know it the clutter around you will start disappearing.
- Start Getting Rid of Easy Items First
Some items will be very easy to discard so it is best to start your decluttering journey with those. First of all, get rid of items that you have broken and duplicate items. For example, if you have two coffee makers or electric kettles, donate one to a friend in need or a charity shop.
Go through your closets and take out any clothes, shoes, handbags, and belts that are stained, no longer fit, or those that you don’t want to wear anymore. Throw these away or donate them to charity.
Paper clutter such as envelopes, manuals, old catalogs, etc. contribute to a lot of clutter and mental stress yet are also easy to get rid of. Start clearing your mind by going through your home or desk and getting rid of all your paper clutter. Throw away junk mail and unwanted catalogs as soon as they come through the door.
When you buy new appliances, check if you can download the user manual online and get rid of the physical copy. Scan your receipts and shred them.
Once you’ve read magazines and newspapers they should also get thrown away. Also, request your bank and other financial institutions to send you online statements as this will reduce the clutter in your home.
Do not forget to clear electronic clutter too when working on clearing your mind. Downloading too many applications on your phone or computer or opening too many windows on your computer will slow down your appliances.
You will also feel overwhelmed if you constantly get notifications from different apps. Delete apps from MacBook or PC’s as well as your smartphones, keeping only the apps you need and use.
- Kick Out the Old to Make Space for the New
Make it a rule that if you buy something new you must create space for it in your home by taking something else out. For example, if you buy a new pair of jeans, an old one must be tossed out.
If you have a lot of clutter you may even make it a rule to take out two items for every item brought in. This will help you get rid of a lot of your clutter. Another added benefit is that you will start thinking about your purchases and whether you need to buy another black t-shirt.
Clearing Your Clutter While Clearing Your Mind
Clutter in our physical environment is often a manifestation of emotional or mental clutter. At the same time, physical clutter can also cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed. So by clearing your physical environment using our 5 tips you can create a happier mental and emotional state.
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