From the unused items cluttering your living space to the ‘mind clutter’ which fills your brain with unnecessary stresses, clutter is seldom conducive to a peaceful life. Clutter can weigh you down, interfere with your good intentions and invites chaos into your life where it is not welcome. … so how can you declutter your life?
Here at Soulventure we’re not huge fans of January resolutions per se (we believe that you should be living your best life every month of the year!), but what better time than the start of a new year to clear that which is holding you back. With a clear mind and calm work and living spaces, the pathways for productivity will be clear and accessible – thus giving you more opportunity for soul nourishment and inner peace.
But how do you even start knowing how to declutter your life? Where do you begin in clearing your head, your home, your life? First things first, let’s start with the home…
Clearing Your Home
There is a NetFlix phenomenon doing the rounds at the moment where a lady by the name of Marie Kondo quite simply cleans people’s houses. This tiny but dynamic Japanese woman encourages homeowners to do away with anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in their lives, thus leaving their living spaces clearer and their lives happier as a result. It is strangely addictive viewing, and the Marie Kondo show has a huge following of people eager to gain insight into how to clear their homes simply and effectively with the aim of living a happier life.
Marie Kondo implements the ‘KonMari’ method of cleaning, the ethos of which is;
“To help more people tidy their spaces by choosing joy… by developing the simplest and most effective tools to help you get there”
We can gain a lot from this philosophy across all sections of our lives. Why keep hold of something if it doesn’t give us joy or happiness? If something in our life is causing us anxiety then why are we withholding it? Doing away with the things which don’t spark joy in our lives can increase our overall happiness and soul satisfaction.
Letting go of a possession which no longer fits its purpose is not only soothing to the nervous system but it’s one of the best ways to move energy that feels stuck in your home, head, and heart.
Here are a few tips you can use to help clear your home of clutter to achieve a clearer mind and happier life:
1) Start Small
How to declutter your life without feeling overwhelmed – start small. You’ll no doubt feel overwhelmed stood at the bottom of a mountain looking up at its cloud-shrouded summit wondering how you’ll ever get up there. However, if you look at each stage of the mountain and break it down into a series of inclines and ridges, each will seem more manageable and achievable. You’re not going to clean up your entire home in a day so don’t try. Consider doing it in 30-minute bursts so it’s achievable and you get a positive feeling after seeing progress.
Declutter a drawer or clear out a disorderly handbag, before eventually moving onto store cupboards, wardrobes and entire rooms. Gaining a sense of achievement from clearing out a small space will spur you on to tackle larger areas and before you know it, you’ll have achieved big. It’s all about the baby steps!
2) Everything Should Have a Place
Making sure that everything in your home has an allocated space is crucial if you want your home to become more orderly and less cluttered. Organise everything so that each item in your home – even down to the last fork – has its set place. Just plonking items somewhere to sort out later will gradually spiral out of control and you will be presented with a disorderly mess which will add to your daily stress and make it difficult to find anything.
It’s a good idea to use boxes or dividers inside each drawer/cupboard which can distinguish section within that drawer for each type of item (ie- a section for pens, a section for paperclips, a section for rubber bands and so on). Using boxes/dividers for clothes is a great way to organise wardrobes too.
3) Be Ruthless/Realistic
Lots of people think of their wardrobes as an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ area. This couldn’t be further from the truth as clutter can zap positive energy and create stress, even if it’s hidden behind a wardrobe door. With clearing your house it’s important that you make a rule and stick to it! For example, if you haven’t worn an item of clothing in 12 months then make sure you put it in the pile for the charity shop. If an item of clothing or pair of shoes doesn’t fit anymore then be realistic and recycle/give to charity.
Clothes and accessories which clutter your home can cause unnecessary stress so try to streamline your wardrobe and drawers to make your living space a nicer, less stressful place to be. This is also true of items which are broken/useless – be realistic about if you’ll ever actually get around to mending them or whether they could be recycled/reloved elsewhere. Clear what is holding you back!
4) Use Feng Shui to Declutter your Life
Feng Shui is a pseudoscience originating from China which looks at energy forces to harmonise individuals with their homes to impact positively on their lives. In literal translation feng means “wind” and shui means “water” and in Chinese culture both of these elements are associated with good health. Understanding where and how to place items within your home to gain the most positive energy according to the beliefs of Feng Shui is a powerful tool in decluttering your home and making it a more calming and healthful space. Placement of items in your home is crucial so as energy is able to flow freely- clutter will be avoided at all costs in Feng Shui because messiness, clutter, and other untidy distractions serve to thwart the flow of qi/energy as well as bring about a sense of discomfort.
Clearing out your wardrobes and cupboards create a better flow and more space – if you literally have to create an open flow of energy in your home, the Feng Shui theory believes that you will be more able to attract good fortune and positive life forces. In a similar vein, plants symbolise the energy of new beginnings so introducing houseplants into the home can bring energy and positivity.
5) How to Prevent Clutter Reappearing
Once you have done all the hard work you need to create a ritual which stops clutter creeping back into your home. Decluttering your life successfully means changing habits, not a ‘one-off’ quick fix. Implement rituals which will make retaining an order easy – for example, wash the dishes right after dinner so that they don’t pile up, ask children to tidy up toys before a new game/toy comes out, make sure the living space is clear before bedtime and always make sure things you put away are in the right place (not just thrown somewhere ‘temporarily’- because we know that it’ll stay right there otherwise!). Changing old habits is crucial to prevent clutter reappearing in your home, thus maintaining a peaceful and calming space to enjoy.
Next, How to Clear and Declutter Your Life…
Now that you understand the basics of clearing and decluttering your home, you can apply the exact same fundamentals to every aspect of your life. Clearing your life is difficult to do but once achieved will bring you clarity, acceptance and peace. Start small, have a place for everything and don’t try to do it all at once. There are five crucial elements to consider when looking at decluttering your life:
- Slow down
Leading space clearing expert Stephanie Bennett Vogt phrases it perfectly: “Our drive to attain and succeed comes at a great cost to the soul. We are malnourished, if not starved, when it comes to compassionate self-acceptance, awareness, and care”
How to Declutter Your Life in 3 Easy Steps
For some, routines can give a sense of purpose and organisation. However if you find yourself governed by routines which cause you anxiety- get rid of them! If you are becoming disenchanted by the daily grind, then do more of what makes you happy. Break out of the usual routine and mix it up; start by doing simple things like changing the route you walk to work, or catching the bus instead of the tube.
Once you have relieved your daily routines of boredom, you can apply the same principle to declutter other areas of your life- are you stuck in a routine with a particular relationship in your life that causes you misery? Do you go round and round talking about the same arguments that never reach a conclusion? Change the routine and stop dancing the well-trodden steps of age-old arguments – if nothing changes, nothing changes. Changing routines is an excellent starting block to clearing your life simply and effectively, leaving a happier healthier you.
We can have ‘clutter’ in our friendships, just like we can in our homes. People who cause us anxiety and unnecessary worry without bringing anything positive to our lives can bring clutter to our headspace. If you find that a friendship is one-sided or the friend is using you and not giving anything back- look to clear this friendship to help declutter your life.
Discover the sense of gratification in letting go and the importance of looking after your own mental health and happiness. Give and take is the lifeblood of true friendship. If you give everything to everyone, you’ll soon have nothing left for you. If your ‘friend’ is sabotaging your chance of progression, ambition and happiness then you need to cut them loose.
Abandoning a friendship, especially if it is one which harbours lots of fond memories, is tough so do it gently and gradually. As with clearing your home, start small. Create distance by occupying your time with other friends and activities. Decluttering your life of a toxic friendship will give you a sense of release and clarity like never before.
3) Letting It Go
Retaining old fears, grievances or memories which cause us pain is one of the primary cause for clutter in our minds and hearts. Learn to let it go… easier said than done we hear you cry! But if you can declutter your life and learn to let go of negative emotions and habits which cause you upset then you can move forwards stronger, more positively and with a fresh outlook which will nourish your soul.
Let go of past failures, forget negative comments and lose self-pity. Retaining these bad memories and experiences will only serve to clutter your heart and continue to cause you sadness in the future.
Hopefully these tips about how to declutter your life will give you the gift of spaciousness and RELEASE. By decluttering your life and your home, you’ll have nothing in your way to stop you achieving the fulfilled and happy life you dream of.
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