“Declutter your mind, your heart, your home. Let go of the heaviness that is weighing you down. Make your life simple, but significant.”
– Maria Defillo
Spring cleaning is not just a spring occasion. As the days get shorter, we start to spend more time inside the house. Increased time logged in our homes is often accompanied by the realization that our lives are far more cluttered than we’d like them to be.
Clutter does more than cover up the carpet or swallows missing possessions into a mysterious abyss. The consequences of clutter can creep into other facets of our lives. A clutter overload, mental or physical, can lead to difficulty focusing, increased stress, anxiety, strained relationships, and overall lower quality of life. Here are a few simple tips to clean up the clutter in both your physical and mental environment.
Take it a step at a time:
Rome wasn’t built—or decluttered—in a day. Starting any new project may seem daunting at first. Breaking it down into smaller bite-sized projects helps build confidence and preserves bandwidth to see the total project to completion. Start small. What does your kitchen’s junk drawer look like? Toss out the dead batteries and expired coupons, and perhaps discover your long-lost spare keys. Revel in your success, find a new project, and repeat!
Decluttering isn’t synonymous with throwing everything away. Important documents should live separately from decades-worth of holiday cards, and it might be easier to find your winter coat if it’s hung up rather than stuffed in the back of the closet. Amazon, Target, and The Container Store all have great and reasonably priced organization systems to separate and contain the many physical facets of your life.
Routines help keep order in both your physical and mental spaces. The concept of a routine is to train yourself into doing something that you no longer have to actively track. Consider incorporating habits, such as doing the dishes, as soon as you’re done eating or folding the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. Your brain and muscle memory starts to get used to routines, making it easier to convince yourself to accomplish these necessary tasks. Not only are you trimming down opportunities for things to pile up, but you are clearing mental space to focus on other (and hopefully more fun) thoughts.
Turn off your phone!
Everyone is busy, but there simply MUST be a sliver of time in your day when your device doesn’t need to be surgically attached to your hand. We promise you—it’s there. Pick an amount of time that you can safely survive without your smartphone, whether that be for 30 minutes after the kids are asleep or trade scrolling for a book during your nighttime wind-down. Feeling like we always need to respond to something or be available to someone is mental clutter that can quickly become exhausting. Give yourself the opportunity to mentally refresh. Life moves fast, give yourself permission to slow it down.
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