We’ve all heard about the American culture of material possession. While Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods, the rest of the world is doing no better. We are constantly surrounded by things and items that hold small to none value for us.
One of the guests on my Friday LIVE stream, Anna Newman, believes that by decluttering our space we can become more mindful and calm as human beings. Anna found her passion and focused on what she is good at: helping others to declutter and turn their lives around from living in anxiety and chaos to being a calmer and thus happier person.
Cluttering can happen naturally. With changes in the living and working situations, nowadays many of us are forced to be at home most of the time. Being at home can be a tricky thing, as the space gets cluttered and disorganized with all the activities of our family at home. This can affect us in every aspect of our lives.
If we are not successful in simplifying our surroundings, we tend to get overwhelmed. This feeling causes stress and anxiety in other parts of our life, such as relationship and work. And no doubt, you are not going to declutter when you are stressed out, so in the end, you find yourself in the situation with only more stress than before.
On the other hand, fixing the physical environment (aka tidying up your living space) leads to becoming more mindful and productive in other areas of your life.
Here are several tips that Anna shared with us during the LIVE stream that you can start implementing right now:
Reflect on your habits. When trying to declutter, start by asking yourself a couple of questions to find out a deeper reason for clutter in your mind:
What in my upbringing caused me to start collecting things around me?
When did I start to be like that?
What am I afraid to let in my life, so I need to protect myself with clutter?
Be mindful when decluttering. It’s going to be a complicated journey and you need to start it with the right mindset. Anna suggests that you go through a checklist of questions when decluttering every single item:
Do I really need this item?
What is this item’s purpose? Does it still fullfil that purpose?
Does this item has any sentimental value? Do I have any other items that hold the same value?
Group things and prioritize. When you start tidying up and bringing some structure into your life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Start by grouping a couple of items and choose your favourite one or two of them. Then, let go of others.
Start small. Give yourself time and take it slow. You can start by decluttering one drawer at a time, or set a limit of 15 minutes to go through things. This process may be painful and full of emotions, so you need to let yourself feel those and make sure that you are guided by your mind and heart, not by the idea to finish it faster. Break the process down in small chunks, to let your mind hang along with the transformation your physical surroundings are going through. If your mind doesn’t hang along, the newly cleaned up space will get cluttered again.
Ask for help. Going through things can be an overwhelming experience, so make sure that you have someone with you to guide you and help you along the way. It can be an organizing expert, your partner, family member or a friend.
The most important part of decluttering is to have the right mindset. It’s like losing weight: anybody can tell you how to do it, and probably you’ll be able to do it after exercising some willpower. Though all people who lost some weight know, that the most important part comes after you achieved your goal: you need to make sure that you keep the result for a long time.
Remember that decluttering is not an end-goal, it’s a journey and lifestyle. The ultimate goal is to let go of things that create a background “noise” in your life and create some space to let in things that are important to you (not only physical items).
With all my love and care,