How To Declutter & Create More Space In Your Life

Clutter stops the flow of positive energy ~ Jayme Barrett

The idea of decluttering often is associated with ‘cleaning’ or clearing out ‘stuff’ that is taking up some prime real estate in your life. Be it in your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual space. If something takes up your energy in an unproductive way that keeps you stress and stuck in life, you got to let it go. Sounds simple enough right?

The Problem

As humans, we are habitual creatures. Research has shown that 45% of what we do on a daily basis is habitual. This means half of the thoughts we choose to think about and the decisions we choose to make and do in life is determined by the quality of our thoughts and habits. And when it comes to maintaining a clutter-free environment in our lives, there are certain habits we can practice more regularly to help us better manage our energy and flow in life instead of being weighed down by ‘stuff’.

Be Honest

How often do you put your needs aside in order to please others? Or, continue to hold on to something, be it a belief, story or a physical object that has long past its expiry date. In his book, Clutter Busting, Brooks Palmer points out that clutter represents the fear of change. When our external environment ends up calling the shots in our life, it is our call to action to stop, observe and re-connect with ourselves. Yet a lot of times we choose to power through. We ignore the discomfort we feel in our body and what we sense in our mind. We create excuses and convince ourselves otherwise that this is temporary. This too shall pass. Or you may hold the belief that we should continue to persist in life because it is a testament to our character and strength. But sometimes strength is also consciously knowing when to let go, and knowing when we need to take back our control to honor our own internal desires and safeguard our well-being. Because when we don’t do this, our lives become cluttered with things, thoughts, emotions, activities and people that drain us. Instead of letting things build up, you can manage the clutter in your life before it gets out of hand and affects your well-being.

What is Clutter?

Anything that drains you or takes up space in your environment that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life. Physically. This is anything that looms in your closet, home, office space that you no longer have the use for or have not touched in more than a year. They are either junk, unfinished projects you’ve told yourself you’ll finish, or activities you’ve signed yourself up for but your heart is no longer feeling it. It is anything that energetically takes a toll on you with no benefits in return. Mentally. When you are clouded with negative and disempowering thoughts that affect your ability to think clearly, creatively and come up with ideas. Emotionally. When you are hanging around people who are consistently downers and drains your energy. Spiritually. When your needs are drowned out by the noise and clutter in your physical, mental and emotional space.

7 habits that successful people employ regularly to maintain a clutter-free environment

When stuff doesn’t hold you down, you have space, time and energy available to do things that give you pleasure and stimulate the energy flow to promote health, happiness, and abundance in your life.

Declutter your work and living spaces

In the book, The Winning You, author and life coach Sanket Pai rightly points out that a cluttered workspace obscures one’s mind and thoughts, and makes it hard to focus and process information. When you come across something in your home or office space that you no longer need or want, toss it. Or if you think ‘it may come in handy someday’ put it in a box or somewhere out of sight. If you haven’t visited your box in a year, it is time to throw it away. Alternatively, you can donate, sell or barter it. There are many local non-profits that seek out gently use items. For books that are not outdated donate it to your local libraries, or use your imagination and use it as a decorating statement in your home. You trade locally and can use your digital currency to buy or trade for services at local merchants.

Have a vision of what you want to create in your work and living spaces

Before purchasing any furnishings for your home, it is good to have an idea on how you see it being used in the space to meet your needs and what it would feel like. Have a vision of what you are trying to create in the space and what function is it going to add to your standard of living and the physical space in your life. This helps to keep things simple, neat and balanced in your environment, and minimize the accumulation of stuff in your life.

Drop any activity that doesn’t contribute to your growth

Easier said than done, but be deliberate in what you choose to spend time and energy on. Growing up I always felt like I had to please everyone and say yes to everything or else I’d be seen as rude. But as we all know it’s important to set healthy boundaries or else we would feel exhausted trying to keep peace and be perfect. To ensure we don’t lose ourselves in everybody else’s stuff, it’s important to take an inventory of who you surround yourself with and the activities you engage yourself in from time to time. For example, when it comes to activities, make a list of what you are currently doing. Ask yourself:

  • What are the activities doing for you?
  • How does it contribute to your growth and well-being?
  • Which are important and necessary?
  • Are there are any non-essential obligations?
  • What can you delegate to free up time doing things you enjoy doing?

Be picky with who you give your time and energy to

As with the previous point, be deliberate in who you surround yourself with and give your time to. As Jim Rohn said, ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So make a list of the people you hang around the most.

  • What are they doing for you?
  • Do they inspire you or drain you?
  • What have they got you thinking?
  • What have they got you becoming?

Sanket uses the metaphor of a tortoise to create your total focus bubble and protect yourself from unimportant people. Say Yes to connecting with others that fuels you. Say No to those who drain you.

Keep a notebook by your side

This is good for brain dumping fabulous ideas that come to you so that you won’t have to utilize your brainpower to remember it. It is also useful for dumping out negative thoughts and feelings that are keeping you up at night to help you process, let go, find clarity and come to terms with what it is you need to do to find relief in a matter. Sometimes I even find just jotting down a few things I am grateful for can help pivot my negative thoughts to a more neutral headspace. And that alone gets me re-centred and re-focused on what is important, uncluttering the noise in my mind.

Schedule time to meditate

Research has shown that people who meditate are more grounded, more focused and are more in control. As little as 10 minutes day can make a huge difference in keeping you from being hi-jacked by negative thoughts and emotions.

Schedule time to Exercise

We all know exercise does your body good. Yet it is one of the first things we let fall by the wayside when we are stressed and under a lot of pressure. So why not schedule some intentional physical movement in so that it takes up space in your calendar instead of the other way around where you are trying to unclutter your schedule to make room for exercise.

Over to you

It is time to implement one or two of these ideas regularly and dust off the pollutants in your life. Be it people, activities or dust itself, be intentional on what you put in your life. Free yourself up to spending less time dealing with ‘stuff’ and tend to the callings of your soul. What can you eliminate in your life today to create more peace and zen in your life?

This article is adapted from the website, ‘Happy Free Lifestyle,’ where it first appeared. It is written by its Founder, Theresa Ho, who is a free-spirited, freedom lovin’, income diversifying, travel junkie sent to help apprehensive go-getters reclaim their lives and grow into their most authentic self.

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