I love January – it’s that month of the year when you want to do everything right: eat healthy, sleep well, drink less, move more, work smart, and so on and on. Of course, eventually life catches up and our energy and enthusiasm wane. The mind becomes preoccupied with too many things, one practically indistinguishable from another, and everything seems to start falling apart.
You may ask at this point: “What does this have to do with decluttering?”
Or you may even think that this isn’t very encouraging to talk about failures in the first days of the new year.
But bear with me here while I tell you that decluttering can have everything to do with your energy and space to keep going in the right direction. And it may prevent you from failing along the way.
Clutter may mean nothing but a messy room to us, but it is actually much-much more than that. Clutter is a collection of unnecessary things that bring no value, have no designated place in your home and life, and yet take up a lot of physical and mental space. It’s sitting there and draining your mental and physical energy because your brain has to process it every time it comes into your sight. Somewhere at the back of your mind you know that it shouldn’t be there, that you should do something about it but you simply don’t have time or energy for it.
These loose things that have no home within your home are somewhat similar to the free radicals nutritionists love talking about. They accumulate and they travel around your house from one place to another, distracting you and not letting you truly relax. And they have everything to do with your productivity and success in your goals, simply because of the mental burden they can be. They do not let you concentrate and they demotivate you.
This is why you need to declutter and create clear space in your home and work environments to help you succeed and prioritise the things that truly matter and add value to your life.
Easy Decluttering Tips to Create Space for Success
If you want a full research into decluttering strategies and philosophy, I highly recommend you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising or Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. If you want to learn more about the philosophy of minimalism, try The More of Less: Finding The Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. There is a lot of good books on this subject.
Here, however, I would like to share some quick strategies that can help you keep your space tidy and clutter-free right now to increase your productivity and allow for physical and mental relaxation. Let’s get started!
Keep One Space Tidy
This is a gentle way to embrace the concept of a tidy home. I suggest you pick the place that has something to do with your New Year’s goals or priorities. For example, if this is related to work/creative space, then you should focus on your work space. If it is to do with healthy meal prep, then it should be your kitchen space. If you struggle with exercising at home, pick the place where you exercise.
Pick your space, get rid of the clutter by either discarding the unnecessary items or finding a permanent home for the items you’d like to keep. Clean and arrange that space, style it in a way that inspires you to action. Now, maintain it that way no matter what. You will thank yourself for doing this.
5-Minute Tidying Blitz
Five minutes do not take long (only five minutes!). Pick a room to declutter, set the timer on your phone to 5 minutes and run around the room picking all misplaced items and putting them together in the centre of the room. Once the time is up, look through the pile and replace the items where they belong or toss them out.
365 Decluttering Project
Start a 365 Decluttering Project to help you feel lighter and more productive. In this project, you simply get rid of one (1) item each day.
Do a quick raid of your wardrobe, setting a timer if you wish. Take out anything you don’t wear or need, or anything that doesn’t fit. If you’re not sure about something, you can put them in a ‘Maybe’ box. Keep that box for 6 to 12 months and if you use something out of it, you can replace that item in your wardrobe. However, anything that doesn’t belong in your wardrobe or the ‘Maybe’ box should go. Donate if it’s good quality, recycle if it’s damaged.
‘Do I absolutely need it?’
Ask yourself this question when you are looking to buy something. If there is even the slightest shade of doubt, that’s a no. Unless time proves it wrong.
‘One In – One Out’ Rule
This is the simplest rule you can apply when buying new things to prevent accumulation of stuff. As you bring one thing in, throw one out. It will help keep the balance. Best if you can get rid of one thing from the same category, for example, if you bought a clothing item, get rid of another clothing item you don’t need.
It may not seem obvious when you first think about it, but a cluttered space can have a very negative impact on our lives in every aspect. It really is a burden that takes up so much space and energy, that there is very little of it left for other things, like personal goals and projects. It’s always sitting at the back of your mind, reminding you that you have to take care of it. And the more you push it back, trying to silence it, the stronger it becomes.
Decluttering (and adopting new habits) can help you take that weight off your chest and breathe easy. If you don’t believe me, do an experiment and just declutter one room to the point where you can see clear surfaces, and the only items visible on those surfaces are the ones that you love and cherish, the ones that make you feel inspired when you look at them. Try this and see how you feel.