How to declutter your life for stress relief isn't just about getting rid of items-it's also about the feelings associated with each item. Often, what stresses us out isn't the item itself but how it makes us feel or what we think it represents about our lives.
In other words, decluttering your life is more than just cleaning your house; it's a self-improvement journey that requires deep thought and introspection.
In this article, we will cover two areas clutter affects us and steps we can take to live a clutter-free life for stress relief. 1. Physical Clutter and 2. Mental Clutter
How to Declutter - Physical Clutter
Physical clutter can be anything that you own but don't use. It's the toy you bought for your child last Christmas, the video game you played once three years ago, or the old furniture in your basement. Physical clutter poses a problem for some people because it fills up their space and makes rooms appear smaller.
Other people feel stressed because they are surrounded by things they are reminded of every day. For example, if you never got around to hanging your college diploma on the wall, chances are you'll be reminded of it every time you walk past the framed document in your hallway.
The Good news is you can stop accumulating physical clutter. It will require some discipline and persistence from you, but it is doable if you can commit to these steps below:
1. Take the Clutter "Face-Off" Challenge:
If clutter has been pushing and making you want to leave your home, It is time to take control of your space and FACE the clutter and Deal with it once and for all.
So, Look at all the stuff around you and evaluate all of them. If you are familiar with Marie Kondo’s book and show- “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Tackle one room at a time, Go into any room you want to Clear up and dump everything out in a pile.
Another option is to try clearing one item of furniture each day. For example, today, you may want to tackle your wardrobe in the master bedroom.
The next day you’ll pick the chest of drawers and move through the entire room until you’ve finished accessing the stuff you have.
2. Box the Clutter:
To help achieve this decluttering with less headache, Get four Boxes and label them.
- Box 1: SELL
- Box 2: KEEP
- Box 3: GIVE AWAY
- Box 4: TRASH
Now Let me say, this process might feel tough because you probably have some attachment to some (if not all) of the stuff, but that’s what got you here, so time to toughen up and drop items in each box appropriately.
You don’t have to fold or clean or organise anything other than doing this one task as you go through each room one at a time.
Say wah? Alright, Chill, you are only Unboxing the KEEP BOX, just that.
Once you have pulled the keep box away from other boxes, go through, and organise the stuff you want to keep.
You can do the folding like the packet method. It makes it easier to see your items in a drawer and prevents them from falling apart when looking to pick the right thing.
Using little boxes, dividers, and other ways to organise your things will also help you keep them organised after doing all the work.
4. Create a Home within your Home:
Everything in the house should have a home, from your jewellery to kids socks to toys to phones chargers.
Adopt the “right place” approach after using something.
When done with your nail file, where is the right place to go? When done with your tea in the morning, where’s the right place for the mug to go? (you get the idea.) E.g., in the kitchen, if you drink coffee or other hot beverages using machinery for it, consider setting up a little coffee or beverage area.
This allows them to be easily accessed and neatly organised.
5. Get “Sort” Baskets:
Clutters build up sneakily, especially when we are very busy, and before you know it, you get back to Step 1-4 above (and that’s a lotta work!).
The best approach is to deal with clutter daily and stop bringing stuff back in.
Here’s where the Sort Basket comes in, have one in each room, or You can get two sets of baskets if you live in a duplex, An excellent place to keep them is in the entryway or the laundry room.
If you notice something that doesn't belong in the room, drop it in the basket. So everyone in the family knows where to go when looking for “stray” items.
6. Shine Through:
An excellent way to enjoy your living space is to give it a touch of you, allow your personality to reflect in your home, consider how you will love to feel when you walk into each room.
Note the things you want to go to the rooms to make them very comfortable and easy to maintain and organise.
When things in your home look nice and you feel comfortable, you’re more likely to keep it that way.
7. Adopt a 2:1 Rule:
Rules are created for a good reason, and more importantly, as adults, setting self-discipline rules can help us set standards for all situations in our lives.
When it comes to Clutter, setting a 2:1 Rule will help you immensely. The 2:1 rule is that you must remove two things from your environment when you bring one thing in.
You can add other rules, such as if it’s a shoe or clothing, it must be a needed item because the other one is not wearable now.
If it’s a household item, make sure there’s a logical reason why you should bring it in and not become another dust collector.
8. Hire a Professional Organiser
If you struggle or have no experience in organising or clearing clutter.
Hire a professional organiser who will come to your space with their team to help you accomplish your goals.
There is no shame in outsourcing something you don’t want to do.
If your home is cluttered mostly because you hate cleaning and organising and don’t want to do it even if it will make your life better and you can afford to, by all means, hire someone to do it all for you.
To stop accumulating physical cutter, you remember to take the faceoff challenge. Adopt the 2:1 Rule and every other step mentioned above.
Something beautiful that will happen is the mental, physical, spiritual, and financial positive shifts.
You will love it, and hopefully, that positive outcome is enough to stop you from going back to accumulating Clutter
How to Declutter - Mental Clutter
"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius.
If you want to enjoy a satisfactory, happy and successful life, you can do one great thing for yourself: recognise and eliminate accumulating mental clutter.
Negative thoughts and actions that lead to self belittling talks (“I’m worthless,” I’m Lazy”, ‘I’m such a Looser”) can be linked to Mental Clutter.
9. Think Positive:
Changing around your thinking will help a lot with combatting mental clutter.
For example, you may want to trigger your brain to thinking differently by asking yourself a few questions about any situation.
Questions like, “Is this important?” “Can I change it, control it or fix it ?” Once You can be honest about the things you have control over and what you don’t have control over, you’ll be able to tackle it with a clear mind.
When you think of something disturbingly or negatively, it’s important to know how to turn your thought patterns around.
Use some planned methods such as taking a deep breath, repeating affirmations, or writing in your gratitude journal.
Whatever it takes to turn those thoughts around and stop having them is something you should consider doing.
10. Deal with Physical Clutter
By now, you understand the steps you need to clear the physical clutter around you; this, of course, will help you deal better with mental clutter.
You might not appreciate how much of your mental clutter is caused by the physical clutter until you clear and sort things out.
There are Scientific studies that show that clutter causes anxiety. It’s not anxiety that causes clutter but the reverse. When you realise that fact, you'll appreciate why it's important to live a clutter-free life.
11. Schedule Screen Time:
We need to step away from screens deliberately at different times during the day; the stuff we get fed by what we see on the screen is enough to fill our minds with clutter.
A look at the buzz on your phone that’s meant to be a 1mins check-in can turn into 2hours if not more of Facebooking or Instagramming, then couple with programmes on Tv you’ve got to catch up on, and oh the Cinema you have booked later in the evening.
Scheduling your screen time helps you control and manage what you feed your mind.
Even if you are on the screen at work, let it be for productive purposes and then take a few minutes off intermittently to refresh the mind.
12. Stop Multitasking
People feel multitasking helps makes them more productive when it's not a productive approach to getting things done.
Study after study shows that even among the smartest people, no one can multitask. Your brain can’t focus on two things at once.
You may think you are, but you’re not giving it your all when you’re not focused. When you are doing one task, focus only on that task.
Turn off distractions on your phone, listen to music if it motivates or inspires you. You achieve more when you focus on something without distractions.
At first, your mind may wander, but eventually, it will settle into the activity you’re doing if you keep doing it.
If you are struggling to focus, you can try mindful meditation before a particular task and activity after you have de-cluttered your physical environment.
If this doesn’t help, consider talking to your doctor about it.
13. Exercise and Eat Clean
Exercising and eating whole foods is beneficial to your overall well-being.
I don't believe in strict exercises and diets; a simple 10 to 20 minutes walk a day can be enough exercise to maintain health.
You can increase the minutes as the days go by, but the point is Do you, Do what feels okay with your body.
When it comes to eating, ensuring you are getting enough nutrition for your personal needs is important.
Eating right and moving more will cut down on mental clutter because you will get clarity, feel better and have more energy to get more done.
14. Use Your Calendar
Let me introduce you to a new friend you should roll with all day, every day - CALENDAR! A calendar is a great place to keep your lists.
Even if you start on paper or your smartphone, it is a good idea to always transfer on your calendar. You can use Google Calendar, Trello or Notion.
Get in the routine of checking your calendar morning and evening before committing to something new.
Forgetting things can cause mental clutter. To avoid that, write down everything you promise to do (whether to someone else or yourself) in a calendar.
Be sure to block off enough time to get ready for it, get to it, enjoy it, and leave it and decompress from “it” whatever it is.
When you do things on the list, mark the items off as completed.
This will make you feel accomplished each day and reduce mental clutter, and you will avoid procrastination, stress or worry about missing a deadline.
Plus, having a realistic idea of what you need to do during any given day or time helps you manage expectations; you will know when to say yes or no to a request or idea.
15. Automate More Stuff
As Moms, we tend to have so much stuff to do with our spouse, kids, folks, and friends.
We don't like to say No and often say “yes” more than we should and underestimate our ability sometimes and overestimate it other times.
To help get rid of so much mental clutter, you can outsource some duties. You can outsource housework, childcare, organising, laundry – whatever it is that is causing you the most stress, and mental clutter is the first thing you should consider outsourcing or automating.
Examples of things you can automate are Bill payments, Food delivery with a food box, exercise (by asking your trainer to come to get you from your house), you get the idea?
Think of those things you can easily automate around you so you can get more done in less time with less mental clutter.
Final Thoughts on how to declutter your life for stress relief
Eliminating the accumulation of clutter in your life and mind will positively impact your life. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive in all aspects of your life.
From home to work, you’ll be able to prioritise and make better choices so that you don’t bring clutter back into your life, whether physical or mental.