The Power of De-Cluttering!

"external clutter is internal clutter on display"

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It’s March 25th 2023 here in the UK and tomorrow sees the start of British summertime with the clocks going forward by an hour. Spring is officially here and for me it’s a good time to do some deep spring cleaning and have a good declutter  getting rid of items that no longer serve a useful purpose in my life.

I always look forward to the process of decluttering  especially when life has been feeling a little stagnant because the process of getting my physical space in order always feels so very deeply transformative  on so many different levels.

Clutter is said to represent postponed decisions, procrastination and muddled thinking and when our  physical space is cluttered, these emotions are usually made worse.

“edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all” – nathan w morris

Our physical space can negatively or positively have an effect on our ability to complete tasks as well as on our mental health. If our environment feels scattered then its likely to also have an impact on our mental space.

Whenever you find yourself feeling edgy, unhappy, unproductive or just at odds with yourself, take a good look at your physical environment, are your rooms, cupboards and shelves in chaos?

If so, then perhaps its time for a declutter and time to let go of things that have outgrown their purpose and are no longer serving you.

Decluttering is not just about creating more space and  keeping your home and physical environment tidy,  it may also mean that you are creating more space for your mind.  Decluttering generates fresh energy, creating mental and physical space for better clarity and gives us the opportunity to release any negativity that we may have become attached to.

“the first step in crafting the life that you want is to get rid of everything you dont” – joshua becker

Whenever I begin the process of decluttering and I see emptier shelves, cupboards and better organised and simplified rooms, I feel more at peace and more in alignment with the best version of myself. Decluttering can also be positively addictive in that once you start, there’s an urge to continue.

Your home is a reflection of who you are. Having an untidy or home full of clutter may be a sign of a deeper underlying issue such as grief, loss or other life changing circumstance. For a heathier mind body and soul, its important to figure out what your clutter represents.  People sometimes hold onto physical items for comfort and security but its actually the act of letting go of those items that will enable healing and a clearer mind.

“if someone doesn’t live with you then neither should their stuff” – monika kristofferson

Apart from a tidier and less congested physical environment, other benefits of decluttering include:

  • Less stress and anxiety – a disorderly environment can make us feel anxious and out of control. The physical act of decluttering, sorting and getting rid of unwanted items will be therapeutic and leave you feeling re energised, freer, and much lighter and more emotionally balanced. A decluttered space promotes calmness enabling you to maintain a peaceful environment.
  • Better concentration –  organising and getting rid of unnecessary stuff will lead to better concentration for the things that really matter. This will also boost your productivity and creativity and help you work with a clear mind.
  • Helps you to heal and move on – decluttering will also help you to get rid of things that arouse uneasy feelings and memories of the past. Getting rid of certain items can help you to heal and move on from the past with a better chance of accepting the present.
  • Discover your lost treasures – decluttering is a good way to to find your lost items and things that you’d even forgotten about. This may save you from spending money on things you thought you’d have to buy again.
  • Better sleep – A cluttered home can interfere with a good night’s sleep because the brain is busy mentally processing the external stimuli that remains outstanding on the “to do” list. Decluttering especially the sleep space can help you to sleep a lot quicker and improve sleep quality.
  • Gives you the power to organise other areas of your life – decluttering enables you to be selective about what is necessary and important to you. If you can be selective about what is in your home then you can also focus on being selective about the way you live your life in general. Being an effective declutterer will enable you to say “no” more often to things that are not necessary and things that do not add a positive contribution to your life.
  • Creates positive habits – a good way of building positive habits and increasing productivity is by being intentional about what we allow into our physical (and mental) space. Uncluttered space gives us a clearer view of our options allowing us to make more conscious decisions.
  • Reduces allergens – uncluttered homes reduce dust mites and thus allergy symptoms.
  • Helps us to focus on gratitude – when we declutter then we are better able to focus more on the good things in our lives and be grateful for those things.
  • Encourages mindfulness – a decluttered physical environment will keep us more focused on the present. A cluttered environment will also lead to a cluttered mind because we are constantly aware of what we need to do.
  • Easier to achieve goals – one of the reasons for failing to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves is that we tend to get distracted by the things around us. Having less clutter allows us to focus on our goals and not be distracted by the things around us.
  • Having more space and easier to maintain routines –  decluttering creates clearer and more physical space which obviously make the area more comfortable to function in. When there is less physical clutter then you’re less distracted and its easier to maintain routines such as cleaning, finding clothes and deciding what to wear, deciding what to eat etc.

“when you live surrounded in clutter, it’s impossible to have clarity about what you are doing in life” – karen kingston

“get rid of clutter and you may just find it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for” – katrina mayer

The 6 Basic Rules of Decluttering

Marie Kondo, author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up”  pioneered The “KonMari”  method  which encourages tidying by category rather than by location.

Decluttering on a “room by room” or “little by little” approach is discouraged as it promotes a tendency to “pick away at your piles of stuff forever”

The “KonMari” method  which follows 6 basic rules has proved popular as a result of it’s effectiveness and focus on being mindful , introspective and forward looking.

“life truly begins only after you have put your house in order” – marie kondo

  • Rule 1 – Commit  Yourself to Tidying Up – set the intention to seriously tidy up and resolve to put in the time and effort required. If you do this with a clear vision and “can do” attitude then you’ll find the motivation to tidy all your belongings in one go. Following this rule will enable you to experience the joy of living with only objects you love and also put you on the path to establishing your ideal life.
  • Rule 2 – Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle – this is about decluttering and tidying up in a way that will “spark joy” in your life and transform it. Think about what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it. When you can imagine your ideal lifestyle, you’re clarifying why you really want to declutter and  tidy and envisioning your best life.  The decluttering and tidying up process reflects a vital turning point.
  • Rule 3 – Finish Discarding First –  the main thing here is to actually focus on what you want to keep, cherish the items that bring you joy and discard the rest with gratitude. Discarding items is an important part of the process because it allows you to learn from your past experiences. Getting rid of items that you’ve never used teaches you that you had no real purpose for them in your life. Thinking deeply about what you discard will affect how you live and acquire new things in the future. Discarding items also enables you to accurately grasp how much actually needs to be stored. It is only after you have discarded that you can then turn your full energy and  attention to that which brings you joy.
  • Rule 4 – Tidy by Category, Not by Location –  We often store the same type of item in more than one place so that when we tidy each place separately we simply repeat the same task in many locations. In order to tidy up and declutter  more effectively the “KonMari method” advocates that we tidy up by category and not by location – beginning with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items and finally sentimental items.

“it might seem logical to tackle one shelf, closet or room at a time. But tidying this way will doom you to a life of clutter. In order to tidy up completely – and change your life forever  – you must tidy by category, not by location” – marie kondo

  • Rule 5 – Follow the Right Order –   ( clothes – books – papers – miscellaneous – sentimental)  Tidying in the right order has proven to be the most efficient and effective.  Starting with clothes tends to be relatively straightforward, whilst ending with sentimental items might seem more challenging.  Following the right order will allow you to hone your decision making skills as you go so that by the end, choosing what to keep will be a simpler task. Your energy and enthusiasm will increase as you move through each category. You may feel physically tired as you move through each task but getting rid of unnecessary clutter will act as “an invigorating pick me up” This process will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the method and of yourself.
  • Rule 6 – Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy – You alone know what type of environment makes you happy. The “KonMari” Method  promotes your feelings as the standard for decision making- “specifically, knowing what sparks joy.”   When going through the decluttering process, the key is to pick up each object and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” paying attention to how you feel.  Adopting this method will help you to identify precisely what you love and what you need.

“have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – william morris

Creating an orderly physical space gives us better control over other areas of our lives. In order to make our physical environments tidier and clutter free , we need to develop and adopt good habits and practices. This will sometimes involve making difficult choices about what we need to get rid of but doing so will give us a clearer sense of purpose and better mind body and soul alignment. Overall having a tidy physical environment enables and supports us in living our best lives – the lives we want and deserve!

 

I hope you have found this useful and would love to hear your feedback

 

Wishing you many happy moments that truly  “spark joy”

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22 thoughts on “The Power of De-Cluttering!”

  1. It’s always hard to know where to start …a great article … I need to find the energy to do this as I know it will make a big difference

    1. Green scepter

      sometimes, mental hoarding manifests its self to the physical especially when we have refused to let go.
      until we understand the importance of de-cluttering (especially spiritually), we would never be able to move forward.

  2. Great article. Gave me the impetus to finally get rid of some clothes and other items that I had hung onto for no good reason. My gain. My charity’s gain as well

    1. Great topic. Me and my wife decided its time to start de-clutter our spare room back to a spare room as it became a storage room.

  3. I am always amazed at how strongly I am attached to some belongings even if I don’t use them for years. I always think that I will need them at some point.

  4. Great reading as I totally agree that one can function better if you take the time to declutter what’s around you, enabling you to think better.

  5. Great reading. It’s always good to de-clutter as it allows the brain to to make positive thoughts of what needs to be done.

  6. I love decluttering! Stuff just seems to accumulate, and I am always working to pare it down. I don’t like “stuff” everywhere!

  7. Decluttering is another very important topic touched upon by Antonia, with her characteristic insights and practical steps to go about it.

    As always she focusses on the fundamental, important and useful

    . De-cluttering is something some thing people do instinctively and it takes various forms like cleaning your phones of cache, cookies and spam . It improves efficiency allows you to focus on essential.

    She shines the light on the benefits of decluttering like, creating an orderly and soothing environment,
    reducing anxiety , enhancing concentration snd focus , healing , and discovering lost treasures and useful items which may be lost and unutilized in the clutter of accumulated rubbish, and of other benefits.

    The six basic rules of the ‘KonMari’ method gives the discipline, shape, focus, understanding and symmetry.

    As usual the subject matter is dealt with brevity and thoroughness.

    He podcasts on these topics https://spotify.link/4nTsJvfWqyb
    are also excellent and a natural progression from her very informative, useful and interesting essays.

    There is a lacunae nowadays, in the age of the smartphone, of superficial subject matter and instant gratification, of rabble rousing divisive content , for more serious, ethical positive, interesting and potentially life changing content.

    We have perhaps become impatient, forgotten the joys of reading and hearing about important topics and life tools, and to see the remarkable and almost immediate and positive impact they have on our lives.

    Rendered in a very congenial, friendly and informative tone, it is a podcast which has potential and needs to be heard and assimilated. A very honest and exemplary effort.

    Keep up the good work !

  8. Aaahhh yes! I am so in for de-cluttering. For so long, I held unto material objects as my super-power and regarded them so high. Little did I know they were taking up so much in my life and soon enough, I wouldn’t have space to add new material that I actually needed!

  9. Great article. Decluttering is something I do quite often. Even my 13 year old daughter does this in her bedroom. It really does lighten the energy in the room and give a new lift.

  10. Great reading. I agree that one can function better if the time to declutter what’s around you was taken. It must enable better thinking and energy.

  11. Oh yes, I totally agree that clutter messes with my head! When I’m stressed and overwhelmed, the best thing to do is really to clean up and declutter. Just today, I did that.

  12. Decluttering in spring is something I love the most. As very well explained it feels like new start for me. Such a useful categorisation by Antonia. As always your articles are so good and I will save to go back to it. Thank you Antonia.

  13. For the very first time, when reading Antonia’s blogs, my initial thoughts, with this particular one, is not for me. As a self admitting neat freak, it wasn’t immediately obvious how this blog would be beneficial to me as an individual. However, the more I read, the more it began to resonate with me, and I wasn’t too far down the blog, when I began to eat my own words. This latest blog on decluttering was illuminating and thought provoking. Once I finished reading it, I sat and thought about everything that I had just read. Then, after about 30 minutes, I set myself a challenge. Go through my house from top to bottom and everything I came across, That, for one reason, or another, in the past five years, I had not seen, noticed, touched, needed or used, discard them (declutter). From a worn out pair of old slippers my ex girlfriend gave me, to a broken ancient laptop, I managed to fill two bin bags to the brim, and yes, it was quite satisfying, especially the slippers. Antonia, this blog is another winner. Once again, I am in your debt.

  14. Good read this spot on with what is said I find getting off to a good start in the morning like a workout at the gym really sets Me up for the day and praying 🙏

  15. I find decluttering gives me a feeling of lightness when I’m done. I try not to buy things without knowing where it’s going to live and how I’m going to use it.

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