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”