How to declutter your life – Reduce stress, Act faster, Keep it lean
Would you say the path to minimalism is rather easy or difficult? It’s probably a matter of opinion. However, if we want good stuff in our life, we need to start making room for the good stuff. It sounds like an easy formula but the realization of it is far more challenging.
Minimalism in everything calls for willpower. It teaches us how to live a purpose-driven life with minimum stuff. Decluttering your life and home could be an inspiring starting point, and I’m going to suggest a few tips and web resources here waiting to be tried out.
Why is decluttering challenging?
The culture built around us has hidden messages. On TV, on the internet, and in the streets, we constantly hear the same whisper: “whatever you possess is not enough – you still “need” to buy something to be happy”.
Consciously or subconsciously, we become obsessed with material possessions and fall into a habit of buying more and more. We no longer seem to experience the blessed feeling of satisfaction…
Declutter your Life – Where do You Start?
Tried and tested methods come to help those who search for a decluttered life.
1. Clean it up!
Start a cleaning day. Drawers, closets, wardrobes, entire rooms, working tables, laptop desktops, phone contacts… Organize and reorganize, think and rethink – do you really need that? How long has it been there untouched? Keep it super simple.
Here is a game you can play: announce a 30-day declutter: you throw away one item on the first day, two items on the second day, three items on the third day… And the game continues for an entire month. Give it a try and have fun! Remember that to declutter your life is about quality over quantity.
2. Recycle, donate, give away
Graham Hill, in his talk “Less stuff, more happiness” suggests that “less might actually be more”. Make yourself happy by getting rid of the stuff you can live without and sense a feeling of freedom. Want another game? This time you challenge yourself to donate one item per week: books, clothes, gadgets, devices or furniture…
Continue playing the game for 6 months, and soon you will find your surroundings simpler and more organized. Besides donating, you can also start recycling. What if you paint your favorite chair, sofa or cupboard instead of buying a new one?
3. Stop buying stuff!
Consumerism has made up various clichés to force us into activities that benefit the system but, eventually, ruin the balance of our life. Forget about shopping as a means of getting rid of stress. Forget about malls as places for socializing. All of this has been created to tempt us into buying more and more stuff. Make your purchase but answer these questions before taking an action:
Could you do without that? Do you buy it to make yourself happy or merely to impress someone? If a thing adds value to your life, you need it; otherwise, simply refuse the idea of possessing it. Eventually, “what I have is enough” is a true statement for only a limited number of people. Be one of them and learn how to declutter your life or possessions and belongings.
4. Revise your vocabulary
Which one is a more frequently uttered word or phrase in your daily conversations: “I love you” or “I want that”? Watch your vocabulary, and if the phrase “I want that” becomes random, you are on your way to a minimalistic lifestyle.
5. Get rid of debts and loans
In the economy occupied by banks, yes, it isn’t easy to even imagine a life without loans. But debts and loans imprison us in a life where we have little or no choices when it comes to managing our money smartly. Start small. Try to save money for the next thing you need (do you really need it?). Buy the things you have money for and do not let the consumerist mindset take the lead over you.
6. Create more, consume less
Concentrate your energy on creating something. Don’t be a passive consumer. Creating something new and valuable will give you a feeling of joy and self-realization. For example, if you do business, think beyond making money. Have a mission that will enrich your customers and your own life. Here is a tutorial providing practical tips and techniques on how you can improve and grow your (online) business.
7. Focus on what’s important
Declutter your life is not only about less stuff. It is about prioritizing stuff you do. Living a meaningful life is a path a minimalist would strive to find. The “meaning” will translate differently for each of us. Remember that many urgent things we do or have to do every day are not always important.
Give yourself time. Even if you think you will have to wait for several years to get to the desired shore, keep your goal high above and swim towards it. Storms may come your way, but you still know where you are heading to. This incredible video gives a valuable lesson on how to concentrate on essential things.
Last but not least, get to know people who live a totally different life. Meet those who deal with everyday struggles for food, shelter, and clothes. They will teach you how to cherish what you have and whether the stuff you are looking for is important.
What Else to Declutter? Your Mind, Home or Life?
The next three tips may seem to have nothing in common with a decluttered life. At first glance, though…
8. Take care of your health
Damaged health creates most of the clutter. That’s why the inner cleanup is equally important. Though health includes many aspects, first and foremost, think critically about your diet – where does the food you eat come from and what does it contain?
In an environment where everything is ready-made and beautifully packaged (usually having nothing to do with real food), it isn’t easy to shift to homemade dishes, but the benefits you gain are worth the effort. Cooking with your family and friends and eating what you made with your own hands will bring more joy and stronger health. If you have no respite from everyday work, find a book of 10-minute recipes and give it a try for a month.
9. Grow as an individual
Turn every activity in your life into a learning experience. Watch movies, play games, and participate in events but make sure they stretch you as an individual. If something does not enrich you, you had better quit. Continuous development is a tough call, especially for those who have enough on their plates.
However, by growing professionally and personally you become more effective. As a result, you start acting faster and make room for the things that really matter. If you learn how to declutter your life, you will grow as an individual as well.
10. Learn from nature
Nature is a marvelous teacher. With no single word, it shows us where harmony, simplicity, relief, and joy reside. Have you ever watched the sunrise or the sunset? Have you ever worked sitting on the bank of a river? Plan your week the way that you have time to go into nature and enjoy the breeze, the rain, the sun, the trees…
How to Declutter your Life – Web Resources
Here you have a list of useful websites on how to keep your life simple and reduce stress.
LifeEdited is a neatly designed website that will help you have a life of “more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy”.
Be More With Less
Be More With Less promises to help you simplify your life and “create time and space to discover what really matters”. At “Be more with less” they believe that simplicity equals to love.
The Minimalist Mom
Back in 2010, the author of The Minimalist Mom created a website to “document her family’s journey to a minimalist lifestyle”. She started by selling, recycling and donating everything that messed up her life.
Another story is shared in the blog Becoming Minimalist, the authors of which highlight their “joys and struggles” and tell us the lessons they have learned on their way.
Minimalist At Home
Faith Janes calls for cleaning it up or cleaning it out on the Minimalist At Home website.
The Fun Sized Life
And if you want “to live with less, but only with the best”, you should follow The Fun Sized Life to get useful tips on how to simplify and organize things.
Finally, you can watch TED talks and get inspired by some wonderful speeches that will help you find your own path to a happier and simpler life. Or, if you are a book-lover, search for books on the topic, like this one by Joshua Becker: “The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own”.
How To Declutter Your Life – A Summary
Living a life of a minimalist requires radical changes in your mindset, actions, and habits. Think about your life critically and start sketching the new paradigm you want to live in. Give yourself a little bit more space, a little bit more time, and a little bit more freedom. You deserve it. No obsession with material possessions should hold you back. Concentrate on experiences, and let everything else serve the major goal you have set for your life.
When you care about your physical, social, emotional and spiritual health, you eliminate unnecessary stuff and activities. You have less and you do less. But most of the things you have and do, start bringing joy into your life. You practically leave no room for stress and you deal with inevitable anxieties with better ease. Turn the key and unlock the box of relief, harmony, and peace.
Live with minimum stuff. Live naturally. Live a clutter-free life.
Now it is up to you. Please share your tips and tricks on how to declutter your life and home in the comment section below.