Clutter-Free Living: How, Where, and Why I am Tackling Decluttering in 2023Mar 15, 2023
There is a visceral feeling when you walk into a freshly cleaned living room. The surfaces are all dusted, the scent of cleaner hangs in the air, and a fresh candle is burning with your favorite nostalgic scent all around you.
You take a deep breath and feel ready to take on the world.
There is a similar feeling with productivity with a clean desk area or a deeper sleep in a clean room.
In my experience, the #1 reason that we just function better is that clutter equals stress. I'm personally a pretty minimalist person. I don't like a lot of clutter or too many decorations in my home, but I still have cluttered spaces like every other person. One of my 2023 goals is to clear out cluttered spaces and this is because I catch myself thinking dozens of times thinking about needing to get it done.
I need to organize under the kitchen sink
I want to organize my pantry so I can see what food I have on hand
I need to clear out my makeup
I need to shred old mail
And the list goes on.... All of those thoughts were actively taking up space in the back of my mind, causing a little anxiety and a constant feeling of needing to schedule a time to go back and take care of things.
This last week I set my timer for 3 hours and tackled various organizational projects and I felt like a new person. I reorganized the furniture in my home office, got rid of a bag of clothes I no longer wore, dusted several rooms of the house and could already feel a shift. When I sat down at my desk this morning I felt like I could immediately dive into the creative tasks for the day.
Now, none of this is new to you. You know you feel better when life is less messy, but how do we get there? Let's break this into three phases: What are the areas you can declutter, what are YOUR reasons to get rid of the mess, and how to actually tackle the chaos?
#1. The top areas you can declutter in your life
I started this blog talking about the house, but I see it being in almost every area of your life. There is physical clutter, digital clutter, time clutter and personal clutter.
House Clutter: general messiness, too many decorations, old clothes, trash, lidless tupperware, worn-out shoes, etc. Some things we avoid dealing with simply because it takes effort and that's all there is to it. Other things are tied to more emotional baggage and avoidance of wanting to deal with things. There is a saying, that I am going to totally butcher, but it's "How organized your closet is the reflection of your frame of mind."
Digital Clutter: 104,408 unread emails, 208 unread texts, and my personal horror, notifications. Do yourself the favorite and clear that shit out. I go into this in more detail in my podcast, but archive any emails over 30 days old, unsubscribe from junk emails, and for sake of all things holy, turn off your notifications. Every time it pops up you are distracted and it can take up to 23 minutes to get back into deep work after a distraction.
Time Clutter: Calendar invites you don't intend to go to, time blocking you don't use, attending networking events that aren't your people, spending time with people you don't actually enjoy being around. Clear it out.
Personal Clutter: This is a bit of a catch-all phrase but the key to it is being in integrity. To me, that means doing what you say you are going to do and honoring those things. Honestly, whatever popped up in your mind when you read those words are the areas you are not in integrity.
So how do we get there?
There are a couple of primary ways I tackle this:
#1. Set a timer!
So my goal for this year is to have decluttered every area of my house! That means my closet, nightstands, closet, kitchen pantry, etc. While you could totally go room by room, I prefer to set a timer. I'll tackle it for 15 minutes or 30 minutes at a time. After the timer goes off, I can choose to add more time or be done for the day. If I can do 15 minutes several days a week, I can easily tackle my goal!
The other reason this resonates with me is that I can easily go from room to room versus being stuck in one place. The only rule here is that you have to use that time tackling the spaces that you avoid -- not just your basic cleaning. If not, you'll find yourself using your timer just to keep up and maintain versus make progress.
#2. The 10-10 method.
As a kid we used to place this game to clean the house: whoever could pick up 10-10's, which is 10 separate things 10 times over (yes, 100 items) first would win. Most of the time you would get through the first few items pretty quickly. 20 pieces of clothes in a load of laundry, 10 dishes, etc. So by the end, you would be getting creative about what items you could clean.
My mother did tailoring in our home, so there were always dozens upon dozens of sewing pins stuck in the carpet so that would definitely count.
Imagine a life without notifications, a clean workspace, not having to attend events you don't enjoy and not worrying about that phone call you really need to make. It will take some effort to get there, but I promise you if you give it the attention it deserves, you'll find the peace in your life increase exponentially.
Taking the time to remove the things from your life that are taking up mental and physical space in your life creates room to attract new amazing opportunities!
Send me a message on Instagram and let me know how your journey is going!
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