Clear Your Space, Clear Your Schedule, Clear Your Mind
The saying goes something like: "A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind," and I can certainly find truth in that. The state of your physical space and environment can have a profound impact on the state of your mind. The first step towards finding peace of mind is clearing.
Clearing comes in all sorts of ways,
and for me, it comes in layers.
Clearing does not come easy for me - in any realm of the sense. I'm very much a hoarder of mementos, clothes, cards, calendars...you name it. Anything with a hint of sentiment I cannot let go of. Same goes for my schedule. I'm a hoarder of opportunities and am constantly learning how to balance what I want to do, what I can do and what I feel I should do. It can be overwhelming and sometimes feel near-impossible to start clearing out really anything from your life.
"But I don't have annnny clothes, how am I supposed to get rid of this T-shirt that I never-wear-but-might-wear-someday?"
"I read this book years ago and haven't touched it since, but why not keep it?"
"I don't want to let my uncle down, so I'll continue to volunteer for his organization even though I don't have anytime and it makes me feel guilty that I can't commit the hours."
All of this is clutter that does not serve purpose in our lives. And, although I'm not an expert in the matter, I'm learning and am eager to share my process and journey with all of you. The key to begin clearing? As with anything: The first step.
The small stuff
This can be the itsyiest bitsyiest baby step.
Seriously as simple as taking out your trash, throwing away that candle that is totally burnt out but has been living on your desk for the past month, giving away cosmetic samples that have been stuck in the back of your bathroom cabinet (yes, I hoard these too). I work from home very often, so my desk is my daily hub. There's a collection of mugs from past teas, a dead cactus I have yet to toss, some pens I don't think work, and lots of business cards pinned to my cork board. This is where I begin. No emotional connection to those pens, so ta-ta to you. And it somersaults from there. (Cactus broke my heart a bit, but it was soon replaced by a living one).
Put things in their place
Yes, this means clean your room.
This is the second simplest step in clearing I've found. Those mugs? Dishwasher. My socks strewn across the floor? Dirty laundry. Keep your belongings in their appropriate places to make your space feel less like a cluttered dump.
Make a donation corner
tell yourself you're doing some good. You're not tossing out, once-treasured items. You're recycling.
That book on your book shelf you read once, but let's be honest - probably won't ever read again...donate! Buy it again if you have an itch to read it in 10 years. Same goes for that T-shirt. If you don't LOVE something, smile at the sight of it in your closet or your book shelf, dream about it as you fall asleep and wake up excited to wear it, read it, use it, see it the next morning....DONATE. My stylist (read more about what I learned from her here) had me go through my entire wardrobe and donate anything that 1. wasn't aligned with my style goals and 2. wasn't obsessed with. Then, she had me go through it again. Be super selective with your belongings. What you don't use can be reused by someone else.
Can you photograph it?
which of your items can live in your iphoto and not on a dusty shelf?
I recently listened to a Ted Talk on minimalism and the speaker said anything he was emotionally attached to, but would just sit in a box for the rest of forever (ie. his old school papers, a collection of movie stubs...etc), he photographed, made a digital album of, and tossed. You still have the memory without the extra clutter and cardboard boxes.
Let's look at your life
where can you declutter in your everyday? friends? work?
This is the hardest for me and everyday is a work in progress. I'm a victim of the "Disease to Please," thus all my "yeses" can really clutter my schedule. A yes to a happy hour I don't really want to go to, a yes to volunteering for a family member, a yes to babysitting Friday night even though I really just want to hangout with friends. For me, the best way to approach this complicated decluttering is to acknowledge that it's really not complicated at all. Am I saying yes out of guilt or fear of disappointing someone? Or am I saying yes because I believe it will make me feel better, bring me joy or offer me something new to learn? All it takes is a few moments to sit with yourself and ask these questions. If you feel deep down it will not bring you joy or elevate you in any way - say NO. No, no, no. Lacy speaks a lot on the power of this word here. UNBLOCKED No has been truly eye-opening for me when it comes to decluttering life.
And most importantly, make room in your schedule for self-care treats. A walk on the beach, a weekend away. Adding more to your schedule may sound counterintuitive, but indulging in your own health and mental well-being will make you more mindful, and thus feel more clear as to what you can declutter from your desk, closet and life.