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Let’s talk about how to make your life easier! Do you ever have the feeling that you can’t possibly manage everything you’ve accumulated when you look around your house? What about when you pull out your smartphone? Do you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of apps you never use and social media “influencers” you don’t even like?
When I was in a situation similar to this one in the past, the thing that helped me the most was eventually getting rid of some of the clutter in my life. In what follows, I will discuss the reasons why you should consider decluttering your life, as well as provide you with six steps to get started and a free checklist.
Why should you bother cleaning up your life?
Getting rid of the clutter in your life can have a wide range of positive consequences. You would finally have more mental space after getting rid of all the unnecessary items that were weighing you down.
There will be less stress and you can concentrate better. You are experiencing an increase in vitality and creativity that you did not previously have. Fewer things need to be cleaned and maintained. You can finally appreciate your space, which is especially important if you suspect you have been hoarding items.
However, the benefits are not limited to that. Getting rid of the clutter in your life can also have a significant impact on your finances. When you get rid of everything that isn’t necessary, you’ll have less of an urge to bring unnecessary clutter back into your life.
You are more aware of how much money you spend. And at the end of it all, you’ll have more money to put toward debt repayment, savings, and achieving your goals.
That sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
If you’ve decided it’s time to start clearing the clutter out of your life, the six steps below will guide you through the process.
1. Figure out the “why” of your decision to clean your life
Before you begin the process of decluttering your life, you should take a moment to reflect on the reasons for your decision. Is it to increase your earnings? Do you want to live a more simple life? Have more time to devote to activities that bring you joy? Improve your mental acuity while working from the convenience of your own home. Make time in your schedule to start the side business you want to start.
Spend a few minutes in a journal writing about the “why” of your decision to clean your life. Put some personality into your response. Use the present tense to begin visualizing the things that will soon become your reality.
For example, you could say, “My house is spotless and well-organized.” I can maintain a positive attitude and draw motivation from my surroundings because I only surround myself with things that improve the quality and significance of my life. When I wake up in the morning, I feel revitalized and energized, and I’m ready to face the challenges of the day. I enjoy being at home because it provides me with a sense of calm and comfort.
2. Establish some ground rules
Decluttering your life can be difficult because it forces you to confront all of the things you own, all of the things you have spent money on but have never used, and all of the things that have been stashed away in the back of your closet for years.
You can make the process go more smoothly for yourself by establishing ground rules in advance for the items you will not keep. You are the one who knows yourself the best, so think about the things you rarely touch or use. You could, for example, set some ground rules that state:
- If you insist on using the dishwasher over hand washing, get rid of any dishes that can only be cleaned by hand.
- If you never have time to go to the dry cleaners, get rid of the clothes that can only be cleaned that way.
- If you prefer to use glass cups, bowls, and storage containers the majority of the time, you should get rid of all of the inferior plastic alternatives.
You should donate or sell any clothing that you have had for at least a year but have not worn
On the other hand, if you have a strong attachment to certain items (such as books, shoes, or art supplies), you should determine the maximum number of them that you are permitted to keep.
For example, I enjoy wearing warm sweaters. When I lived in Georgia, however, I told myself that I could only have three sweaters on hand at any given time because the weather was never cold enough for me to need them.
This guiding principle greatly aided me in paring down my possessions and carefully considering the addition of yet another sweater to my wardrobe. (It also assisted me in saving money.)
3. Consider the following questions when decluttering your life
As you go through your belongings, you may come across something that makes you wonder whether you should keep it or throw it away, leaving you feeling conflicted. When this happens, you should ask yourself the following questions:
“Was this something I used in the last twelve months?”
If you received a negative response, throw it away.
“Am I keeping this thing because I like to use it, or because I feel obligated to preserve it?”
Take a photograph of the object first, in case you feel compelled to keep it due to sentimental value, and then give it away. (By preserving the photo, you can keep the memory of the object while taking up less space in your home.)
If you feel compelled to keep it because you paid for it but have never used it, forgive yourself and be grateful that the item helped you figure out what you like and don’t like in the first place.
This may sound strange, but it’s a strategy I learned from Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and it truly does help eliminate feelings of guilt associated with wasting money on a specific item.
“Does this person I’m following on social media lift my spirits, bring me joy, or bring me down and make me doubt my worth?”
This final tip is only applicable to your digital life, but it is highly recommended that you implement it. Make an effort to surround yourself with people and accounts that will make your day more enjoyable. Put an end to anything in your life that depresses you or prevents you from achieving your goals and dreams.
4. Concentrate on one thing at a time
It took you years, if not decades, to collect all of that information. Under any circumstances, it is not going away on its own. Take things slowly and avoid becoming overwhelmed by concentrating on one thing at a time.
Consider the following:
- If you intend to clean your kitchen, begin by organizing your food and pantry on the first day, followed by your kitchen tools and appliances on the second, pots, bowls, sand storage containers on the third, and so on.
- If you’re trying to downsize your wardrobe, start by sorting the items hanging in your closet on the first day, the dresser drawers on the second day, and your shoes and accessories on the third day.
- If you want to simplify your social media presence, you should focus on removing one app at a time.
5. Arrange your belongings into these four categories
When you first begin cleaning up a space or your finances, things will typically appear chaotic before becoming more organized. (Close your eyes for a second and imagine every item of clothing in your wardrobe laid out on your bed and floor. It will appear as if a tornado has ripped through your home.)
Make four distinct piles for your belongings: keep, sell, donate, and throw away. This will assist you in remaining organized despite the chaos.
Trust your instincts and go with them when sorting through objects. (It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to decide whether you want to keep something or get rid of something.) If you find yourself ruminating on a specific topic for an extended period, return to the ground rules and questions you developed in Steps 2 and 3.
Set some goals to ensure you are held accountable
Everyone has heard the proverb, “A goal without a strategy is just a wish.” The same can be said for removing clutter from your life. Set SMART goals for when you want to complete different tasks, and then hold yourself accountable for meeting those goals.
Here are two examples to help you understand what I mean
Setting a SMART goal for yourself while decluttering your home
“By Monday, I’ll have cleared out all of the clutter in my kitchen.” I plan to organize my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry on Friday, my appliances and gadgets on Saturday, and my kitchenware on Sunday. This objective will be met. I’ll be donating everything I don’t want to keep after work on Monday.”
A SMART goal should guide your financial decluttering
“On the following Saturday, I plan to devote two hours to automating all of my expenses.” In addition, I will create a budget and link all of my accounts so that I can track everything in one place. On Sunday, I’ll devote an hour to converting my old 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA).”