It’s funny how we hold on to things we don’t need. Whether it’s knickknacks around the home, or negative emotions from high school, we don’t need this extraneous clutter clogging up our present and future.
Decluttering your entire life isn’t easy, can’t be done overnight, and isn’t a once-off process. It’s something you need to work at, but adopting a more minimalistic lifestyle can have great rewards.
Here are a few easy ways to get the ball rolling, and look forward to a life with less baggage.
Worries and stress
Stress is bad for the body and just as bad for the soul. How much of your daily thoughts are taken up by stressful thinking that isn’t actually changing your circumstances? The funny thing is that even though we know how negative stress can be, we have a difficult time letting go.
Sometimes stress is a good thing. It spurs us on to action. If stress isn’t doing something constructive, then it needs to go. There are two ways to do this:
- Do away with the aspects in your life that cause unnecessary stress.
- If it’s not something you can change or remove, change how you react to stressful triggers.
Remember that there is only so much you can do about a situation. Any stress beyond that is just cancer.
One of the most important things in life is your relationships. But some of them do more harm than good. Take a good look at the relationships you have, and see which ones bring good to your life and which ones don’t.
The bad relationships take up your time, your energy, and your emotional capacity. You need to be brutally honest about which relationships to let go of. Perhaps that friend at work who does nothing but gossip. Or that old boyfriend who calls up now and then to add drama to your day.
Just remember that it’s okay to be a bit selfish about who you keep in your life and who you don’t. These are important choices and you have to keep yourself in mind.
How much stuff do you really need? It’s great to have nice things. But at some point, you might realise that your material possessions start to own you, rather than the other way round. I’m not advocating that you give all your worldly belongings to the poor, but think twice about whether you need those extra luxuries, especially if they’re only to keep up with the Jones’ or buying them means going into debt.
Before spending, ask yourself whether you are investing in something that will delight you, or merely a status symbol for the benefit of others.
Decluttering your physical space can have an effect on how you feel in that space, affectively helping you to declutter your inner life as well. In any case, if that sounds a bit too new-agey for you, it’s nevertheless a good place to start. Some things you do need in your home, like bedding and a stove. But do you need a linen closet packed with the hand-me-down sheets you used in college that don’t even fit your current mattress? And what about that section of your wardrobe that hasn’t seen the light of day in years? Or the wonder kitchen appliances that have never even been taken out the box.
Arrange a garage sale, take up feng shui, give your clothes to charity – whatever you need to do to streamline your home.
Nothing drags you down like debt. Whether you have credit card debt or student loans to pay off, make clearing off your debt a priority on your decluttering list. This might sound easier done than said. After all, if you could be debt-free tomorrow you would, wouldn’t you?
However, if you’re systematic and determined about getting rid of your debt, you can make great strides as opposed to just paying off the minimum payments and hoping it goes away one day. Stop accruing more unnecessary debt immediately (even if it means cutting up your credit cards). Learn to prioritise your debt in order to pay if off most efficiently. And work out a budget that helps you clear out your debt sooner rather than later.
You’ll feel much lighter for it.
Author BioEmily Apple is a freelance writer, artist and jewellery designer. She has a deep-set love for the beautiful things in life and a passion for interior decorating. Her home in Cape Town, South Africa is a tribute to her love for art, entertaining and relaxation.