It’s time! Time to Tidy Up! Time to get rid of the clutter that’s weighing you down. This week I have 5 easy ways to tidy up in your life. I urge you to choose one area and get started today. External clutter creates so much added stress and overwhelm in our life. In fact, helping clients remove drama and chaos from their lives is one of the main things I do as a coach. How do we do this? By creating some form of structure in their lives: in their houses, in their relationships, in their routines, and in their care.
Why? Humans thrive with some level of structure; it makes us feel more in control. This doesn’t mean we all need to throw away all of our mementos and get really rigid. One of the things I love about Marie Kondo and the “Tidying Up” rage is that she meets families where they are. She doesn’t have one way of doing things. Rather, she acknowledges that we all have a different level of “stuff” that we’re comfortable with. What I want to bring attention to is the stress and overwhelm you feel when you’ve passed this invisible comfort line in your life.
[tweetshare tweet=”External Clutter Creates Internal Clutter” username=”SusieBarolo”]First let’s look at the WHY…
Why does having LESS make our life so much more FREE, CALM, and PEACEFUL?
Quite simple actually. The less we own, the less we have to think about. Think about that for a second. The less we own, the less things have to clean; the less things we have to organize; the less things we have to fix…utimately, the less decisions we need to make! The less clothes, table cloths, or kitchen gadgets, we have, the less we have to think about which to use.
Consider your morning decisions: Do I wear the blue, purple green, pink or red sweater today? Okay, green. Well then, which green one? The cardigan? The cable? The ruffly sleeved? The one with the stain? It may seem trivial but it’s not. There is a real thing called “Decision Fatigue“. It’s why supermarkets put candy in the checkout aisle. Neuroscientists have found that we wake up with a limited amount of mental energy and a certain number of decisions that our brain is able to make. If we use our decision making power on our sweaters, it is not available for bigger decisions during the day. Minimize the decisions you need to make on routine things by minimizing the things you have.
Let’s get started! Here are some simple ways to clear clutter from 5 areas of your life:
How do you feel when you open your closet? It’s surprising the negative messages our closets can send us. From reminding us of a size we no longer wear to showcasing impulsive purchases, it is really necessary to reinforce destructive messages daily? (hint: the answer is no)
Imagine entering your closet and having your favorite items showing with room to spare? It’s possible. First knowledge: most people hold on to things they don’t use or need for two main reasons: (1)Future-Saving or (2) Guilt.
You’re saving it for the future if you hear yourself saying either “Maybe one day” or “What if…” The present is now. [tweetshareinline tweet=”If You Haven’t Worn It For A Year, Get Rid Of It. ” username=”SusieBarolo”] If you’re saving it for when you lose those 10 lbs, get rid of it. When you lost those 10lbs, you’ll want to wear something else and looking at it reminds you of a goal you haven’t achieved. If you’re saving it because “maybe one day” you’ll get invited to that garden formal event where that dress would be perfect….again, goodwill bag! If/when you do get invited, I bet you’ll want to wear something different.
How many things are you holding on to because someone gave it to you or it cost a lot. If you’re saving a sweater that your Aunt Molly gave you and you think: “What would she think if you got rid of it?”, ask yourself instead when is the last time Aunt Molly has looked in your closet?! Or, ask if Aunt Molly would want you to hold on to something that’s causing stress? It’s eating up mental space in your world, dear warrior. Get rid of it. If you’re saving it because your dead Grandma gave it to you. Take a picture of it, feel warm and cozy for her gesture, and….get rid of it. If you’re saving something because you spent an ungodly sum on it and have only worn it once (or not at all), get rid of it. Looking at it reminds you of a poor decision you made and someone else will love it. Here are some great apps for donating. This one helps you keep track of your donations for taxes and this is one where you can sell your high end items.
The kitchen can sometimes be more emotional than our closets. How organized are your drawers? How much time do you spend looking for things? How many can openers do you need? Serving spoons? Getting a divorce was one of the best things that could’ve happened for my clutter. I left my house with very little and so, when purchasing new for my rental, I didn’t buy 12 serving spoons to replace the 12 I left with my ex. Instead, I bought one. One serving spoon. One spatula. One cookie tray. One set of tongs. When I needed more, I would either buy more or figure out how to make do with just one. Look around your kitchen. How many cook books do you really need? How many pans do you use? Why do you have the others? Consider your counter space prime real estate. What’s on your countertop? What do you use daily? What do you use weekly? Put away or get rid of the rest. Clutter on your countertops clutters your brain. Truth. [tweetshare tweet=”When In Doubt, Throw It Out” username=”SusieBarolo”]
Yes your phone. Which apps do you have on your phone? Which do you use daily or weekly? Get rid of the rest. You do not need further reasons to get on your phone. Do you have Facebook on your phone? Here’s a worksheet I’ve given clients that helps clarify whether to keep the FB app on your phone or not (I vote NOT). Further, if you’re an adult, you do not need more than one game on your phone. Your days will be happier if, instead of looking to your phone for joy or entertainment, you look up and find it around you.
Simplify your meals. Choose one breakfast to have on weekdays and one for weekends. That way, when you go downstairs you don’t waste mental energy thinking: What will I have for breakfast this morning? Instead you think: get out spinach, get out eggs. Go. This also helps with maintaining or losing weight. Instead of making the decision about what to eat in the moment that you’re hungry or surrounded by temptation, you have already made it. Same with lunch and snacks. The more decisions ahead of time, the less you’ll eat impulsively. Choose something that works well for your body and energy and do that. Decide and do.
This isn’t about clearing the actual clutter in your wallet though if you have any cards you don’t use weekly or any receipts that aren’t linked to a return you’re making this week, get them out of your wallet. This piece is more about PROaction. Clearing your wallet is about NOT buying things you’ll need to clear out of your home later. Which stores tempt you? Don’t go in. Which catalogs tempt you? Stop them from coming to your house with one of these links.
When you’re in a physical store, ask yourself: Do I need this or want this? Do I have something like this already? If I didn’t come in for that item, I make myself go back a week to purchase it. I usually forget about it or really want it and then actually use and appreciate it when I buy it.
When shopping online, I have a rule for myself that I keep things in the cart for at least 24 hours before purchasing.I buy a lot on amazon and have found that when I tell myself that I can place a maximum of one order per week, I buy less impulsively. I will put things in my cart during the week and then review it on Friday. The orders I place are either a lot less or I don’t order at all. Remember: The less we buy the less we have to take care of. The less we have to wash, clean, organize. The less we have to give away later. The fewer decisions we have to make in the morning. All of this equates to the less stress and overwhelm we feel. Win, win.
Where can you start today?
Start small. With most tools I teach, the idea is to set intentions that you will actually do. Set a timer for 10 minutes each day this week. Spend 10 minutes in your closet. 10 minutes in your kitchen. 10 minutes on your phone. Let me know how it’s going and what you learn about yourself. What’s hard to give away? I love listening to the excuses my brain comes up with to try to get me to hold onto something I don’t use. What excuses does your brain come up with?
If this resonates with you, check out my 10 Day Cleanse for Conscious Living. Each day we take simple steps to cleanse our life of the clutter that holds us back: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Extra bonus: It won’t empty your wallet as it’s on sale through the end of this month!