At 25, I worked three jobs in order to barely stay current on my bills. I didn’t have enough money to put food on the table. I had a 7-year-old daughter to feed and ran up my credit cards to stay afloat.
With growing credit card debt, big car notes, a child to feed, and bills constantly going late or unpaid, my mind ran in circles All. The. Time.
I couldn’t plan for the future or take time for myself. Something was always on fire. I always needed more money.
My desperate thoughts kept me awake into the morning hours. I began taking melatonin every night just to fall asleep.
That never-ending cycle was my life.
Have you ever had a moment like that where you’d give anything just to quiet your mind?
It’s a terrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but if you’re there right now, then this post is for you.
The key to getting out of that rut and creating inner peace is decluttering… your mind.
What Is Decluttering?
Decluttering is when you remove unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place. You can declutter anything - imagine your workspace, your kitchen drawers or your attic.
In this case, we’re talking about decluttering your mind. That means that we’re going to remove all of the unnecessary things that take up space in your mind to add worry or anxiety to your life.
Why Should You Declutter Your Mind?
There are three main reasons to reduce your mental clutter:
Reduce worry and anxiety.
The art of decluttering simply means that you’re going to take away the things that do not bring you joy.
That could be the car note you’re struggling to pay or the notifications constantly pinging you, adding a sense of urgency to your life which annoys you. You could even remove the relationships that are stressing you out.
Once you start to remove those things, you’ll have fewer things to worry about on a daily basis.
When you remove the people, responsibilities, and things that do not bring you joy, what’s left? Only the things that you love.
Each time you remove something you don’t like, you increase your confidence in your ability to choose what matters. You worry less, which means you savor life more on a daily basis.
Increase abundance in your life.
What happens when you don’t have to worry about the constant fires and bill collectors calling to stress you out?
You simply have less stress. When you have fewer things on your mind, you free yourself to think about your future, the bigger picture, and where you want to go versus than where you are today.
You can be more productive in your life because you no longer have to split your time between things that matter and things that don’t. You’ve removed the unnecessary, so all that’s left is the important - the joy.
How Do I Know What To Keep?
I know it can be hard to think about removing things from your life, especially if this is your first attempt at decluttering.
But don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand through it ;)
The beauty of decluttering is that you have control over what you remove - and you only remove things you don’t absolutely want to keep in your life.
Understand that decluttering is removing the unnecessary, the stressors, the negative and the anxiety-inducing things that have likely migrated into your life.
Decluttering requires you to be intentional about your life and choose what you want. Everything you remove if your choice. What could be more powerful than that?
Decluttering only seems scary because you don’t want to get rid of something and realize “oh my gosh, I really wanted that!”
I want you to repeat after me… “If I remove something from my life, I can always bring it back.”
I removed the TV from my life and realized quickly that I didn’t need a TV to be happy. On the other hand, I stopped hanging out because I wanted to save money and I realized that it made me incredibly unhappy. I need to spend time with friends, even if it will cost me because that interaction truly brings me joy.
When should I declutter?
I’m a firm believer that you can start anytime. You don’t need to wait for “the right time” to start removing the unnecessary from your life. In fact, you can do this several times a year.
However, some great times to do this are:
During a big life change. New babies, retirement, purchasing a new home or even a break up can shift your responsibilities and your priorities. This can be a great time to realign with what matters to you and remove the things that no longer serve you.
When you’re ready for a fresh start. In my life, I was tired of being tired. I couldn’t continue working three jobs, being too exhausted for loved ones, and being unable to pay bills. I needed a fresh start asap.
When you’re overwhelmed with life. Overwhelm and anxiety are signs that you need to reduce complexity. Decluttering your life can help you reduce the number of things you have to think about on a daily basis.
How To Declutter Your Life Without Guilt
Clarify your priorities.
Take some time to decide what your biggest priorities are. Make a list. Do some journaling. Go for a long walk to think. Meditate. Take the time to decide what is MOST important.
Remove things that are not a priority.
Start saying no to events on your calendar that don’t bring you joy or aren’t on your priority list. Put some better processes in place at home to save you time on household tasks so you can spend that time doing things that ARE on your list.
Let go of the outcome.
You can’t make everyone happy. And not everyone will be happy with what you’ve decided to prioritize. Let go of what everyone else thinks about your decisions. This is YOUR life. No one else has to live it but you.
Make a decision… and follow-through.
Whatever you decided on, go for it. You can always go back and tweak your priorities. Just start. Find out what works for you.
Slow down or take a break.
Sometimes slowing down or taking a short break can be the exact thing that you need in order to recharge and start climbing forward with your priorities.
How To Start Decluttering Your Mind Today
You can start small by decluttering your physical space. You can choose to declutter a drawer, a closet, your office, your kitchen, or the whole house.
If you’re afraid of losing something that you may end up wanting to keep, start by placing everything you’d like to remove in a box. Tape the box up and place it in the basement or a closet that you don’t use often.
Leave the items in the box for 30 days to 6 months before throwing it out (depending on what feels comfortable for you). If you notice that you don’t touch the box during the entire time, then you truly don’t need those items. If you do need to go into the box, then you can take the items that you need.
This is a small step to learn how to declutter your space. Once you get started, you might want to remove bigger things - like your TV, annoying smartphone apps, or soul-sucking relationships.
Decluttering is not about getting rid of things. It’s about getting rid of the things that do not contribute value or joy to your life.
This allows you to make room for opportunities that you enjoy and the things that matter most. When you remove the excess, you’re able to enjoy the moment, be present, and appreciate the life you’ve intentionally created.
What’s one thing you’re ready to remove from your life right now?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cyrene is a fun and accomplished workshop facilitator, learning and development guru and Human Resources professional. Being at the helm of Thrive Lounge has been a long-time dream. Through vision board workshops she plans to accomplish two-way learning. Sharing her vast years of knowledge to motivate and encourage others; while simultaneously getting the reward of great energy, ideas and questions to ponder back from each group. A super win-win. Please join our Thrive Lounge community so you too can benefit!