We all know it – just before the New Year, our list of resolutions is becoming longer and longer and while this energy to make big chances from now on is certainly amazing – it can also make you anxious. Will you be able to keep up with all those resolutions you set for yourself? How can you make sure to not give up and most importantly – where do you start?
Check out our step by step guide on How to Declutter Your Life in 2017!
The first thing to understand is this: what is it that makes our lives less enjoyable and more stressful at times? The answer is: Clutter! And by “clutter”, I don’t only mean the physical clutter in our houses, but also the abstract clutter – the things that take over our lives and make us lose sight of what is really important.
1) Do less of the things you don’t love – don’t feed the clutter!
Just like a pile of physical clutter, this mental abstract clutter can weigh us down day by day, making us carry around a lot of unnecessary thoughts and ideas. Sounds tiring? It certainly is! This can be manifesting in a variety of things: for example a responsibility that you picked up out of guilt, a bunch of people you socialize with but with whom you don’t really have a true connection, an activity you think you have to do but that you actually don’t enjoy, the list goes on and on. In order to gain clarity about what mental clutter you carry around, start by making a list! Write down 3 things in your life that you don’t love.
Now the goal is to do less of those things! By continuing to let these items be part of your life, you are only feeding the clutter.
Of course, some items are less easy to minimize than others, however, by doing a little bit less of them, we prepare ourselves for what is step number 2:
2) Do more of the things you love – fill your life with joy!
Now this is the exciting part – write down 3 things you love! For example, have you ever been interested in photography but never had the chance to look into it? Or are you interested in a certain diet/nutrition but never put it into action? The possibilities of adding things you love into your life are endless. Making a list of things you love can help you determine where your passions lie, similar to a vision board!
When working with clients during my work as KonMari Organizing Consultant, I ask them to create what I call a “vision sheet” at the beginning of our sessions – a sheet where they list a few keywords describing their perfect environment, space and life. This can give you great direction about where you want your life to be headed and how you want to spend your time.
Start to slowly add more of these activities to your life. Chances are - by having reduced the amount spent on things you dislike, you will now have some room left, room that you can fill with the elements that spark joy in you. Bit by bit, the old will be replaced by the new! You will be surprised what a simple shift in focus can do to your overall state of happiness.
3) Find a role model
Following through with creating more space for what sparks joy in our lives isn’t always easy, especially if you are planning on making significant changes in your life. Therefore, the best way to get inspiration and motivation is to find a role model!
This can be anyone who has already accomplished what you wish for yourself. It doesn’t even have to be one of those distant superstar life coaches (think Tony Robbins) – inspiration can also be found right around the corner; a neighbor who went from couch potato to running a 10k, a friend who founded their own company, or that colleague who spends a lot of time volunteering for local charities.
There are a lot of people out there who accomplished amazing transformations and who share their thoughts and journey with others. You can learn from their experiences and benefit from their wisdom. If they can do it – so can you!
4) Declutter your space
As Organizing Coach and Consultant, I have to of course emphasize what a decluttered home can do for your overall outlook on life. Getting rid of the clutter and only keeping the things that spark joy is the essence of the KonMari Method invented by Japanese Organizing Consultant Marie Kondo.
My favorite saying is “the space you make by removing the clutter equals the headspace you gain”. You might not realize it, but everything you surround yourself with takes up space in your mind, even subconsciously. No wonder it can be tricky to follow through with your resolutions if you don’t have enough mental space to do so. Decluttering and organizing your home can be extremely beneficial to your life – with the unnecessary clutter removed and everything in order, you will finally have the energy and headspace to make changes, and more importantly: stick to them!
Going through each item during your decluttering process also allows you to understand your past and where you currently stand in life. Focusing on and keeping the items that spark joy helps you determine in which way you want to go and what truly makes you happy in life. It will also give you answers to the question: “what needs to go?”
5) Trust the process
Finally, and this step is very important – you have to trust the process. Change is not always easy at first, but with a clear direction in mind, you will get a little bit closer to your goals every day. You might not be able to completely remove the items on your “declutter” list right away, but the most important thing is to start making more room for the elements we love.
By focusing on what we love, the things we don’t will become smaller and smaller in our lives, leading to an overall happier and more meaningful existence.
Every day is a good day to start decluttering your life!