We live cluttered lives. Lives filled with unessential obligations, relationships that weigh us down, and expectations that pull us farther and farther from the dreams we wish to achieve. We get distracted by the people around us and caught up in poor habits. We lose our way, filling ourselves with things that don’t matter under the guise of ‘busyness,’ as if that’s more important than happiness.
But the truth is, when you learn to declutter your life, you’ll learn what really matters to you.
When you drift away from the ideas that other people have for what you should or shouldn’t do and instead focus on what you need, you’ll find that your life was truly cluttered.
There is so much you can eliminate in order to live a healthy, more fulfilling life. Here is a list of what you can easily change right now to make a positive shift in your day-to-day.
1. Remove yourself from toxic conversations.
When you find yourself in a group or one-on-one with some acquaintances, coworkers, friends, or even family members, assess what type of conversations you’re having. Are you engaging in positivity, building one another up? Or are you falling into gossip, negative self-talk, or unproductive criticizing of people and things around you?
While venting can be a cathartic process and having people you trust to talk about difficult things with is important, look at the value of your conversations. If your daily talks add nothing to your life, or worse, suck you dry—it may be time to remove yourself. Life is too short to be continually inundated with negativity.
2. Shorten the amount of time you spend online.
While there is value in online connections, social media, and the internet in general, set healthy limits for yourself. Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, spend a few minutes in mindful meditation. Rather than opting to scroll through your timelines before bed, talk to a loved one or journal to reflect on your day.
As you limit the amount of time you spend on your phone, computer, etc. you will not only declutter your life from unnecessary distractions, but you will find that there is infinitely more value in the physical conversations and experiences.
3. Walk away from relationships that add no value to you or your life.
This is, by far, the hardest point on this list, but perhaps the most essential. Take a critical look at the relationships in your life—romantic, platonic, friendship, and even with family—and think about what value they add. If you are involved with a person who doesn’t support you, doesn’t show up for you, and doesn’t genuinely care about you, leave.
Now, obviously, in terms of family and marriage commitments this isn’t something you can up and walk away from, but it is possible (and necessary, even) to open conversation(s) about the direction things are headed. When you can’t simply pack your bags, bring about change. Consider conversations, counseling, openness, and active movements in a more positive direction.
If this is a relationship you can step away from, do so. You will find that when you leave people who don’t add value, you declutter your life and make room for the beautiful, filling relationships with people that do.
4. Clean your messes.
A no-brainer, really, but something we need to be reminded of from time to time. Even though a messy desk might not seem like a big deal, when you take the steps to declutter your life and work spaces, you change both our attitude and your observance of the places around you.
5. Toss expired products.
On a lighter note, you make room for more good things when you eliminate the bad, the used, or the expired. In this case, raid your pantry and refrigerator. Anything that’s expired, toss. Though this might seem like such a silly task, you’ll be surprised how much space you’ll give yourself. You’ll also be more mindfulmoving forward when it comes to purchasing new perishable items.
6. Sell or donate clothes that don’t fit.
Whether you just haven’t sorted through your closet in a while, or you’ve been keeping some items as inspiration for fitness goals or nostalgia, keeping clothing items that don’t actually fit adds no value to your life. Even if you’re hoping to motivate yourself, the fact that you’re taking up space and essentially ‘self-punishing’ for not being a certain size anymore will actually propel you in the wrong direction.
If something doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Even if that means donating. This will profoundly declutter your life! Whether you make money back or give the item(s) to a worthy cause, the satisfaction of letting go will far outweigh any negativity you may feel at first.
7. Disengage from anything that feels like an unnecessary obligation.
Whether it’s a gym membership you barely use, a magazine subscription to something that no longer jives with your beliefs, or emails to something you’re constantly deleting—just disengage. Cancel the membership, stop the subscription, and delete the emails. Feel no guilt in doing so, either, because you don’t owe anyone an apology for doing what you feel makes sense for you.
8. Part ways with items and memories that dishearten, or hold you hostage to the past.
Sometimes we hang onto items from our past relationships, school years, former lives, childhoods, etc. for sentimental value or comfort. While this isn’t a bad thing by any means, you have to identify whether this process of saving is positive, or truly keeping you back.
If you find yourself agonizing over decisions of the past, constantly thinking about what was or what used to be, or obsessing over what no longer is, start to slowly part ways with things that hold you hostage. Remember that life is all about change—nothing stays the same! Even if you wish you could go back and do some things over, you’re only making room for what beautiful things will come.
This process will be painful, yes, but necessary for growth.
9. Practice the art of saying ‘no.’
Simple, yet profoundly difficult at the same time. As you learn to declutter your life, you’ll find that there are things you must learn to say ‘no’ to, simply because they don’t make sense for you. Even though this may feel like a dirty word, or something you should feel remorse over—don’t.
Not everything will make sense for you, and that’s okay. Pursue what does and learn to prioritize your own well-being, happiness, and security as much as you do everyone else’s.
Featured Image Credit: Rich Lock