You might think that decluttering is simply tidying up. However, a whole way of thinking has developed behind ideas of decluttering that extends from your physical space, to your mental wellbeing. If 2017 is the year in which you want to see changes to old habits, bad relationships and lacklustre progress, decluttering could be your ticket there.
What is decluttering and how can it help?
The definition of declutter comes in two parts. The first is “to remove unnecessary items” and the second, “from an untidy or overcrowded space.” So, the central ideas behind decluttering are basically to get rid of what you no longer need to make life less crowded. This has obvious relevance to physical spaces but can go much further than that too. So, what areas of your life can you declutter and what benefits can you expect to see as a result?
There are many reasons why a decluttered home might be good for you. From basic hygiene and making spaces easier to clean and access, to making you feel calm, decluttering is hugely positive. The New York Times best seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has some particularly useful tips. The book has sparked something of a trend, introducing a system that ensures a home, once decluttered, remains that way forever. Alternatively, start with the tried and tested method of throwing out anything you haven’t used for three months. Create a pile of ‘not sures’ and if you don’t use those in the next three months, throw them out too. Another blessing is that by decluttering your home you won’t have to extend it to get more space – decluttering means more space for free!
“Tidy space, tidy mind,” as the saying goes. Whether you work from home or in an office, the condition of a workspace can have a big impact on effectiveness. Is your desk covered in piles of disorganised paper? Are you unable to find stationary, books or papers when you need them? Do you sit down to work and feel a sense of being overwhelmed? Decluttering your workspace allows you to create clear, clean surfaces and organised systems. It’s the first step towards boosting efficiency and contentedness at work.
The pace of life often leaves us somewhat behind the curve when it comes to our relationships. The pressure to hit certain life goals, falling prey to insecurities and not wanting to be alone can sometimes make it hard to let go. Although other human beings don’t become ‘unnecessary,’ relationships do sometimes go beyond a shelf life. At that point they can feel as draining and overwhelming as any amount of physical clutter. Take a good, long look at your close relationships, from a partner to family. Those that bring positivity into your life are essential to nurture. Others you may find make you feel tired, used or unhappy. Removing or minimising those less positive influences can create more space to think and more room to be.
All of us wear clothes but not all of us wear them well. If you have ambitions to look more ‘together,’ to be better dressed or just to enjoy the process of getting dressed then start by decluttering your wardrobe. Removing items you never wear and organising what’s left will make putting outfits together more enjoyable. Even if that’s a suit and shirt every day, if your wardrobe is minimal and organised you can choose exactly the right combination. With a decluttered wardrobe you can see what you have so you won’t waste items that have been stuffed at the back in a bag. You might find that you have a whole new look buried under all the clutter.
Suppliers who never deliver on time, clients who never pay on time, passive aggressive buyers, an angry boss – is it time to break free? Removing working relationships that get you down will leave you free to create positive interactions that are far more beneficial. It might seem unnerving at first but these bad interactions have a more negative impact than we often realise. Removing them from your life to focus on relationships that give you more can be career changing.
Friendships go through tough times, no doubt. However, if you have friends who don’t really give as much as they take, or who are permanently demanding, maybe it’s time to declutter them. “What you allow is what will continue,” as the wellbeing gurus say. If you want supportive, positive, secure people in your life then it might be time to declutter those who don’t give you that. In doing so you could be opening the door to life changing and positive new connections.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley