If only decluttering your life was easy as decluttering your handbag; just tip it upside down over your bed and sort the rubbish from the essentials. But what if I told you it could be?
Let’s start from the beginning.
Before you start to feel as though life is spiralling out of control and everything is about to come crashing down, stop. Sit down and take a moment to sort through everything that you have going on in your life right now.
Clutter can be simply defined as anything that we don’t need, that we don’t use or that we don’t like; anything that is unnecessarily occupying space in our hearts, our minds and our lives. Clutter can be both physical and emotional. The art and practice of Feng Shui teaches us that balancing too many spinning plates at once (aka clutter) will prevent the clear flow of energy in our lives and leave us feeling exhausted. Sound familiar? For thousands of years, Zen Buddhist Monks have designed and used Zen Gardens for reflection, focus and meditation in order to realise clarity through beauty. Maybe they’re onto something and we should each incorporate these principles into our lives in order to reach the clutter free existence we all crave.
Declutter your surroundings
With this in mind, the first step towards decluttering your mind is to declutter your surroundings. We’re not all fortunate enough to have our own little piece of Zen outside our patio doors, but we each have our own space, somewhere to call our own, that we can mould into our Zen space. Start by tidying this area of your life; make your bed, open the windows to let in some fresh air, and light your favourite candle. Finding yourself a quiet space in the world, away from the distractions of everyday life will enable you to think more freely and allow your mind to open up. Once you have created your own little zone of clarity and beauty, move your attention onto making yourself comfortable physically. Make yourself your sole focus; your number one priority. This will allow you to let your mind wander and discover all of the things that have been niggling away at you deep inside.
Make a list
Once you have created your own Zen & Feng Shui inspired space free from physical clutter, make a list of everything that is currently going on in your life. Not what has happened in the past or is going to happen in the future (unless they are currently causing you to feel uneasy), just what is occupying your mind in the present moment. Personally I find that three lists work best; one for all the good things that are happening (to create a stronger sense of positivity and happiness), one for all the bad things (so that you can concrete on banishing these from your life), and one for all of those things that just need to be done (but that you don’t necessarily have an emotional attachment to).
Seeing everything written out before you and finally being able to visualise what is taking up space in your head (a bit like a disk defrag) may seem a little daunting at first, but trust me, now that you can view your clutter in the same way that you can the mess on your desk, it will become easier to work through and organise. Now you can begin to:
- Address issues head on instead of allowing them to spiral out of control. Seek advice, talk through your concerns and put together an action plan to resolve them. Make that appointment with the Doctor, tackle that pile of bills. Getting started will encourage you to see even the most negative of tasks in a new light.
- Create good habits from the remnants of bad ones. Remember the old saying ‘a change is as good as a break’? Use your time decluttering to identify any self-destructive, bad habits and transform them into self-affirming good ones instead. Always running late in a morning? Prepare yourself the night before to remove any worry or stress.
- Taking shortcuts isn’t always a negative route to follow. Shortcuts in day-to-day life can help encourage a positive flow of energy. Set up direct debits, load the dishwasher as you go and make the bed as you get out of it. All will help your mind feel freer and happier to roam.
A diet for your mind
After you have decluttered, you will find it easier to maintain the new, more positive and energetic environment that you have built in your life. Decluttering is an opportunity for growth; it enables you to identify the triggers of clutter in your life and whether these are linked to an emotion, a personality trait or an external influence. Remember that decluttering is a journey, not a destination; it is something that you will need to continue to work at to maintain in the same way that you would your diet. It’s a diet for your mind.
One thing that I can say for certain is that once you have began your journey, the positive effects you attract into your life will make any stress during the process worthwhile. You will notice that you sleep sounder at night, you become more productive, motivated and creative and you’ll feel revitalised, re-energised and mentally nourished.