Eliminating Clutter

II. Staying Present Series: Eliminating Clutter

We are surrounded by clutter.

It is everywhere — in our homes, on our phones, in our closets, in our car, on the news, radio and internet. The problem with being surrounded with clutter is that it distracts us from the things that are important to us: spending time with our family, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and developing healthy relationships. Clutter grabs our attention and emotional energy; it pulls us in directions we are not intending for it to go, usually without us even recognizing it until after it’s too late.  How many times have you sat down to look at your Facebook news feed, and that five-minute break turned into twenty or thirty-minutes?

Eliminating the clutter from our lives helps us stay present in what is happening in the current moment. It also makes us become more aware of our own feelings, desires and goals. Without these distractions, we magically have more time and energy to spend on what really matters.

So, I challenge you:  Are you able to eliminate 3 things that fill your life with clutter this week? Here are some of my tips to help you get started.

  1. Household Items

Walk around your room/home with 2 bags, one for garbage and one for donation. Put anything in those bags that you do not need or use on a regular basis and anything that does not bring you happiness. Throwing out and donating is a hard task so this is something I recommend you do on a regular basis to prevent clutter from sneaking back into your life.

  1.  Clothing

Clothing can be very hard to part with. We spend a lot of money building our wardrobes and often have fond memories associated with an outfit. The first step is to discard or donate anything that does not fit you. You might lose those 10, 15 or 20 lbs. next summer, but by that time you will want fresh new styles and trends that flatter your new body shape. Second, discard the garments that are worn out and do not make you feel your best.  And don’t say you will keep that ratty t-shirt to sleep in.  Sleep in clothing that makes you feel soothed, relaxed and happy. If you must, keep one old t-shirt for cleaning or yard work, but remember:  you do not need all 10 that may have accumulated.  Lastly, get rid of those garments that fit, are not worn out, but you have worn so many times you hate looking at yourself in the mirror. If you put on a piece of clothing and then take it back off 5 minutes later because you are sick of seeing it, it is time for that garment to find a new home.

  1. Technology

Technology rules our world. And although it is a great tool that many of us have become rely on, many parts of technology just waste our time and fill our mind with distractions. Since our phone is glued to most of our hands, let’s start here. Delete all the apps that you do not use, and put the ones that you only use only occasionally in a folder so they are not taking over your screen. Next delete all unnecessary voicemails, text messages and emails, followed by deleting all unneeded or unwanted photos.  I bet your phone feels lighter already.

Social media is our next step. How many “friends” post 10 times a day — and you don’t care about what they have to say or what they say regularly upsets you? Block them from your newsfeed, or if they aren’t an important part of your life, delete them. The number of friends you have on social media is meaningless.   With less junk filling your social media, you will have more time to foster the friendships that matter.

Continue this same process with all your electronic devices from computers to tablets. The key to remember is that the fewer distractions you have in your life, the happier and more capable you will be at achieving your goals and developing a life you want to live.