I am a minimalist and a huge admirer of the concept of slow living. Often the modern world encourages a lifestyle that pretty much goes like this: work more to earn more so that you can buy more. I just don’t like this. I think that there’s more to life than just bills and getting more storage for all the stuff we buy. I’ve always loved the idea of not owning more than what I need. Nothing fills me with more hate and disgust than bric-a-brac. Ok, maybe some things, but there sure aren’t many. Anyway, I’m that person that cannot have an open bookshelf because the different colors of the book covers would make me puke. Yep, that’s true. Luckily, Kalle is exactly the same, which is why we keep all our things (like books) behind bars. Well, not bars, but doors. We only fill our home with two things – candles and plants.
I think that there’s more to life than just bills and getting more storage for all the stuff we buy.
Ok, so now you know that I’m the minimalist. I hate shopping (I always order stuff online so that I won’t have to visit the stores physically). I also always (almost) wear black, which makes everything easier for me, heh. I’m probably a little extreme and I absolutely get that a lot of people aren’t like me (thank God for that, heh). But, I feel great. I love that I don’t need things to be happy. That’s a wonderful feeling. Of course, we have stuff and furniture that we love, but really, all these things are just things. This minimalistic lifestyle is great in so many ways and I think that we all can learn a lot from this way of living – no matter if we see ourselves as minimalists or not. That’s why today’s blog post is about decluttering. Eleanor Brown explained what clutter is so very well that I’ll just share what she said:
Clutter is not just physical stuff – it’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support our best self.
Ok, so it’s obvious that I’m a minimalist when it comes to physical stuff, but I have had some serious issues decluttering my mind throughout the years. I’m always inspired. Like, over-inspired, too inspired. New ideas and creative plans occupy my brain all the time and until quite recently I had a lot of trouble focusing on tasks and getting stuff done. Well, I can be crazily productive if I someone puts a torch to my butt, but often I’ve found myself drifting off to idea-world. Just thinking, planning, dreaming, but not getting any of my ideas out there. My brain was so cluttered I couldn’t see things clearly and that was a problem, indeed. But, as I’ve grown older (gosh, that’s such a cliche, isn’t it) I’ve learned quite a few things to keep my brain decluttered. And guess what – it works. So, below I’ve put together a long list of things you can do to declutter. I’ve divided them into four categories to make it easier for you. Let’s declutter our lives, shall we?!
Declutter your mind
- Write down everything that’s on your mind. Just get everything out and put it in writing. It’ll help clear your mind and hopefully, it’ll make everything easier once you’ve put it all on paper.
- Start a journal. Fill it with the things you wrote down in the previous task. Make lists – to do lists, lists of books you want to read, shopping lists and whatnot. Just everything. This will give you structure and it’ll be much easier to keep track of everything you have to do. From now on you keep everything in your journal. Not in your head.
- Ditch the television. Maybe you think it’s relaxing to watch TV for a couple of hours every night. Think again. After watching TV you’ll be filled with a lot of ”noise” and impressions. And admit it, often you probably watch stuff you don’t even want to watch, just because you don’t want to leave the sofa. We do have Netflix and we do watch series and movies, but not every day. Replace the TV with a book, some good music or a long talk with your partner or friend. You’ll feel much more relaxed after a slow night reading, than after a night of television – I promise.
- Stop overbooking. Learn to say no to things. Learn to love spending time with yourself.
- Sleep. Nope, 5 hours of sleep is not enough. And no, coffee won’t save you, not in the long run. Sleeping less to work more – that’s not a good plan. Not sleeping is not only unhealthy – it will also make your brain work slower and that in turn makes you LESS productive.
- Walk slower. Wait, what? In fact, this works so well. I always walk very fast, I’ve always done that. Even when I’m not in a hurry. Lately, I’ve tried to walk slower because walking fast actually tells the brain that we’re in a hurry, which makes us feel stressed. Crazy, huh? So, when we walk slower we feel less stressed and we think clearer.
- Stop multitasking. A lot of people think we need to multitask to keep up with all the things we have to do. In fact, multitasking is the worst thing ever. Focusing on several things at the same time makes our brains freak out. You won’t get more stuff done, just a lot of half-measures lying around. Focus on one thing at the time and when that thing is done you move on to the next.
Declutter your life
- Think about where you see yourself in one, five and ten years. Write a list. Do you need to change anything to get there? Define what.
- Update your resumé if you need to.
- Accept what is and what you can’t control. Waste no energy on those things.
- Visualize what is important to you. Write it down. Think about your life and compare it to your list of important things. Do you have the right priorities? Do you need to change anything?
- Breathe. In a busy world, it’s easy to forget how to breathe. Sit down, take deep breaths for five minutes and feel the difference.
Declutter your home
- Give away clothes – Monki, H&M, GinaTricot, and other Swedish brands accept used clothes and use them to make new ones. Give your old clothes a new chance.
- Books you’ve read and/or won’t read again – donate.
- Old DVDs you will never watch again – donate. No, you don’t need to keep it just because it was your favorite movie when you were 12. Learn to let go of things.
- Your wardrobe. If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months it’s bye-bye. Donate or sell it.
- Find your style. It’ll help you buy the right things. Always ask yourself if an item is really your style. If it’s not – don’t buy it.
- The one-year-box. When you’re going through all your stuff you’ll probably find a few things that you cannot decide about. Keep or donate? Put all those things in a box, seal it and store it. If you haven’t opened the box when a year has gone by, donate the box without opening it. It’s nothing in there for you. Just give it away. I got this idea from Zen Habits and isn’t it just brilliant?
- One in, two out. Live by this rule. If you bring something into the house, two things will have to leave.
- Shopping is not your hobby. You go shopping when you need something. Like, your backpack broke – you need a new one to replace the broken one. Or, you ran out of soap – you need to buy more. If you have 10 pairs of jeans, you don’t need a new pair. You want a new pair. Learn the difference between need and want. This way of thinking will help you to not fill your home with stuff and it will also help you save money. Win-win.
Declutter your business/career
- Unsubscribe to all the email newsletters you never read anyway. Instead of just deleting them immediately (or leaving them amongst the other 783 unread emails) take that 10 seconds to unsubscribe.
- Delete junk mail and unsubscribe if you can.
- Go through your inbox and delete emails you don’t have to keep any longer.
- Go through all your files on your computer and delete everything (old documents, pictures whatever) that you don’t need anymore.
- Buy a notebook or a journal. Then take all your post-it notes and make a huge to-do list in your notebook instead. It’s much easier to keep track of everything you have to do when everything’s in one place. When something new comes up, just add it to your notebook. Or use the journal I told you about earlier.
- Don’t check your email. Well, of course, you have to check it but do turn off those desktop notifications and don’t check your email all the time. I check mine three times a day – one in the morning, one at lunch and one before I leave the office. If something’s really that urgent people will have to call me. And they do if they need to. You’ll be amazed by the amount of time you have at hand when you stop checking your email all the time.
- Like you did before – write a list of all the things that are important and define what is important right now. Eliminate all the other things. Focus on what’s most important at the moment and put the other tasks on to do lists for coming weeks (or wherever they fit).
- If you can only take meetings on certain days. If you work from home you’ll save a lot of time not having to go to meetings every day. If you’re in an office, it’ll be easier to have focus days where you don’t have to leave your desk. Likewise, when you’re in ”meeting mode” it’s easier to stay in that mode and attend another meeting right after. At least for me.
- Keep your desk clean. I clean mine every Friday afternoon so when I come back on Monday it’s clean and nice and ready for a new week – just like myself.
Do you want to add something? How do you declutter? <3