16 February 2012

Step 13: Declutter Your Life

A full list of the Simple Living Challenge steps can be found here.

"Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
Much has been said about decluttering and much more is being discussed daily on blogs about simplifying and slowing down. I guess, the topic has become banal but that is usually a sign of intransitive importance.

I loved a sentence in Karen Lee's consumerism post of yesterday and I have to quote it today:
And, now, we are grappling with shortage of resources while we are living with garbage and clutter of "stuff" that we have to be encouraged to de-clutter and simplify.

Our greed or rather, misunderstood notion of well-being has turned us into pack rats. We have become slaves to our vices and with time we have learned to love this self-imposed slavery. But freedom is just the first step. Because after we have freedom of clutter we will lay the basis for freedom of mind. And when it comes to the mind, the sky is the limit.

Because there is an amazing number of information on the Internet about decluttering in any area of modern life, I would like to give you just a few points to think about before I list a few decluttering information sources for further reading. 

Photo via Pinterest

How we accumulate clutter
  • We love to identify with the stuff we own. It boosts our confidence and places us in a particular emotional spot, we think that the objects we own will show our belonging to a particular caste of people.

  • Humans have a natural tendency for over-stocking for rainy days. We all have it to some extent and while no two people are alike, I bet that even the most minimalistic of people, say for example Leo Babauta, can find a thing or two to declutter today.

Why would we want to clutter
Only a small percentage of people actually realize what they are doing while they stuff their homes with useless clutter. It is only after a little long while that some of us get a different perspective and wake up to a suffocating home.

So, the answer to this question is: We don't strive to clutter. Clutter happens when you are not careful what you buy, and most importantly when you don't ask yourself whether you need the things entering your house.

Why would we want to declutter
For all the good reasons of course! Clutter takes away energy and positivity from us.  I have woken up to a messy, cluttered house and I don't ever want to remember that feeling again. Even the thought of it burdens me. I like to start my days in a clean, uncluttered environment that will set the tone of the rest of my day.

I have noticed how my surroundings affect my thinking and working in a cluttered environment doesn't lead to creative results.

On the contrary, working, or just being in a clean, organized space gives space for my imagination to roam and I am able to enjoy even the most mundane of activities.

How to start decluttering
Start slow. Start small. But start.

You can set your timer on 20 minutes and devote them to a drawer, a shelf or a cupboard that needs a little decluttering love.

Big plans usually end up plans forever. Instead of overwhelming yourself with the idea of decluttering all your rooms in a week, take your journey one day at a time. You will keep your enthusiasm longer and you will have the job done!

Photo via Pinterest

How to stay decluttered
Read! No matter what promises you make to yourself, in a couple of months they will fade. To avoid frustration keep on reading time and again, go through decluttering stories, yes, I mean all those endless posts on all blogs. Just read and the decluttering bug will get to you sooner or later.

And to make sure you have materials to read, here is a list of useful posts on decluttering in all spheres of life:
  1. How to Declutter
  2. Ecokaren's 2012 Declutter Challenge 
  3. Five Ways to Simplify Your Virtual Life  
  4. Declutter Your RSS 
  5. A 3-Step Cure For Digital Pack Rats 
  6. Declutter Forever 
  7. Organizing 101: Resolve to Declutter 
  8. Declutter 101: Where Do I Start?

Share your experience: Do you think you are the cluttering type? Even if your answer is no, I challenge you to go ahead and open a drawer. Get rid of 5 things that you should have long time ago. Do you think you can do that tomorrow again? And the day after tomorrow, until you have only the most important and valuable objects left to serve you?

See also: 
Step 1: Embrace Your Imperfections
Step 2: Simple Living as Men's Trait
Step 3: The Rules of Simple Home Organization
Step 4: Simple Crafting for Happy People
Step 5: Simple Scheduling and Planning Routines
Step 6: Spend More Time With the People You Love
Step 7: Spend More Time Alone
Step 8: Connect to Your Inner Self 
Step 9: How to De-Stress 
Step 10: Learn to Live With Less and Enjoy it
Step 11: Start a Debt-Free Life
Step 12: How to Overcome Consumerism 
Step 14: Get Rid of Toxic Cosmetics and Reclaim Your Natural Self  
Step 15: Wean Off Plastic  
Step 16: Celebrate Your Story  
The Final Step: Gratitude 

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