Are you mindful of your clutter?
Our modern-day lives are full of junk. Materialism and the continuous availability of stimuli have enabled us to fill our homes, virtual lives, and minds to the brim.
With a cluttered environment and a mind full of a busy and chaotic world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and even depressed.
To iron out life and live healthier, we all know what we lack and what we "should" be doing. But who has the time, energy, enthusiasm, or patience to add more?
With an organized internal and external environment, space is formed, and order allows relaxation and efficiency, thus creating MORE time in your day.
Mindful organization is your tool to take on the world and any challenges that dare to come your way.
Read on to discover simple ways to make room for clarity and contentment.
It begins with organizing your environment
A decluttered space fuels a creative and clear mind.
I know I've personally kept Amazon's lights on. We work, we make money, and we buy things.
There are things to make our lives easier, things to remember moments with, things to fill a void we didn't even know we had, and things to hold all the things.
It wasn't until my family made the crazy leap from a 3-bedroom home to a 3-suitcase way of life. Reality set in when we decided not to get a storage unit and to sell, donate, or trash everything we owned. Those two months of purging were the most challenging, heartbreaking, and freeing months of my life.
I still had boxes full of beanie babies in my guest bedroom. I cannot fully describe how much lighter I feel knowing they're no longer my problem.
My library of books and Daniel's garage full of tools were especially challenging to get rid of. We both worked so hard and long to build those collections to the enormity they finally became. And ironically, now is the first moment in our lives that we have the time to create and read!
Asher handled it the best. He didn't care at all that the fancy toys or baby paraphernalia were gone. He finds games in essential items everywhere we go.
I'm not trying to enforce the radical idea of eliminating everything you own but simply explaining the eye-opening and still haunting experience of taking inventory. In our case, we had to move quickly and didn't have the time to mourn the loss of our stuff.
Now there's a feeling of release like a curse has been lifted. Every time I've traveled before, I practically needed to buy a new suitcase to bring all the new stuff home. Now, with the limited space, I don't feel the urge to purchase. I have everything I need already.
There are many resources out there to declutter your home, your office, and your space. Feng Shui, Marie Kondo, and the show Hoarders can inspire you to change. YouTube is loaded with great resources, simply type in "minimalism" or "declutter" to see examples of a life where you know exactly what you own.
Start small. What does your desk look like? How about your bedside table? If the answer is chaotic, your work and sleep will resemble them.
Take everything off of your desk or side table. Start fresh, clean slate. Dust or wipe down the surfaces, eliminating the crud that lives beneath clutter. You could even sage if you're into that!
Then simply put back the essential items. Thank the things that didn't make the cut and get rid of them. Donate them to those who don't have anything. Or toss them if they don't qualify for donation.
Take a step back and look at your new space. Are you smiling yet?
Now it's time to clean up your virtual space
The endless space of technology allows for infinite availability for the disorder.
Living in a technological world doesn't automatically mean we're more organized.
Take it from me; my important documents, sentimental objects, years of journal entries, photographs, and childhood creations became images to save virtually.
Instead of real books, I am now entirely in the land of pdfs, jpegs, kindle, and e-books. I miss my books, but unfortunately, they don't travel well.
My desktop became the home of a closed business, a potential new career, everything I've wanted to learn but didn't have time for, all the documents as mentioned earlier and photos, plus emergency entertainment for a traveling toddler.
My laptop, iPad, and iPhone are a mess. My kindle library ranges from books and samples of interest from 10 years ago up to now.
Start with one item (computer, tablet, phone) and look at it. Then, you can either dive in and eliminate what you don't need, organize folders/documents/apps together as appropriate, or create a plan first.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil (you may want an eraser or white-out too). If you have a smartphone or tablet with multiple screens, fold the paper into sections representing each screen. What apps do you need and where? What documents go in which folder on your desktop?
For example, I have an iPhone with several home screens easily switched between. I folded my piece of paper, so there were three sections. The first section is my main screen, which I use regularly and need fast access to (such as my camera, notes app, and translator). My second section is for personal use and includes secondary apps that I use regularly but only with intention (such as banking apps, entertainment apps, and social resources). Finally, my third section is business, where I can access the apps I need during dedicated working hours (educational resources, business apps, and patient tools).
Once home screens are organized and provide clarity, creativity can flow, and efficiency will thrive. In addition, you can be more mindful of your processes by eliminating distractions, decluttering your workspace, and enjoying the progress.
Take a moment to consider your schedule and routines
The less time it takes to make decisions, the more time is available for progress.
With a solid routine and organized schedule, the most important tasks can be achieved with plenty of room for what you enjoy.
Your schedule must include the things that make you thrive. Otherwise, what's the point?
With enjoyable routines, you can maintain the best version of yourself, promoting efficiency in everything else you do.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, be sure to have your clothes and items laid out and ready to go, so all you have to do is get up, get ready, and get going.
Is there an area that you work, meditate, or exercise? Be sure this area is decluttered and promotes joy.
A proper schedule outlines your day, week, month, and year and highlights your priorities. You enter survival mode if you lack routines and your schedule's a mess. Survival mode opens the door for stress and decreases your ability for coping.
By understanding your values, what makes you strong and healthy, and prioritizing your time, you can live a fulfilling life that builds you up instead of breaks you down.
Begin mindfulness to eliminate the fullness of the mind
Clearer heads prevail.
The amount of information available for our minds to suck up is endless. The constant bombardment of input leads to overly full minds. Day-to-day tasks often happen without us even fully being aware of them.
The amount of stimulation is overwhelming. Answers to all life's questions are at our fingertips. Advertisements and bright lights penetrate our brains. Social availability and feedback across the globe. No wonder there's no more room in there for calm.
You don’t have to be a buddhist monk to discover mindfulness or to meditate. I used to imagine people sitting still like statues as they reach enlightenment as the only way for one to meditate.
Taking time to slow down, follow your breath, and pay attention to the thoughts that clutter the mind is what meditation is. It’s impossible for us to clear our mind. Instead of aiming for zero thoughts and beating yourself up for not succeeding, think of meditation as the time you get to enjoy nothing. Simple, pure, no expectations.
The mind is bound to wander, it’s what it does, but instead of allowing it to run rampant, simply observe your thoughts and bring yourself back to the attention of your breath.
If you’re totally new to meditation, start with an app. Headspace or Calm are good ones!
With the New Year coming up, what are you hoping to achieve in 2023? What was your goal for 2022? Did you reach it? Or were you one of the many who gave up around the end of February? That was me too. Until I found mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a popular concept these days. Most of us have at least heard of it if we aren't practicing it in some aspect.
If you're saying, I don't have time for mindfulness or meditation, you can't afford to not check it out. Being mindful gives you more time in the day. Spending 3% of your day meditating makes the 97% better. It truly does.
When you’re mindful, you can slow time down. Your mind has room to breathe. With this new found superpower, the rest comes easily.
Maintaining order and clarity with ease
Prioritize your health with slowing down and clearing your space and mind.
Depending on your individual life, check in with your clutter. Whether you set aside an hour a week or spend one day a month dedicated to decluttering, I strongly urge making this a priority.
When your external environment is brilliant, your internal environment will follow.
Keeping your mind free of junk will eliminate the chaos of life and maintain joy in each moment.
Check out one of my favorite books that addresses the fullness of the mind. Your Head is a Houseboat by Campbell Walker is a fun, comical, and colorful way to address the chaos of the mind. Enjoy the guided journaling exercises and creative metaphors that will truly open your eyes to the way you think and hold yourself back.