Do you ever feel like you need a change in your life? Look around and look inside you. Tell me what you see. You might just realise that your unhappiness is mostly caused by the clutter in your life.
The clutter in your life might be the things that have always been with you, and although they no longer make you happy, you treasure them as memories.
This clutter can also be negative feelings that will drag you along the path of unhappiness such as bad memories or experiences, grudges, and resentments towards the people from your past.
If all of these sound familiar to you, it’s definitely time for some serious decluttering.
- Because excessive clutter is unhealthy for your mind and well-being.
If something no longer serves you, why keep it? Not only is clutter distracting, it also takes up too much of your space.
It’s understandable that many people think that decluttering is not an easy task, which is why you should take it slow and not rush.
If you rush, you’ll panic and get even more stressed out. That’s not what decluttering should do to you!
Likewise, every change needs to be done step-by-step.
Devote a little of your time to reduce your clutter and soon you’ll notice that you’ve pretty much cleared out everything you need in order to be clutter-free.
The experience is going to be rewarding and it will lead you to a happier and more mindful life.
Whether it’s your home, digital space, or mind that you need to clear, take it slow.
Here are 20 things you can do to slowly declutter your life. And remember: Whatever you do, don’t rush!
1. Delete Old Emails
One of the most cluttered areas where most people hoard tons of stuff they don’t even remember about is unsurprisingly their email account.
If you find yours overloaded with old and useless messages (especially junk emails), delete them right away. I had done this already and I must admit that the journey was not easy.
It’s indeed time-consuming, but once it’s done, the whole experience is totally worth it! Again, don’t rush!
2. Declutter Your Computer
Whether they’re personal or work files, if you don’t use them anymore, remove them from your computer, home or workspace.
If your desktop is filled with files, let me remind you that your desktop looks ugly and messy. Clean up the mess so you’re no longer looking at hundreds of things the minute you switch on your computer.
Remove unnecessary icons as they’ll only slow your computer down. Should you need to search for your files on your disorganised computer space, I recommend a program called Google Desktop.
3. Use Folders to Organise Your Files
If you don’t prefer to wipe out all of your old files (say, for record-keeping purposes), you can sort them out using folders.
Organise your files in specific locations so you can easily find them in the future.
Not only will you have a tidier set of records, you’ll also save time when you have to find them someday.
4. Uninstall Apps/Software You No Longer Use
Apps and software can consume a lot of your digital storage, so it’s always best to keep only the ones you need.
If there is one kind of software that does pretty much the same thing as something else, perhaps it’s best to purge the excess and keep only the best.
5. Delete Inactive Social Media Platforms
If you have an account on a social platform you no longer use, there’s no reason to keep it anymore. Social media platforms are meant for social interactions after all.
Therefore, if you don’t socialise with anybody on Myspace, then stop using it as it no longer serves you.
6. Sort Out Your Friends List and Notifications
Whether they’re unknown Facebook friends or friends you’ve met from multiple events in your life, it’s best to only interact with the ones who truly matter. Having too many friends on Facebook, for instance, will deter you from seeing updates of the people who you really care about.
While having lots of friends was ‘cool’ in high school, I certainly don’t need lots of people viewing my supposedly private digital space now.
If you want to break away from the tediousness of the always scrolling news feed, you can get notifications from only your good friends by selecting them as “Close Friends” on the “Friends” drop-down menu on their profile (see screenshot).
7. Unsubscribe to Marketing Emails
Gone were the days when emails were mainly used to send greeting e-cards to our friends and family, receive important announcements and stay connected with our business contacts.
Today, we mainly use email for work, to keep in touch with friends who aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, and receive special promotions from selected companies where we get our products and services.
If you have no intention of spending money on more things, getting frequent alerts from so many different marketers is rather unnecessary.
Opt out from these alerts and only keep the ones you need. The good thing about newsletters is that you can subscribe and unsubscribe to them anytime you want.
8. Throw Away Material Possessions You Don’t Need or Use Anymore
As a child, I had to live in a physically cluttered environment. This condition eventually turned me into a hoarder. But not for long.
I’ve promised myself to never ever live like that again.
I had purged many items that no longer serve me with my current purpose. Doing that gave me a great sense of relief.
I have more space in my home now and I no longer spend hours cleaning.
9. Keep Your Home Simple
Every soul in this world deserves to live in a positive environment. When our homes are clear from clutter, cleaning, tidying, and organising become a lot easier.
We no longer collect dust. Having more space for ourselves also means that we’ll be able to focus on the things that truly matter.
10. Stop Making Unnecessary Purchases
Before shopping for anything, it’s always a good practice to list down everything you need to buy. That way you’ll be able to make a better decision on every purchase you make. It also makes budgeting easier for you.
You can save time when you plan your shopping. You’ll know what to buy and where to get it — you’ll likely only buy things within your financial reach.
Also, it will be unlikely that you’ll waste food since you won’t be over-buying groceries anymore.
11. Consider Giving Your Possessions to Charity
People usually realise that they have too many things when they do spring cleanings. That’s because we have been made to believe that we need more things in order to be happy.
If you find you’ve got too much to keep, I suggest you give your things away, even the things that you like. I know it’s hard, because I’ve been through it, too.
The experience was, however, rewarding. Try it and you’ll feel the changes yourself.
12. Nurture Good Habits
Good habits always start at home. Adopt good habits that will change your life forever. Try make your bed every day when you wake up in the morning.
Before you tuck yourself into bed, make sure that your kitchen sink is clear from dirty dishes. Trust me, you most likely won’t clean up all that mess the next day. And you’ll have to continually fight procrastination.
13. Use Containers to Store Your Things
If your home has a storage room, you might think that it’s okay to keep everything you have in there. Nobody will see any of it anyway, right?
You might think you can keep everything behind closed doors, but the thoughts will always stay in your mind. If you’re hiding your physical mess, deep down inside of you, that mess still exists.
Likewise, be mindful about what you want to keep. Make use of storage containers to store your belongings.
Currently, I don’t have a cupboard and I keep nearly everything, including my clothes, in storage containers.
14. Consider Recycling
Reuse, reduce, recycle. Those are three of the only things I still remember from school.
Not only will this practice help us appreciate what nature has given us, we’ll also learn to be more responsible towards our material consumption.
15. Forgive the People Who Have Hurt You in the Past
Clinging to past memories can either be good or bad, depending on how you look at the matter. If good memories make you happy, cherish them.
Bear in mind that sometimes, even the good ones can make us sad. We don’t have to forget any of them, but we can use the experiences to learn from our mistakes so we won’t repeat them ever again and hopefully, we’ll be able to forgive those who have hurt us in the past.
16. Be Thankful
Stop complaining and appreciate the things you have. Honestly, this is a bit tricky.
Don’t let this practice confuse you and stop you from pursuing the greater things in life. It’s okay to want to have more in life if it’s for a great cause and for the benefits of all beings. It gives your life another purpose.
Whatever you do, don’t let greed define who you truly are.
17. Allow the Past to Teach You on How to Move On
Painful histories teach us many life lessons that most of us don’t always learn in school. Rather than dwelling in the past, aspire to change your life and inspire others to also do the same.
The world is a mysterious place and as we grow, we learn things that make us realise that we are never alone in whatever circumstances or life turbulence that we have to go through.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
18. Value the Good People Around You
Friends come and go. While there are people who will continue to be with us, some will eventually leave. Of course, they leave for all kinds of reasons, even though we don’t always understand why.
However, don’t let their departures demotivate you. Not everyone who leaves you wants to hurt you. If the people who used to be in your life have decided to keep their distance from you, the only thing you can do is wish them well.
As for the ones you don’t wish to remember anymore, it’s entirely up to you to cut all ties with them. At the end of the day, you only have a little bit of time to spend with the people you love. Let’s not be over-ambitious about relationships, thinking that we can keep up with everybody’s life.
Last but not least, value the ones who have always been good to you.
19. Appreciate Your Time
Time is gold. We may already know that, yet, we tend to to spend too much of our time playing with our phones or looking at other people’s Facebook updates.
How much time of the day do you really spend caring about what some distant high school friends had for breakfast?
Ask yourself what your time really means to you. If it means so much to you, use this precious resource for yourself or share it with those who really matter to you.
20. Avoid Procrastination
I want to achieve a lot of things before I die. And I still have a long way to go. In order to achieve my dreams, I need to make sure that I fight procrastination — that one thing that always gets in the way.
The best way to fight procrastination is to get enough rest, prioritise one thing each day, challenge ourselves and remove distractions.
We can remove distractions when we remove the clutter in our lives.
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An ENTP who’s always thirsty for new adventures. Apart from music and writing, I’m also passionate about travel, art and entrepreneurship.