Tidy Room, Tidy Mind. No Really, It’s a Popular Therapy Hack That Many Psychologists Apply for Their Clients.
When you were little, remember when your mum used to tell you to tidy your room? Yes, we are going to remind you of that good advice to declutter. But we’re going to go quite a bit further too.
Aluxers, read this article right up to the end, and you’ll have all the tips you need to bring clarity to your life. By cutting out all the clutter and unwanted noise — and focusing on the things that really count.
If you believe reading the pile of words in this article is going to add to your daily mental clutter, here’s all of it compressed into an entertaining YouTube video:
With that done and dusted, let’s begin learning how to bust all that clutter.
Have a Place for Everything
To declutter your life, first make sure the space you spend most of your time in is tidy and well organized. That means your home, and your workplace too.
The first step is to make sure everything has a place where it belongs. And no, thrown over your bed or across the floor is definitely not that place.
Usually, somewhere out of sight. If there’s too much stuff in view, that means the room will look cluttered. Where you can easily access is. And somewhere you actually remember where it is.
And when you’re not using it, put it back where it belongs. Just like your mum used to tell you.
You’ll get more enjoyment spending time at home when it’s well organized. Without the clutter, you’ll have peace of mind, and be able to focus on the things that you need or want to focus on. The extra space is a bonus too. And you’ll be able to find stuff.
Organize Your Digital Space Too
Is your desktop jam-packed with a headache-inducing array of random files? Half of which you can’t remember what they are or when you last opened them?
Or does it have just a few well-named and well-organized folders, and lots of empty space?
Needless to say, the second of these is by far preferable. Remember everything we said about your living space? The same goes for your digital space too.
Have a place for everything inside a folder. Keep the number of folders down, by creating more subfolders inside them. It’s ok to have two or three documents on your desktop that you’re working on. Once you’re done with them, just put them in the place where they belong. Like you should with that pair of jeans you’re not wearing.
Besides all the obvious benefits of mission “digital declutter”, there’s an added one. You’ll finally be able to see that super-cool hi-res picture you chose for your desktop.
Stop Buying So Much Crap
Another way to avoid having a ton of junk taking up valuable space — is not having so much of it.
Any time you’re about to buy something, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you really going to use it much?
- Are you going to get any real value from it?
- Soon, will you see it as just another useless piece of clutter in your home?
If you can honestly answer the first two with a yes, and the third with a no, go ahead and buy it. Otherwise, don’t.
Keep these questions in mind, and you won’t end up buying another kitsch souvenir made of plastic that seems hilarious for about two days, before you realize it’s another piece of junk. Or another piece of expensive hobby equipment you totally intend to use regularly — but deep down, you know it’s just going to gather dust.
And just because it’s on sale, that alone isn’t a good reason for buying it. Still need to ask yourself those questions.
Do Regular Clear-Outs
Yes Aluxers, we know from experience. Even when you don’t buy loads of junk, things still have a habit of building up. And you really notice it when you move house — because by then, you have a ton of them to declutter.
Every now and then, go through your stuff and get rid of the things you don’t need any more. Clothes you used to think looked great, but you’ve changed your mind about. Sports equipment you don’t use anymore. Donate them. Sell them on eBay. Just don’t hoard them.
Organization guru and decluttering expert, Marie Kondo, is a big fan of doing this. She says ‘My criterion for deciding to keep an item is that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it’.
Clear Out Your Digital Space Too
Talking about how to declutter your space in real life, do exactly the same with your digital space. Delete those emails —having 5000 of them in your inbox isn’t doing anybody any favors.
And as for that document you’re not going to need anymore. Delete it. Or if you’re not sure, put it on external storage, and free up disk space.
Go for Minimalist Décor
A long time ago, it was normal for people to have lots of fancy-looking objects on display. Just watch a Victorian period drama and you’ll see. Then, at some point we realized that it was just too much for the eyes to take in. And, well… it just looked cluttered.
That’s when minimalist design took over and paved the way to a clutter-free lifestyle. The empty spaces induce a feeling of calm. And having just a few statement pieces of décor, with simple, but well-defined lines makes them stand out more.
For styles that best capture the minimalist aesthetic, you could go for Nordic design, with its sleek contours and neutral colors. Or Japanese design, inspired by Zen philosophy and the flow of positive energy. You can even combine Nordic and Japanese and you’ll get the style that designers call Japandi.
Not that you really need to know that. Just remember to keep your décor minimal, elegant and simple. The calm, uncluttered space will make you feel relaxed and invigorated. And it will make dusting a lot easier too.
Want some inspiration? Check out these Minimalist Living Room Ideas For An Amazing Home.
Use to-Do Lists to Declutter Your Tasks
When you’ve got a busy lifestyle bursting at the seams with business meetings, projects that are due, and dentist’s appointments — how do stay in control of it? Same idea as before — find a place for everything. In this case, a time slot on a to-do list.
Set up a to-do list. Just like you should give your things its own place in a drawer, give every task a place on your list. Prioritize the most important ones. Give yourself some wiggle room, because some of them will take longer than you expect. And the less important ones? If you can’t fit them in, be realistic, and leave them for next week, or next month. If you can, delegate them. Or when they’re not worth it, accept it and cross them off your list.
There are plenty of apps and productivity tools that help you do this. But whether you use an app, a Word doc or a piece of paper, you’ll find that allocating a realistic timeslot to each task will put you in control and reduce stress.
Focus on Your Most Fulfilling Friendships
So, you’ve got three thousand Facebook friends, or more. Fair enough. And fifty acquaintances you meet up with every now and again… Not necessarily a bad thing. But when meeting them for the sake of it becomes a drag… That’s when you know it’s time to declutter your friendships.
There’s a saying that a true friend is one you can call at three in the morning, when you really need them. And of course, that means you’ll also be there for them at 3am when they need you.
Ask yourself, how many 3am friends do you have? If you’ve got three or four, that’s probably about the right number. It’s not a big number. But those are the ones that really matter. There’ll also be a few others who don’t quite make it into your 3am club, but still mean a lot. These most important friends will be the ones you enjoy being with the most. Prioritize quality time with them — not with hundreds of superficial friendships. It will make your social life much more rewarding.
Prioritize Your Most Important Free Time Activities Too
Talking about your time outside work … If you’re planning on trying out two new hobbies, taking three online courses, and going to five social engagements this week — it sounds like you can declutter your free time schedule. And when you’ve got that much on, it’s impossible to focus on anything enough for it to really bring you any value.
Limit the free-time activities that you do regularly, so that you can focus enough on each one to make them meaningful.
And choose the right kind of activities too. Which brings us to our next point…
Do Things That Help You to Disconnect
Declutter things that you get involved with. Being able to disconnect is so important. It gives our brains a chance to recover from working on overdrive. That’s why you should do whatever gives you that feeling of being in a world apart from the pressure of everyday life.
Go running. Do martial arts. Or any other sports. If painting or making jewelry helps you disconnect, do those. Or it could be meditation.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, why not try our Mind Mastery Premium experience, which is available for purchase at alux.com/meditation.
This 21 day challenge will help you learn the valuable skill of meditation and how to use your mind to come up with creative solutions to the problems you’re facing. We know $250 is a lot for some of you. But just one idea from that course can grow into millions. Go to alux.com/meditation, go through the entire experience. If by the end you still think you didn’t get your money’s worth we will issue a full refund under our 60 day guarantee, that’s how much we believe in it!
Put Downtime Into Your Schedule Too
If your schedule is always jam-packed, and you’re constantly on the move — sounds like you need to put in some slots for downtime.
Time to relax. Time you can spend with those who are closest to you. Time to put your feet up and read a book. Or just be alone with your thoughts. Give this time a proper space on your schedule. That way, other things won’t creep in and push it off the list.
Research shows that it’s in this downtime that the best ideas and greatest insights come to us. Be aware of just how valuable downtime is. And make sure it gets priority too.
Get Your Finances in Order
If you’re one of those people who’s always spending, without any idea of how much money you’ve got left in the bank — until you realize you don’t have enough left over to pay the bills… then this one’s for you.
It’s another kind of declutter. Your inbox is full of unread bills. And your mind is cluttered with the stress of not knowing how much you owe, when you have to pay it, or when you’ll be hit with a penalty because it’s overdue. All because you haven’t organized your finances.
Know how much money you’ve got in the bank. Keep track of spending. Have an idea of when the bills are coming and of roughly how much they’ll be. And have a set day when you plan to pay them. If it helps, use an app that can help you organize this.
Reduce Your Screen Time — and Even Try a Digital Detox
All those notifications crowd in on our concentration and make it hard to focus. And once we’ve been distracted by our phone, if we end up scrolling aimlessly on social media, that cuts into our precious time as well.
Try finding ways of letting go of your devices for a while every day. It could be turning them off for an hour. Some people do digital detoxes for a whole week, or even more — but we know that isn’t practical for everyone. But find a way to disconnect from the digital world at least a little every day. Let your mind get rid of all the clutter of messages, notifications and feeds. And focus on what’s going on around you in the real world.
Reduce Waste and Recycle Whenever Possible
There aren’t many images that have the word clutter written all over them like a big bag full of trash. Especially if there’s a load of plastic in there, which we know exactly where it’s going to end up. In the middle of the ocean, cluttering up the planet.
Buy stuff with less packaging. Instead of asking for a bag every time you go shopping, take your own reusable one. Reduce waste. Recycle where you can. Avoid single use appliances that you’ll have to throw away. It will declutter your trash bin for a couple of days — and the planet with plastic for centuries to come. And, there’ll be less eco-guilt cluttering your mind.
Focus on Experiences, Not Things
Research shows us that amazing experiences make us happier than having lots of material things. Even if we have a tendency to crave possessions, don’t give into that craving so easily. Stay focused on what will really make us happy.
Instead of thinking about buying another gadget, or random piece of junk that we don’t really need, focus on things that will give you great memories. It could be a concert or a travel experience. Something adrenaline-filled, like bungee jumping. Or something old-school, like a barbecue, a picnic or a visit to a museum or gallery. Doing things you enjoy like these will only declutter your life — and they will give you true satisfaction.
What type of clutter do you think damages our lives the most?