Declutter your life, declutter your mind

There’s been a lot of press lately around the idea of decluttering. Thanks to Japanese expert Marie Kondo and the idea of only keeping items that ‘bring you joy’, many of us have hauled bags of clothes to the charity shop, which feels liberating…

Since the start of 2019, ‘Minimalism. Decluttering. Konmari method’ have been key searches on visual inspo website Pinterest, as more and more people are seeking to organise their homes by getting rid of the clutter, and do so in the chicest way possible. in fact, searches of ‘Konmari method’ (Marie Kondo’s tips) have increased 710 per cent, the site has found.

And as much as a clear-out leaves room physically, it’s also brilliant emotionally. Just as a clean desk can help your work quality, a decluttered space can absolutely help declutter the mind. The theory goes that if you have less stuff, you can dedicate less time to taking care of it, which gives more time for other, more inspiring things. It taps into an ancient Eastern principle of the letting go, opting for a more minimalist and less frenetic lifestyle.

David Brudö is CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform, Remente. “The items that you surround yourself with; in your home, on your desk, in your handbag, and on your smartphone, can easily cause your personal space to feel cluttered, and this could, in turn, lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. These items, if not containing a sentimental feeling or placed there mindfully, can end up representing chores you need to do and decisions you have to make. Your everyday activity and surroundings should be leading you towards your most productive and happy self,” he says.

He goes on, “be mindful about the thoughts that are entering your mind when you, for example, see your home, your closet, and your pantry. If it is things such as ‘my house isn’t clean enough’, ‘I never have enough time’, ‘I have nothing to wear’, then it might be time to declutter.”

If you do decide to declutter, you can expect positive outcomes. “Part of the reason behind the feelings of stress is often the lack of control. A messy home or desk can easily contribute to the sense of lost control, for example, not being able to find your car keys in the morning or losing an important piece of paper just before the meeting. A clean and organised space will allow you to take charge and can lead to reduced stress,” David says.

It will also help you focus more on being in the present. “The main purpose of mindfulness is to allow you to become more present in everyday life and thus improve your relationship with those around you. This can be very difficult to do if you are surrounded by clutter and, thus, reminders of what you need to do next. As you declutter your spaces, consider what brings you joy and peace, and then make sure that you surround yourself with this. For example, adding a plant on your desk or creating a meditation corner in your room,” David says.

Finally, it can make you feel more productive. He goes on, “do not forget about your digital declutter as well. Many of us will have the same go-to distractions, whether it is checking our phones, social media or simply the news websites. The best way to stop doing these things is to eliminate the distractions – switch off your phone, mute your email notifications and block the distracting websites for the time that you need to work.”

So where to start? Small, and with a list. Focus on one room, or area, whether it’s a wardrobe or kitchen drawers, and go from there – there are handy storage solutions all over the place, from Pinterest to Muji and Ikea, designed to make your life easier. You’ll be feeling the joy in no time.

Main image: Netflix

By Charlotte

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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.

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