Are you a pack rat? Do you save almost everything in case you’ll need it at some point in the future? Do you have a sentimental connection to family antiques, photos, and heirlooms? Is it difficult for you to let things go?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a good chance that your life, home, or workspace is cluttered and disorganized. You’re not alone. In fact, at least a quarter of Americans claim that they have a “clutter” problem.
Dealing with too much stuff can be overwhelming and the more that we have the tougher it gets to clear things away. Where do we start? How do we begin letting go? Clutter, not only in our space but also our minds such as large to-do lists, can clog the drains and slow things down. Our life and our overall thought process can become clouded.
Here are some simple yet effective ways to begin de-cluttering your life and finally getting on top of that overwhelming list of to-dos.
Delete Texts and Emails
A great place to begin is with your phone and computer. Our minds can get boggled with emails, texts, and lists. First and foremost, delete unnecessary or junk emails and texts immediately. Secondly, once you’ve read a message that doesn’t require a reply, either start a separate folder on your computer and drag it over, or delete it for good. By keeping your inbox manageable, with only pertinent messages, you’ll better be able to cope with the tasks at hand. Also, make sure to go through your extra folders regularly and delete what is no longer applicable there too.
The most common clutter problems normally begin in the closet. Most of us spend a fortune on clothes and it can be difficult to let them go. Here is a good rule to follow when deciding whether or not to give away, donate, or sell your clothes:
- You haven’t worn them in over a year.
- They no longer fit. Either they’re your fat or skinny clothes. By keeping your fat clothes, you are welcoming the possibility that you will once again be overweight and that is not an option.
- They are dated or out of style.
Hire a professional or ask a friend for their input. A second opinion can help you to separate your emotions from the facts.
As somebody who has been journaling regularly for 20 years, I know first hand about this topic. It’s okay to keep some of your old journals but there will come a time when you need to let them go. Consider having a burning ritual where you release old memories and offer them up to the Universe. This process opens the channel for new people, opportunities, and experiences into your life. Most journals are places where we re-live our past, jot down painful experiences and fears. Now its time for you to let go! Continue writing, but do so in the present. Make it a point to keep 12 journals in storage at the most.
Photos hold the fondest memories of all. In this modern age of computers and IPhones, most of us no longer have photo albums. Begin by setting time aside to organize your photos once and for all. Label your files, sort through your favorites and delete the ones that are either duplicates or have no meaning. Our best memories are in our heads and it’s not necessary to keep every single photo.
To-do lists are the absolute best way to de-clutter your mind and your life. Write down the things that you need to do each day. Keep the list in your day planner. Check off or highlight those things that you have completed and then write the remaining to-dos on tomorrow’s date. Continue to do this until all of your errands have been completed.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a moment. Ask yourself if you’re feeling stressed because you have too much stuff around you literally or figuratively. If that’s the case, begin going through the process above and gradually create a mindset and lifestyle that flows more freely and one that feels less heavy and burdensome.
Jay Bradley is an Anti-aging, wellness and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles.
He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!