If clutter is the accumulation of unnerving stuff, then decluttering means tossing what you don't need - including items, thoughts and even interruptions that distract you. Focus. Simplify. Declutter.
De-cluttering your physical space can have an amazingly uplifting effect on your mood. Feng Shui experts claim that buildings and furniture store the memories of events in the form of energy, and that by de-cluttering you can clear the energy of historic traumatic events. Whether or not you put any store in that kind of theory, nobody who has ever de-cluttered a space could deny the positive benefits of increasing the physical space in their environment.
However, physical de-cluttering can also have a cathartic effect on people emotionally. When we let go of things we've been hoarding for a long time, we often let go of emotional memories we've been hanging onto along with them (albeit unconsciously), and so by clearing physical clutter you can clear space in your head and in your heart as well as your home.
Clutter though is not only physical. We can also have mental and emotional clutter blocking the flow of energy in our lives, and clearing this out is guaranteed to help improve our emotional wellbeing. Examples include undone/unfinished tasks; people/activities that drain you of energy; remaining angry at people; busyness - filling up your schedule with activities you feel duty-bound to do, and leaving no time to nourish your soul and refresh your body.
Some tips for clearing your physical clutter:
• Look at your home and identify the areas that need decluttering. Break it down into small tasks that can be tackled over a period of time, rather than one big project to be done in a day. Start small with everyday areas like the kitchen table and build momentum towards the areas you avoid because the idea of tackling them is just overwhelming.
• Go through your stuff and for each item ask yourself Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I use it? If you can answer yes to any of them, it stays. If it's no to all, then it goes.
• Divide everything into four piles: Keep, Recycle, Donate and Dump. As soon as you're done, remove the items that aren't staying straight away and deliver them to their new destination.
• Once your big clear out is done, avoid a new build up by clearing out little and often.
Tips for clearing your Mental/Emotional Clutter:
• Make a list of anything you've been procrastinating over, and ask yourself why you have been putting it off. What can you tackle and what can you let go of? When you're clear on what you definitely has to be done, make a plan and get to it.
• Stop worrying. There is nothing constructive about worrying - it won't help you avoid the outcome you're worrying about and it'll destroy your ability to enjoy the present. When a worrying thought arises, quash it straight away and sing along with me "Everything's gonna be alright, everything's gonna be alright..." Focus your energy on what you'd like to happen instead.
• Follow through on promises and commitments. When you've said you'll do something but you keep putting it on the long finger, it drains you of energy. If you can't or don't want to see them through, then be upfront about it and withdraw your promise.
• Let go of anger and forgive. When somebody hurts you badly, it's a normal response to feel anger, and to not want to forgive. But anger is bad for your health, both physical and emotional, so it's actually in your interests to let it go and forgive the other person. Forgiving them doesn't mean you have to welcome them back into your life with open arms, it just means letting go of the memory of what they've done to you and the feelings that go with it. Maybe the other person doesn't deserve forgiveness, but don't you deserve to move on and leave the pain behind?
• Say no to people and activities that drag you down. Instead, surround yourself with people who uplift you and do things that make you feel great!
As with your physical clear out, don't make this a once-off project or an irregular purge. Develop clutter free habits in every aspect of your life, and you will enjoy an easier flow through life on a continuous basis.