From the junk mail on your kitchen table to the advertisements that leap out from billboards and social media, clutter is everywhere. And while you might think of your junk drawer or that one hallway closet as your most disorderly space, the truth is that your mind is probably less organized than anywhere else in your life. From stresses and anxieties to bad habits and relationships, the physical clutter of our lives often reflects the psychological clutter of our minds, and the two can be intricately related. Try these five simple strategies to reorganize your life and your mind.
Make a List
Decluttering is ultimately about what you want your life to be, and what you want in it. By outlining your major goals, you can also get a sense of what you need to eliminate from your life. Try creating a document that lists not just what you want in your life, but what you want to get out of it. Maybe it’s physical clutter, or a certain negative habit, or even an unhealthy friendship. Whatever it is you’re looking to achieve (or eliminate), a list can help you make decisions in the service of those goals.
Keep a Journal
There are few better ways to organize your thoughts than journaling. Either on paper or digitally, a journal gets out your mental clutter by putting those thoughts into words. Whether it’s stress, hope, fear or anger, writing out your feelings gives them a voice and relieves you of the burden of keeping them cooped up in your mind. Journaling gives you perspective on your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to step outside your struggles and observe them from afar. The more often you journal, the more manageable your life will start to seem.
Declutter Your Personal Space
It may seem simple, but decluttering your physical spaces can have a direct impact on your mental clarity. From the office to the home, cutting down on physical clutter and keeping your essentials in order serves to streamline your life and reduce stress. Even if you’re not particularly organized, try adopting a system where you keep important things in the same place so you can find them easily. Clearing your mind is important mental and spiritual work, but sometimes it can be as simple as reorganizing your desk.
Try a Spending Freeze
One surefire way to cut down on the amount of junk in your life is to institute a spending freeze, where you commit to eliminating all spending except on essential items for a set amount of time (try a couple of weeks or a month to start out). It may seem unimaginable to go a month without eating at a restaurant or shopping, but you might find that mindless, habitual spending is one of the main factors complicating your life. In addition to saving money and eliminating new possessions, a spending freeze can help you take stock of unhealthy spending habits and other patterns you fall into.
Say No Sometimes
Whether it’s at work, at home or in your social life, you might find yourself assuming responsibilities that you shouldn’t in order to avoid letting people down. Learning to say no might feel difficult or even selfish at first, but it’s actually about organizing your life in a way that’s productive for you. Overextending yourself doesn’t do any good for you or those around you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help your friends or family, but learning your limits ultimately helps you and your loved ones more than trying to take on everyone else’s problems.