Decluttering our environment has many benefits as it releases negativity and makes space for new possibilities. This works well for heads and hearts, as well as our homes. In today’s post, I share what intangibles we can declutter, why it’s important, and some simple ways how to do it starting now.the ultimate guide to decluttering your heart and mind

 

Thoughts + Feelings = Reality

It’s popular to talk about how thoughts and feelings create reality, but that can be a little confusing. It seems really abstract when we talk about things in this way, so let me give you a concrete example.

When we’re riding a bicycle, the key is to look where we want to go. We look to the point in the horizon where we want to be. Our mind focuses on where we want to be, and our body naturally follows. It’s the same with a balance beam. We look at the end of the balance beam in order to cross it. When we do this, we successfully get to where we want to go.

If we looked down at our feet, in both cases, we would lose balance and fall.

The focus leads to a real result. We get what we focus on and this applies to both feelings and thoughts.

When we begin a gratitude practice, for example, it helps us feel more positively about our life experiences. By feeling grateful for a few things, we start to notice more things that inspire gratitude, and those in turn, bring more things to feel gratitude. In short, we turn into a walking ball of gratitude!

Because we get more of what we focus on, it’s important to be clear in our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we can do this by taking physical action – like decluttering our bedroom, clothing, or garage. These are important things to do, and they have real positive changes in our lives, but they are not the only way to gain clarity, and at some point, it may not be enough.

Other Clutter

Our heads and hearts can be cluttered. This can happen in less physical ways, through things like scheduling, relationships, or feeling overwhelmed by many thoughts and feelings at once. If we struggle to focus on one thing, we’re going to have a hard time moving forward because:

  1. Our focus is disjointed (we’re not looking at the end of the balance beam but all over the place!).

  2. We may end up focusing on the discomfort of the situation (which will cause us to fall where we stand on that balance beam!).

  3. We don’t know what we want.

Where to Start Decluttering Your Heart and Mind

We know we need to clear our heads and hearts, but where do we start? This is a relatively easy thing, that I think works best by following your intuition – i.e. where you think you need decluttering. In order to do this, simply:

  1. Think about what areas in your life are causing you tension.

  2. List them out on a piece of paper.

  3. Pick the one that feels like it needs to get done first (or the one that seems to be causing you the MOST tension) and write “1” next to it.

  4. Continue numbering until you’re done.

Now that you have your list of intangibles, let’s work through them. I’m going to work through some of the most common intangibles that come up, but this is not an exhaustive list (so you may have something that is not represented in this post). That said, the following strategies may be adapted to fit other areas.

How to Declutter Your Schedule

If you feel like you’re being pulled in twenty different places at once, you’re doing too much. I think this is a hard thing to do for a lot of women who are trying to “do it all.” They want to be PTA mom, chef, comforter, healer, career woman, house manager, and “It Girl” all at once. This is a classic case of chasing perfectionism, and will result in burn-out, resentment, jealousy, and guilt. It often shows up as an overburdened schedule as a result of saying “yes” more than is healthy.

If this is you, I recommend the following:

  1. Sit down with yourself.

  2. Write down your current responsibilities or roles.

  3. Consider, what would happen if you let some of them go? How would it feel to let them go?

  4. Cross those off your list.

  5. Claim the ones remaining as your priorities and go easy on the others.

How to Transform Work Overwhelm

If you feel overwhelmed at work, then you’re doing too much. Overwhelm is a result of having a split focus. Maybe you’re doing things that aren’t really your job. Maybe you’re spending too much time on something that isn’t getting results and it’s causing you to feel stressed or burned out.

There are a few easy ways to declutter your work responsibilities:

  • Declutter your physical work space (if you haven’t already).

  • Delegate tasks that others can do – if you’re not needed to complete those specific tasks, let someone else do them!

  • Make a list of things that need to get done. Prioritize them (1 for most urgent, 2 for second, etc). Focus on one thing at a time starting with one and cross them off as they’re completed.

If you’re suffering from more substantial professional overwhelm, you may have split your attention in too many different directions. If this is the case, I recommend the following:

  1. Ask yourself, what is the vision of my work? What are the goals of my work?

  2. Check every action against your vision and goals. If it is not aligned, don’t do it. If it is, do it!

How to Declutter Relationships

Relationships can be messy because people are complex and we never know another person completely (we are human after all!). If you’re feeling a drain with the people in your life, it may be time to examine the kinds of relationships you have. The following are general guidelines for gaining clarity in your support network:

  • Set boundaries by saying “no” to things that don’t bring you joy or reflect your values.

  • Practice mindful communication (click here to read a post on what that entails).

  • Set the intention to spend more time with people who reflect your values, inspire positive growth, and encourage you as a person.

  • Forgive yourself for spending time in the past with people who do the opposite.

General Mind Decluttering

This is a little different from the above areas because it is for times when you feel too distracted by things in your life. Use this tactic when you feel paralyzed. If you cannot separate or drill down to focus on priorities, the following will help you refocus and gain clarity:

  1. Sit in a quiet place. Make the environment inviting – it could be a natural setting, or your room with a candle lit and soft music.

  2. Take out a journal or some paper.

  3. Spend 5 minutes writing down everything that’s in your head – whatever it is, let it pour onto the page.

  4. At the end of the 5 minutes, take a deep breath.

  5. Go back and read what you wrote, looking for trends or things that jump out at you.

  6. Ask yourself, are these things important? Do you have to do them right now? Is there something that is more important? Or is there an underlying cause?

  7. Make a list of small actions you can take to address the underlying cause.

If the Struggle Continues…

If you continue to struggle decluttering your heart and mind, you need outside help for greater clarity. This is when you’ll want either a community, class, or coach (or some combination).

A community will help you gain clarity (i.e. declutter!) through:

  • offering support and solidarity as well as

  • sharing stories of what worked for them.

A class gives mental clarity through:

  • step-by-step guidance down a path toward your goal

  • provides a framework of focus to decrease distractions and

  • may also include community (see above benefits!).

A coach is “bringing out the big guns” as they say. If you’re struggling with the hows and whats, coaching will make a huge difference through:

  • personalized guidance that focuses on your specific needs and situation

  • focusing on practices and patterns that work best for your lifestyle and personality

  • rapid change – removing any need for you to search or cobble together solutions because the coach gives them to you based on your conversations.

 

From Here

There are a number of ways you can address intangible issues in your life through decluttering. Sometimes physical decluttering will be enough to address them, but other times, you may need to take different actions related to your schedule or focus.

The reality is, if you feel like you’re doing too much or that you have too many distractions, then you need to declutter. If you feel like too much is going on, that your experience is full of chaos, or that you’re being pulled in different directions, that is a sign for you to declutter. The clutter needs your attention. The tactics I shared above can make a huge difference in your experience, and they don’t take much time.

You are worth it. Your peace, freedom, and joy is worth the time it takes to declutter.

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Alexis Donkin

Alexis Donkin is a life coach and intuitive helping creatives build lives based in unconditional love. She is the creator of The Compassion Letter weekly newsletter, and the online course, The Heart Unboxed: How to Love the Unloveable, as well as host of the Intentional Writer Interview Series and author of over 17 books.
The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Heart & Mind
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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Heart & Mind

  • May 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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    I’ve seen this book all over the place…. But I kind of hate parting with stuff, so I haven’t actually looked into it. Either way, you’ve got some great points here on how to clean one’s heart. Anything that doesn’t cause joy is not something we need to hold to tighly. Thank you for this!

    Reply
    • May 26, 2017 at 9:25 am
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      Thanks for your comment Lisa! Yes – I used to have a really tough time parting with things too! It takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Also, having some objective measure helps – such as, does this spark joy? Glad you found it helpful! 🙂

      Reply

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