I’m so pleased to have coach and writer Hayley Forster on the blog today. In this post, she shares about her decluttering journey and how it allowed her to make space in her life for all the good things she deserves (and will do the same for you)!
Rewind my life back by 4 years and you wouldn’t even recognize me. I was stressed, depressed, overweight and generally unhappy.
I was working an unprecedented number of hours, I was juggling relationships with my husband, my children, friends, family, and co-workers. My work and personal schedules were out of control. There was so much ‘stuff’ happening and there was not enough of me to go around!
Something had to change. I knew I needed some help.
That is when I started my journey into minimalism. Some people look at me with skepticism when I say that decluttering turned my life around.
“How is that even possible Hayley? I cleaned out my cutlery drawer the other day and I felt no different. Are you seriously telling me you started living a different life because of that?”
It is difficult for people to connect the dots on this.
The Role of Clutter
In truth, clutter plays a significant role in how we feel about our surroundings, our situations and ultimately ourselves. It makes sense, doesn’t it? We are always wanting more, bigger, better things in our life but we have tons of unused, old pieces of crap taking up our already precious space! This clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done, which leads to us feeling anxious because we’re never sure when we it will ever end!
Why does it cause so much stress?
- Clutter makes it difficult to relax, both physically and mentally. We are always trying to find those things ‘lost in the pile’ and trying to locate things quickly.
- It distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the time that people need to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt and embarrassment because we feel we should be ‘doing a better job’
If you’re serious about making changes, here are some ways you can start to physically and mentally declutter your life.
Declutter Your Life for More Space
This applies to the physical space you are surrounded by: your home and workspace (even your car!) There are two areas to address:
- Donate, throw away or recycle anything you don’t use anymore. If it offers no practical solution – you don’t need it!
- Eliminate any items that are not useful for you in the next chapter of your life.
The best place to start with this is to picture the vision you hold for yourself. Where do you want to be? What do you not want in your life? What does success mean to you? This automatically leads you to the question “does this dress that is two sizes too small, still need to be in my life?”
Go through every room, every cupboard and every box in the house and ask yourself this same question. When you physically remove these things, you create space, not only in your home but in your mind.
Declutter Your Schedule for Time
We have to admit that we can only do so much. We have unlimited options but limited resources, and because of that we need to make some important decisions:
- Ask yourself which items in your calendar are must haves and aligned to your vision? Eliminate the rest.
- Do you need to do it all personally? Delegate what you can. Ask for help!
- Everything that is remaining, is necessary. Therefore, batch and block your time in your calendar and focus on one thing at a time. If it’s important enough to be there, it’s important enough to focus and prioritize.
Declutter Your Relationships for More Love
We’re all directly influenced by the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
Do you ever feel drained around certain people? On the contrary, you may find others who energize you and fill you full of motivation!
To declutter your relationships, you need to be around people who love and support you. When you’re looking to attract the life you desire, surround yourself with others who make you feel the way you want. This may involve some difficult decisions about how to spend your time, but it is well worth it and can make a significant impact on your approach to your journey.
Declutter Your Emotions for Peace
I didn’t just stop at the cutlery drawer. I continued. I decluttered every aspect of my life. My home, my schedule, my relationships, my emotions.
In fact, emotional clutter can be just as stressful, if not more stressful than physical clutter! Most of us have had it from a very young age. [Editor’s note: this is where forgiveness can make a huge difference. For more on that read this.]
Like anything that’s been in your life for a while, emotional clutter can feel good to have around. It can give you the excuse not to start and the reason to hold back. The important thing is to recognize and declutter your emotional baggage so that it doesn’t prevent you from seeing and taking the opportunities that are right in front of you. Allow yourself to understand your past and your limiting beliefs. This is the first step to working through them.
Decluttering Gave Me Abundance
My decluttering journey has not happened overnight but it is a journey that certainly paid off! Slowly but surely I simplified my life. Living a minimalist lifestyle allowed me to slow down, take stock, and live more intentionally. This was the key to my happiness.
Life’s too short – don’t allow things of lesser importance to rob you of the life you could be living. Take a good look at your life, evaluate, and be honest with yourself.
Don’t delay – declutter your life! You can do this!
About the Author
Hayley Forster is a freelance writer and Wellness & Lifestyle Coach & CEO at Simple Joy. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity! You can learn more about Hayley at www.simplejoy.co.uk or following her on Instagram & Facebook.
Not sure how to get started with decluttering? Feeling overwhelmed? Contact me here – I’m here to help!