How to declutter your home (& life)

Letting go

Some years ago I went to live in East Timor, and without particularly planning to do so ended up staying for a long time.

It was a wonderful experience for a whole range of reasons, not least that I first went there with, in the literal sense, no baggage.

This wonder-filled period of my life, spanning several years in total, helped me to realise that while material possessions can be enjoyable, it’s also more than possible to live a very contented life with very few possessions of your own.

Brick by brick (the Lego man diaspora)

Since having a couple of children, and now living back in Brisbane, I find that clutter has once again reasserted itself as a presence in my life (not all of it bad, I should say!).

I’m far from alone in this journey, of course – the routine of treading on uncannily-placed pieces of Lego being one of the agonizing pleasures of parenthood, as anyone familiar with the stewardship of toddlers will solemnly attest.

So common is this theme of clutter & mess, in fact, that there are even now experts in the field of decluttering.

I’ve read some excellent tips, such as operating a ‘one in, two out’ policy for clothes & toys, having more convenient storage options, opting for gifts that aren’t material in nature, or simply resolving to allow possessions to find a new home where they can be put to more effective use (once they’ve reached the end of their useful life for you).

Mental declutter

There’s another aspect to decluttering, relating to your mental state.

A fundamental part of living a simpler & clearer life is limiting the amount of mental clutter that you allow into your life in the first place.

The road to mental peace & wellbeing appears to me to be more of a journey than a destination, and a personal one at that.

Here’s what I’ve found seems to work quite well for me on a day-to-day basis; but it might be very different for you:

My daily routine involves rising early, checking the calendar & goals for the day ahead, exercising during the day, ideally outside or at the pool (motion creates emotion – it’s the single most powerful way to tackle mental clutter & stress for me).

I also meditate for 15-20 minutes an hour before bedtime – initially I found this incredibly boring, but as with many healthy habits it gets easier, & eventually even enjoyable.

But that’s just me, and by way of disclosure I should say that some days are naturally far more decluttered than others.

The trick, it should go without saying, is to find what works for you!

And on that candid note, I must leave it – must get back to picking up those stray Lego bricks…