8 Ways to Clear the Clutter and Improve Your Life

Monet’s Monarch by dbarronoss, on Flickr
Photo by dbarronoss (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Written by Raymond Salas

Why clear the clutter?

What good can it do?

How can it improve your life?

Well, for starters… 
“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” - Eleanor Brownn

“You find when you simplify and you just take what you need, and just give yourself what you need, you find there is space for so many other things.” - Tom Shadyac


8 Ways to Clear the Clutter and Improve Your Life



- Simplify with the “6-12 month” rule. 

To simplify using the “6-12 month” rule, just do this: If you have stuff that you haven’t used or enjoyed for at least 6-12 months, pack it up and get rid of it. Give it to all to Goodwill or another charity of your choosing. They’ll be glad to take it off your hands.

If this is too much for you, then pack it up and store it for 6 months. Set up a reminder on Google Calendar or the calendar on your phone to notify you in 6 months. After 6 months passes, if you still didn’t touch any of the stuff you packed up, it likely means that it does not serve a purpose in your life anymore and is just taking up space. So, get rid of it. 


- Stop collecting so much crap.

I used to collect baseball cards when I was a kid. As I got older, I got tired of storing them because they took up a lot of space. So, I got rid of them.

Do you really need that limited edition state bird plate collection? Or that coin collection that’s just gathering dust in a box somewhere. I don’t know. Maybe you do. 

The point is to look at all of the stuff you’re saving and storing, then apply the previous “6-12 month” rule.

- Forgive yourself and others. Let go of past regrets.

Holding onto grudges and past grievances only takes up mental and emotional space in your consciousness. The remedy is to forgive and let it go. Cut the ties that are binding you to these people and situations from the past. If not, it will be like unnecessarily dragging around a 15-pound weight with you wherever you go. Who needs that?

Forgiveness also means forgiving yourself for past regrets and dumb mistakes. Everybody has some. So, forgive them and set yourself free.


- Tame your “to-do” list.

Make a list of everything you need to do, including projects and tasks, both big and small. I suggest keeping it on your computer so it’s easy to update.

The purpose of making this list is to take all of these items out of your head and onto your list, reducing your mental clutter. Also, remember that none of this is set in stone. You can revise this list whenever or however you need to.

Once you have your list complete, the next time you have 15 or 30 minutes or more, pick one item from the list to work on. The idea is to make whatever progress you can on that one item with the time you have available.

Whenever you complete the task or project, simply delete it from the list.

Repeat.


- Turn off mindless TV. Consciously choose your entertainment.

I’m not making an argument against TV. I’m just suggesting that you choose your entertainment consciously. Don’t just keep the TV on to use it as a kind of "white noise" in the background. Also, don’t sleep with your TV on. This just fills up your subconscious mind with all kinds of crap. Stay clear.


- Let go of relationships and situations that don’t feel good.

If you’re spending time with people or situations you don’t enjoy, you’re only creating resistance and negativity within you. If it continues, this can adversely impact you mentally, emotionally, and even physically (because they’re all connected).

Like Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Think about this, then make changes accordingly (if needed).


- Be present. Enjoy the moment.

How many of us are ever truly present in THIS moment? Not many, I would guess. Most of us are too preoccupied with the past (what already happened) or the future (what might happen).

Or we’re too busy on our cell phones. Or iPads, etc.

Whatever we choose to do with this moment, we will never have it back again. And, often we only realize this after something happens, then it’s often too late.


- Quit trying to control everything. 

The only control we ever really have is how we choose to respond to this present moment. Everything else is literally out of our control. Mind-blowing, I know.

For most of us, this thought is too overwhelming, so our fear responds by doing things like over-planning and trying to control everything. This only kills the magic of the moment.

Don’t let it.