Most of us need truck-loads of self-care and we’re not doing it.
Oh you might indulge yourself once in a while when you have reached the absolute LIMIT of your strength. Or you actually do take care of yourself when you have the time or after your body sends you urgent signals like a splitting headache.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking massages, healthy meals, making time for friends, even exercise – now those are self-care. Not Decluttering!
After all, it’s hard work. It’s not exactly fun and you just don’t have the time anyway. If you did you wouldn’t NEED self care! It’s a bit of a catch 22 that “I-don’t-have-the-time” thing.
We all know that if we build-in self care to our busy schedules, we’ll feel much better, more often. Take some credit though – I bet you’re already doing some small self-care routines that really do help support you in your chosen life. You’ve just forgotten that they’re there because they’re habits now.
If you’re not feeling the benefits though, you probably need to upgrade your self-care habits. It makes sense, your life changes constantly. Your energy levels fluctuate, the needs that support your energy will too.
So how does decluttering help your energy levels? And all those other elements of wellbeing that self care supports?
Control over your environment
Decluttering gives you a feeling of freedom and liberation. The time you once had available to manage your things may have reduced with babies and lifestyle changes. But all the things you have to manage haven’t gone anywhere. In fact, there’s probably loads more coming into the house all the time!
When you can’t keep up anymore, reducing the number of things you have to manage in your busy life gives you back the control you once felt. Every donation, every single thing you sell, is another thing lifted from your shoulders. One less thing to take up your time.
This is the old chicken and the egg thing. You’re procrastinating so you can avoid decluttering… but decluttering helps you avoid procrastinating? Minimising your belongings and getting them organised makes you feel good, you’re doing something productive and useful. You’re creating order and making your life easier.
Everything is easier when you live clutter-free. It’s easier to find things, clean things, play with things and find peace and calm in your home. You have created an environment that gives you the time and space to do the things you want and need to do.
Part of the problem with clutter is that we get used to it. We think we barely notice it, that it doesn’t affect us, but it does affect us in a sneaky way. Clutter affects us subconsciously, it makes us feel like we’re not capable if we can’t even sort this stuff out! It’s too hard! So when you DO tackle it, just a little bit at a time, you feel better about yourself.
You can prove to yourself that you CAN declutter, you can keep your home tidy and organised. You might start to feel more confident about tackling other parts of your life too. The things that seem too hard, well, they might just not be as hard as you thought.
Find your focus
Too much stuff around you fills your mind. It’s that sneaky effect that clutter has on your subconscious again. Clutter overwhelms your senses. Your environment is crowded and your subconscious mind is aware of this crowding. There’s just too much stimulation of your mind and you might not even know what’s causing it. You just feel anxious and stressed, all the time.
Your ability to concentrate in different situations might be different to mine, but many studies (yawn!) show that a clutter-free environment really makes a positive impact on our ability to focus. Not just the kind of focus that you need for study, but to really enjoy yourself in your home, playing games, watching TV or trying a new recipe.
Make your home your haven
How do you want to feel in your home? Most of us just want to feel happy and contented in our home. We long for a place that is restful and restorative. But if you constantly feel like you need to tidy or the annoyance of stuffed cupboards preys on your mind, it’s hard to find that peace. Clutter also affects your sleep, especially if it’s the last thing you see before you close your eyes.
More stuff means more mess. More stuff means more managing that stuff, constantly moving it and cleaning around it and trying to find a place for it. Under constant pressure to tidy, to organise, to find a space for another thing… it’s like a never ending to-do list. What a relief it is to live in a clutter-free home.
If you’re feeling discontented and unhappy with your home it might be because the things around you are the cause. They might make you feel nostalgia, guilt or worry. They might remind you of fights and unfairness. They might be holding you back, just by being there in your home. Or you might feel hopelessness about the sheer mess you’re struggling with.
Decluttering will eliminate the negative feelings that your subconscious, (or conscious), mind, attaches to those things. It’s the action of letting go of those burdens, those obligations and unhealthy attachments. You’ll feel more positive about your home in general because you can see the positive effects of your decluttering work.
Balance in all things
Remember that it’s all too easy to get carried away with any behaviour. We’re human, we tend to go overboard and become obsessed with new ideas. If your decluttering work is causing you stress or conflict in your relationships it might be a sign that you need to ease up a little.
Decluttering is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. The purpose of decluttering is to clear your path to an easier life so you can focus on the things that mean the most to you. Compromise will be required to find the balance of simplicity, practicality and style that’s right for you.