Last Saturday was “National Toss Away the ‘Could Haves’ and ‘Should Haves’ Day,” and it reminded us of the importance—and difficulty-- of decluttering and simplifying your life, inside and out.
We decided to share a few of our favorite tips for simplifying your life, but first, here are a couple of questions to think about...
- Does anyone else find decluttering exceptionally difficult? It shouldn’t be, right? It seems easy enough to decide that you don’t use or need something any more, and throw or give it away. Then why is it so hard?
- Why do we only think about getting rid of physical clutter that is in our way, making our daily lives more of a struggle? Why don’t we think about the emotional and mental clutter that we allow ourselves to live with and carry around?
Though there’s probably not one right answer to either of these questions, they’re certainly things to consider.
Maybe decluttering the physical stuff is hard because we’re afraid that we’ll need the things we get rid of and regret having given them away...or because we have an emotional attachment to them.
Maybe it’s that we hide behind the clutter—we use it as an excuse not to go after and do the things we really want. Having an excuse makes it easier to avoid facing our fear of failing at the things we want (and if that’s the case, let’s revisit our project of reframing failure).
Whatever the case, there's a reason that that bestseller book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
We can all agree that the physical, mental, and emotional clutter can be overwhelming, and it isn’t helping anyone move forward to live the life they want to live--so how do we get rid of it?
How do we simplify to make more room for what’s helpful and important to us?
Here are some of our best tips for simplifying the physical clutter...
As for the emotional clutter, the negative thoughts and feelings that we carry around with us every day that weigh us down...
Let go and forgive yourself.
As women, we can “woulda, coulda, shoulda” ourselves all day long, but all that does is add to the clutter.
Lists can help here, too, but decluttering this part of your life can be even more difficult. It’s all about identifying what the clutter is, and letting go of it.
This won’t happen in a day either, but you can start any time! Like decluttering in real life, you just have to decide to start.
We recommend writing down those negative thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. to identify them, and taking a moment to reflect. While you’re reflecting on the negative, think about the positive, and decide what positive changes you want to make in the way you think and feel.
Write the positive changes down, and throw away the negative list. Literally! Let go of all that weight and refuse to give it the power to control you.
Then take another look at your positive list, and think about concrete ways that you can make those positives a reality. (Write those down too if you’re feeling really crazy!)
It may take some time to truly let go of those negative things, but you will feel lighter and it will make everything else feel more manageable.
Remember, however big or small your project, wherever you start, it will take time.
So remind yourself why you’re doing it—to simplify your life and make room and time for what matters to you. And allow yourself the time to do it, it’s not selfishness, it’s self-love, self-defense, and self-care.
Let us know if your find these tips helpful, and please share your own best practices for simplifying your life with us in the comments!
Love + simplicity,