I hate clutter. Mess really does stress me out! I love the house to be tidy and things to be away. A few years ago we had lots of built in cupboards put in our house which is great in a way because we have lots of storage. The trouble with having lots of storage is that is is more tempting to pop things in the cupboard rather than getting rid of the things that we no longer want or need.
Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience concluded that if you want to focus well, be effective at processing information,be less irritable, more productive, and distracted less often then clearing the clutter will help.
When I visit the ‘tip’ it gives me a really uneasy feeling. When I see ironing boards, clothes horses, paint containers, glass, building materials, children toys, and old electrical items all piled up I realise just how wasteful we are. It seems awful that we take all our rubbish for someone else to get rid of. In some ways it seems selfish and I don’t like it when I am party to it. So I try to look for alternatives.
Recycling helps and I always try to put everything I can in the recycling bin rather than the rubbish. Even this has limits though.
Yesterday we had a charity bag through the door. It was from the air ambulance charity and they were asking for donations. They will take clothes and bric a brac from outside your house so it is a really easy way to oust some clutter! Yesterday in our office we had a charity auction where people brought in their unwanted items and others paid a small amount for things that they wanted. This too was to raise money for charity. From brand new jeans that had their tags on to unopened boxes of herbal tea, all sorts of things were up for grabs! So getting rid of our unwanted items doesn’t need to leave us feeling bad, it can be fun and we can be giving to a good cause. An all round winner!
When I have a clear our it certainly makes me more mindful when I then go shopping. I have more clarity of mind in terms of what I buy. Before I take something to the checkout I double check with myself whether I really need it. Last time a charity bag came I put in it lots of my scarfs, some of them were lovely but I just didn’t wear them all. When I was shopping the other day I picked up a new scarf because I loved the colour. Before I got to the till I checked myself and told myself I didn’t need it. Looking back I am sure this was the right decision and I feel glad that I noticed before it was too late!
So making good decisions when we clear out our clutter has so many benefits. It’s an all round winner. The trouble is it can seem like a huge task and sometimes that can put us off getting on with it. Here are some top tips for getting started…
1) Start small. Making the task manageable really is key. So rather than picking a room to start on pick a particular cupboard or drawer.
2) Get everything out and decide whether you want it or need it. It might help to think about the last time you used it. With clothes I generally think if I haven’t worn them for the last year then I probably should let it go.
3)Put the things you decide to keep neatly back into the drawer or cupboard. This will give you a real sense of satisfaction which will leave you inspired to carry on in your mission to clear out.
4)Separate the things you are clearing out into piles. Things that are worth giving to others and things that really are rubbish.
5) Take the items you are giving away to an appreciative recipient. Make sure they want the items. Pushing them on to someone else won’t make you feel good. If you take them to a charity shop make sure you fill in the Gift Aid form so that they get the full benefit.
6) Enjoy the extra space you have created in your room… and your mind!
For more top tips to make your lifestyle more mindful come on a Revitalise Day. Mindfulness is a way of life and it makes a huge difference to everything we do. The sooner you start the sooner you will feel the improvements.