(Image from: Ideas.ted.com)
Defined by the Cambridge dictionary as removing things you do not need from a place, to declutter helps you feel pleasant and useful. In a more general context, to declutter relates to household cleaning or related stuffs. Meanwhile, this piece seeks to adjust the meaning around the perimeter of one’s day-to-day life and mental health. Taking deliberate actions towards filtering one’s life engagements does help to decongest the mind off unimportant and sometimes toxic acts, lifestyle or acquaintances. Decluttering could range from your marital life, academics, profession, extracurricular, online engagements and so on.
Liken your mind (or brain) to that of a computer memory drive. An overload of files on the memory causes the system to drag or malfunction for reasons ranging from multiple programs running concurrently, full system memory, or malware infection. Usually, this could be resolved by running a system check or virus scan. This similitude applies to one’s endeavours, and to declutter requires you to discard those ‘unwanted or virus-infected files’ and shut down irrelevant programs from running on the system to have it perform optimally. However, one should not wait until she is choked by these seemingly unwanted stuffs. Rather, decluttering should be a continuous endeavour and ultimately a habit.
Few things to declutter
- Personal space: look around your room, your house, your work desk etc. and tidy up to put things in order.
- The mind: what thoughts bother you? List them out and focus on those you can change. Do not allow unnecessary stuff to pile up in your mind. Pour out your mind on paper or your digital journal (see our article on Journaling and Mental Health). Writing down your thoughts is a very effective way of decluttering and opening your mind to new ideas.
- Social media: one way or the other, we suddenly find ourselves in some WhatsApp or Telegram groups that add no genuine value or inundate us with spam messages. Unapologetically take the exit to save you the distraction. Assess who you follow or what channels you have subscribed to. The social media has been swamped with ‘bogus realities’ that could also misconfigure your perception of certain things and ultimately do more harm to your mental health. (see our article on Social Media and your Mental Health)
- Personal finance: If you do not have a monthly or weekly budget, develop one today! Structure your finances and be clear on how much you earn, spend, save and invest. You do not want to default on your debts or be met with an emergency that eventually destabilises your mental health.
- Personal relationships: The people you surround yourself with should either make or mar your personality. Are you in a toxic affair? Are your friends rumourmongers or harbingers of falsehood and negativity? If in the affirmative, do well to set yourself free.
Useful Tips on how to Declutter
- Get a journal and write out everything that concerns you. Simply write them down from the tiniest bits to the largest.
- Decide what your priorities are and list them out. Go ahead to strike out activities or people that appear irrelevant to realising such priorities.
- After filtering, neatly spell out the things that matter to you, and establish a plan or to-do list to guide you along the corridors of things that matter.
Have in mind that this endeavour does not have to be accomplished in a day. Regardless, set a deadline and work towards it, you could engage the assistance of someone you consider reliable or appoint an accountability partner that helps you stay true to your plans. The result of decluttering gets to manifest by helping you to reduce stress, boosts your mind power in a more positive light, makes you mentally organized and eases you off undue pressure, all of which are pathways to a safe mental spectrum.