Interior design expert Toks Aruoture reveals how decluttering your mind will help you to get more organised at home and make your life simpler.
Out of clutter, find simplicity – Albert Einstein
I recently had enough. Enough of, well, just about everything. I had finally filled my mind to overflowing and could no longer function.
Does that ever happen to you? Where you feel like an overstuffed washing machine that can’t rotate its drum?
I decided it was time to declutter my home, I thought it would help. As I went around from room to room I retrieved Mother’s Day cards from 2010, paintings from my little one (who at the time when he spelt ‘Mummy’ as momi), teachers’ notes that never made it to the teachers’ hands, books with missing covers, covers with missing books and of course scores of socks that had lost their other halves for good.
As I cleared out my wardrobe I found myself holding full blown arguments with yours truly about why I should keep that orange blouse and how I might need that bag I never use someday. I had to detach myself emotionally to successfully declutter my home. Finally common sense won. But that wasn’t enough.
The clutter in my home had extended like a flowing river of junk into my mind, and that’s where I really got down! Where does one even start from when the need to calm the chaotic mind arises?
Have a reason to declutter
Without a compelling reason to declutter you won’t actually do it. A clear, open space and clarity of mind are required for creativity to flow. It helps us function at optimum levels.
Visible or invisible, clutter does the job of clogging our paths thereby slowing us down.
Create a plan
The clearing of mental clutter requires a deeper level of concentration as the stuff we’re dealing with isn’t tangible.
Grab a plain piece of paper or your journal and write. Writing is an effective approach to emptying the mind. In the same way that you empty out your wardrobe to separate the obsolete from the keepers, empty out your thoughts. Don’t hold back; write the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
This works particularly well in a space all by yourself, take a day out or even an overnight stay in a hotel will give you the freedom to be honest with yourself. You can declutter the various sections of your mind: health, relationships, career, finances and your spiritual life.
Decide what to keep
It goes without saying that anything negative should be tossed. This includes but is not restricted to grudges, anger, pain, bad habits and the likes.
There is a saying that goes ‘Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life’. Negativity in any form snuffs out the light in us.
In the same way that you’d toss out clothes that have ‘shrunk’, broken necklaces, or scuffed shoes, address and get rid of any emotions that don’t do you any good.
Close the door
I once worked in an office on the ground floor, right next to the front door was a large oak tree and every single time that door was opened, we got a gust of wind that was accompanied by dried leaves in every shade of brown. There are some doors that should be shut to prevent ill winds from blowing in.
Some of these doors are in the form of toxic relationships that just bring out the worst in you and email subscriptions with newsletters which you never read (or if you do read them it really doesn’t add an iota of positive information to your knowledge bank). Perhaps it is your activity on social media – Do you really need to read about the celebrity that cheated on his wife and left her for her mother? Or the bank manager that carelessly committed suicide in front of his cat, and what the cat did next?
I’m all for down time, but we would do well to keep our down time activities healthy and positive to avoid clutter in our minds.
Cultivate new interests
Now that you have emptied yourself of everything, handpick only the thoughts, memories and activities that you want to keep. You may also want to introduce new alternatives.
I recently introduced kale to my diet and at first it was bland and boring but I’ve found ways to
spice it up and I love it now!
An interest might seem like it’s not your thing from a distance but you may actually grow to love it.
Stop drifting by
Clutter tends to happen when we live by accident and anything goes. It is much better to live on purpose.
The benefits I have enjoyed so far from decluttering my mind have been creating more room for the important people in my life, feeling an increased desire to give rather than receive, and the freedom that comes with simplicity that allows me to make decisions a lot quicker – before I was rather indecisive.
I wish you well on your journey to the simple life!