So you’ve taken the first step in deciding to simplify your life.
Your plan of attack in creating an unbusy life will begin by decluttering your home.
But then the anxiety creeps in. You look around the room, and suddenly you realise how much crap you have accumulated. It could be 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years’ worth of stuff that you have held on to.
How on earth will you even begin such a monumental task? Or more importantly, where should you begin?
Maybe it’s too hard after all. Maybe it was a bad idea…
No, wait! Before you decide to throw in the towel and watch TV instead, let me give you some tips on how to get past the procrastination station and alleviate your anxiety and stress.
I, too, have been in this position and have felt the same way. It’s as though all of a sudden, the idea of living a less cluttered and more simplified life seems like a no-brainer and leaves you with a hatred for all the stuff you see around your home.
“What made me want to buy that thing in the first place? Did I seriously think I didn’t have enough stuff? That I needed more?”
Here are four ways that I get over the initial anxiety and stress that occurs before a major declutter session:
1. Baby steps: Yes, making the decision to live an unbusy life and declutter the home is a major one, but that doesn’t mean you need to start running before you learn how to walk. Think of the process as one that is made up of many hundreds of little baby steps. Simply tackling one drawer, or one cupboard, or one box is enough to begin your process. You will feel less stressed and confused, and taking one baby step will give you the confidence to continue forward (when you are ready).
2. More doing, less thinking: You may notice that a million thoughts run through your head during your declutter session: “What a waste of money this was”, “Oh but I might need this someday”, “But what if…” STOP! It takes a lot of will power to silence these thoughts, but try focusing on what you are doing, rather than on what you are thinking. Recognise that these thoughts are occurring as a way to talk you out of the wonderful changes that you are making. That’s the unfortunate job of our brains: to make us second guess ourselves!
3. Remember why: Why did you decide to become less busy? Why did you want to simplify your life? What will an unbusy life mean to you? Write your number one reason on a piece of paper and stick it on your fridge, or on your bathroom mirror. When you feel anxious about your journey, go to this piece of paper and read it out loud. Or begin a ritual of reading it every morning after breakfast, before you begin your day.
4. Deep breaths: Before you begin a decluttering session, sit down, close your eyes and take in a slow, deep breath. Hold your breath for 2 seconds- then release and breathe out. Repeat this process 5 times. If you like to meditate, then you could use this time to meditate for several minutes, to clear your mind of any “inner noise”, and to prepare yourself for the task ahead. But if meditation is not for you, the breathing exercise should be sufficient enough to alleviate stressful feelings.
Often our negative thoughts and beliefs can sabotage any great new ideas we are trying to implement. Procrastinating when it comes to decluttering is one such way that our crafty minds try to stop us from moving forward. Realise that this is quite common when beginning your journey to a less busy life.
Grab the bull by the horns, start your journey with small steps and know that every step of your journey has been experienced by most of us living a minimalist lifestyle.
Now go and get rid of that crap!