Mindset

how to declutter your mind

How To Declutter Your Mind And Dial Back Anxiety

Knowing how to declutter your mind when you feel stuck in life is an invaluable skill.

Who hasn’t felt uneasy, troubled, rejected, or generally just awash with angst at some point? It’s not uncommon to feel this way when one chapter of life is winding down (or has already ended) and the next one is yet to be determined. Or when things haven’t “gone our way”. Or even when we feel “on hold”, for example, during a worldwide pandemic! Now what?

Without a defined method to conquer our negative emotions and keep moving, they can overwhelm us and become our new story. We become paralyzed. Or passive, waiting and reacting to what happens next. 

Yet wouldn’t you rather be in charge? Actively pivoting into your next life chapter that you design?

Today, I’m sharing a “get unstuck” approach that helps push anxiety and it’s dubious counterparts out of the driver’s seat.

Learning how to declutter your mind is essential because your mood directly impacts your perspective.

You see, when we don’t have clarity, it’s difficult to have a vision for what we can do. And when we don’t know where we want to go next, it’s hard to move ahead with positivity, curiosity and confidence. 

So if you’d like to replace mental chaos with calm, come join me—let’s figure this out together, shall we?

This post shares 8 tips for how to declutter your mind so you can replace anxiety with serenity

feeling stuck
tirachard kumtano | pexels

1. Release Morning Thoughts

Ever notice how your mind starts churning once you’re out of bed? The crowded overlay of feelings when you wake up immediately dictates how your day’s mood is set (unless you’re stellar at burying and denying those feelings–which is not recommended). Sometimes, your mood is sublime. Other times, it’s a slog.

This is why taking 15 minutes or so to write down whatever is on your mind is the key to clearing out the morning mental clutter. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, introduced the term, “morning pages”. (There’s a video link below with Julia herself explaining the concept). It’s a brilliant way to do a brain dump first thing in the morning.

This is for your eyes only so be honest and go ahead: spill out whatever is on your mind. The point is to remove all random, heavy, or troubling thoughts and feelings. Just like phoning a friend, think about the relief when you give voice to what’s weighing on you.

Certainly, you can release some of the emotional clutter immediately by shining the light on it and seeing it for what it is … something to kick to the curb. Other parts you can decide to work through at another time, because they will take more time. Just not right now.

In this way, you clear your morning fog. Now you can step into a shiny new day, untarnished by what you may not have even realized will hold you back. Because our mood takes energy and who has any to spare on negativity?

If you prefer to capture your thoughts electronically like me (’cause I have atrocious penmanship!) check out what I use daily over here: 750 Words.

2. Choose a Daily Mantra

Not only do morning pages allow me to start my day in a more unruffled manner. They can also reveal a timely mantra, or reminder for how to keep negative feelings at bay.

When I realize that a particular concern is dominating my early morning thoughts, I can replace that negative whisper with a positive affirmation.

For example, when I’m feeling stressed about not getting everything done, a useful mantra for me is, “I’m right on schedule”.

Or, when I’m feeling cranky or out of sorts (for any number of reasons), “Lighten up!” does wonders for a reset. And I can thank my son who told me this when he was 10—wise words from a young boy!

Be open to “hearing” which mantras will sooth and reset your mind. Then repeat for maximum effect.

3. Pick Three Tasks

There can be a long list of things we need and want to do. The line items rarely fit within a standard day, right?

Now obviously, there are always non-negotiables like work, meals or showering. Those are a given.

But here I’m talking about identifying just 3 things that you will agree to complete. They don’t have to be massive. They are simply things that should be done at some point and you’ve selected them today.

At the end of the day, it will be satisfying to cross those off the list (I like to use a green marker but any color will do). Maybe it’s the laundry, decluttering the junk drawer (you know I had to work uncluttering in here somewhere!), or following up on an email or phone call. You choose. 

Whether big or small, accomplishments are another way for how to declutter your mind. They have a way of boosting your mood. And they get you out of your head.

how to declutter your life
shvets production | pexels

4. Be Fully Present

Now shift into your day. Release any thoughts or feelings that bring you down. Use your chosen mantra to focus on the here and now!

There is great beauty in the simple moments of the day. But it’s also easy to overlook them and take them for granted.

We get distracted with pesky worries. Or we divert attention to our screens. For more on the power of our attention, read this: A Clutter Free Home Starts With Reining In The Screen Time That Consumes Our Day.

Remember, your morning pages are your designated time to acknowledge what’s gnawing at you. Some of your concerns will dissipate, simply by looking at them and deciding they need to leave. Others will take more time to resolve. But that should occur in your future morning page sessions.

For now, give your mind a rest. You’ve cleared it so that you can engage fully in the present moments of today.

5. Get Physical

Studies confirm that physical activity has a profoundly positive impact on our mood. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or grueling. But as little as 30 minutes of movement definitely gets our endorphins flowing.

Now you may not feel the urge to move when your thoughts are weighing you down. But the best course of action is to not overthink this. Whatever your chosen activity is … walking, yoga, Pilates, or swimming … have a designated time for when you’ll do it. And then stop thinking and start doing.

After all, when we are mired in negative feelings, we are not the best judge of what will soothe us. We may think lounging on the couch and bingeing mindless shows or scrolling social media is all we have energy for … but yeah, not really. Save that for after you’ve done something physical. Use it as a reward, instead!

6. Watch and Listen for Signs

Now I’m a firm believer that there are clues in our everyday lives for how to declutter your mind and uncover your next course of action. We’re just not accustomed to noticing them.

This concept works in conjunction with #4, Being Fully Present. When we open ourselves up to the idea that we are not alone (even when it feels that way), we can embrace the idea that we do indeed have guides all around us.

You see, signs come in all shapes, sizes and forms. It could be something someone says. Or something you see out your window. Maybe something you read. Or a idea that comes to you while you’re driving. 

When we open ourselves up to receiving guidance, it comes. It may take time to recognize when it does, if we are not used to seeing it. Or if we are fixated on things unfolding in only one way.

But one of the most powerful signs we often receive first is to Simply Be. To let go of thrashing about for answers. Because the harder we push, the more elusive the signs become.

Guidance can’t be forced. So when things don’t turn out how we wanted or expected, the best thing we can do is Simply Be. To pause and leave the door open.  And then await patiently for what will arrive.

Believe me, patience is not my personal forte! But I’ve learned that my own timeline can have a slower cadence than I care for, at times. Yet therein I have found some of my most essential and life changing lessons. And the new directions that I headed in were even better than I envisioned.

decluttering your life
andrea piacquadio | pexels

7. Be Gentle With Yourself and Others

When we are hard on ourselves, it can often transfer to being hard on others, as well.

Perfectionism has a way of chiming in when anxiety strikes. We’re unhappy with feeling stuck and so we can be hypercritical of those in our circle.

Once again, your chosen mantra can shift your focus to the present moment. And then this is the time to pay attention to your breathing. Is it shallow? You might even find yourself holding your breath!

So pause. Take a deep breath through your nostrils and hold for 3 beats. Then breathe out through your mouth slowly. This practice helps ground you. And it helps you release the negative inner critic. 

Return to simply being in the present moment, open to possibilities that will appear. Because they will. 

8. Believe Something Good Is Coming

Above all, trust that you are on a good path. It may have taken an unexpected detour or led you to what appears to be a dead-end. 

But buying in to that belief only invites negativity. It blinds you to other possibilities. It holds you hostage and you’ll get stuck. 

However, when you adopt the habit of expecting something good will happen no matter the present turn of events, amazing things will happen.

Firstly, you can return sooner to a positive mood after the initial disappointment. When you feel optimistic, you’ll feel better.

Then when you treat a setback as temporary, it is easier to see signs or find solutions. Maybe even discover a new or better path!

Secondly, you develop resiliency. No one can foresee everything that might go sideways. And life can certainly excel with doling out the unexpected!

But knowing how to declutter your mind of disappointment and unmet expectations will allow you to bounce back quicker. It will make you stronger. It ensures you continue moving ahead, no matter what.

And thirdly, being receptive as opposed to being rigid when it comes to change is an invaluable trait to cultivate. After all, how we see things is just how things look from our own personal, limited perspective.

However, when we broaden our expectations to allow and entertain other possibilities and ideas, then we open up to being in the flow of life instead of resisting it.

Doesn’t that sound so much more effortless and exciting? I do … tell me what you think!

The Wrap With Mary V
mary v | kaitlin meyers photography

The Wrap: This Post provided an 8-Point Process for how to declutter your mind and step confidently into your future

  • Learn how to declutter your mind of negative feelings like disappointment, regret, fear, uncertainty or anxiety by identifying them and calling them out in your morning pages.
  • Embrace the “get unstuck” method described here to take control of how you react and deal with life’s twists and turns.
  • Expect good things to come your way so that you can see the signs around you and the possibilities ahead of you.

related topics & resources to explore

A Clutter Free Home Starts With Reining In The Screen Time That Consumes Our Day

Clutter free living sounds so delightful, don’t you think?

But getting there from where you are right now — does it feel insurmountable and out of reach? You’re not alone!

Achieving a clutter free home after years of living a full life can feel quite daunting. Who has time to undertake such a gigantic project? Yet this is exactly why so many of us get stuck before we even start: we think we don’t have the time to spare.

However, you may be surprised that an extra hour (or even more!) can actually be lurking somewhere in your day. The key is taking an honest look at how you spend your time.

In particular, there are certain habits … like the time spent in front of a screen … which quickly take us down a rabbit hole. Before we know it, 30 or 60 minutes have elapsed. Trust me, we are all guilty of this!

Whether it’s our phone, tablet, computer, or TV, these screens are designed to hijack our focus. After all, we live in an attention seeking society. Grabbing our attention and redirecting it is basic marketing and it’s been around forever, in some shape or form. (Don’t miss the link for The Social Dilemma in The Wrap section below!)

However, today let’s mindfully review the screen time activities that consume our precious time. Then we can see the value of setting boundaries with these habits. Using the newly found minutes, we can make daily progress towards attaining a clutter free home starting today, not “some day”!

Clutter Free
anna shvets | pexels

Today's Post Calls Out 4 Screen Time Habits to tame so you can achieve a Clutter Free Home (and mind)!

clutter free meaning
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: Social Media Scrolling

Firstly, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Clubhouse, each of these platforms is designed to capture and hold your attention.

It’s not unlike college life where there was always a party somewhere, or a group of friends just hanging out. Who wants to miss out on something fun?

And the concept of “followers” or “friends” who engage with and/or share your posts is a powerful boost for your self-esteem. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling popular, wise, funny, interesting, or attractive?

With social media, there’s always something to see, to hear, or to chime in on. Maybe you check in while you’re sipping your morning coffee. Or perhaps you pop on every time you’re waiting for something, or you catch up in between other things you’re doing. So you’re actually on it all day long, right?

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s definitely an upside to social media. You can stay in touch with geographically distant family and friends. You can make new friends all over the world and forge new career or hobby connections. And don’t forget the entertainment angle, either!

Yet sometimes before you know it, an hour (or two) has passed while you’ve been scrolling and chatting—yikes! Do you really know how much time you’re spending on social media? It might be an eye-opening discovery!

We’ll go deeper with how our time is used so hang tight for now.

making space clutter free
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: Phone Notifications

Secondly, our phones have many clever ways to grab and retain our focus, too.

It could be an actual call, a text, an email, a voice message, or a social media post. Each of these announcements can be customized so we know what is happening, just by the sound of the update. Or we get visual notifications with persistent banners or popups.

And do you feel uneasy when you don’t know where your phone is? Or do you feel anxious when your battery life is at a minimum? There’s that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) creeping in again!

Also, ever notice how people waiting seem to have their heads down? We’re all looking at our phones instead of simply enjoying the pause of the present moment or engaging with someone next to us. 

What would happen if we didn’t instantly pick up our phone every time it chirped or vibrated? I wonder how much better our necks would feel!  

how to live clutter free
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: E-Mail

Thirdly checking, reading, and replying to email is a never-ending spiral. It can feel like a full time job to delete spam, let alone plow through endless news updates, sale notifications from merchants, and appointment or bill reminders.

I don’t know about you, but it feels like my snail (physical) mail has substantially decreased while my email has exponentially increased! Yet how much of our email truly needs to be addressed the minute it arrives?

I come across many valuable newsletters and online magazines that focus on current events, healthy habits, or tasty recipes. It’s hard not to sign up for them all.

But how many can I realistically read daily? If I read them all, will the remainder of my day start at noon?!

clutter free mind
snacksinthebackpack | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: TV & Streaming

Lastly, the plethora of shows and series available on network TV, cable, or streaming services is mind boggling. Once again, we are presented with an overflowing media menu. As with the other screen challenges mentioned, it’s hard to tear ourselves away from what’s before our eyes.

And after a year of social distancing, who didn’t turn to TV for some virtual “connection” with the rest of the world? It may have been mindless pleasure or educational documentaries. But either way, it was a passive block of time on the couch. Then before you know it, it was time for bed (or way past our normal turn-in time)!

clutter free home

How To Set Screen Boundaries

Now that we realize how our screen time can truly overtake our day(and maybe even our night), here are 7 suggestions to control and unclutter the way you use your time.

1. Start with Time Blocking

Each of us has 24 hours every day, so think about what absolutely needs to occur without fail. It will be a slightly different list for each of us.

Diane may need:

  • 6 hours of sleep, 1 hour for morning prep (shower/makeup/coffee, etc.), 8 hours at work, 2 hours for meal prep/eating/cleanup, 1 hour for Pilates/ 1 hour for night prep (19 hours total, leaving 5 spare hours)

Linda may require:

  • 8 hours of sleep, 30 minutes for morning prep, 2 hours to volunteer/ 1 hour at the YMCA, 2 hours for meal prep/eating/cleanup, 30 minutes for night prep (14 hours total, leaving 10 spare hours) 

The point is, we all have non-negotiable daily activities. But we still have spare hours to fill as we see fit. There will be other activities that are also important, but they’re not everyday occurrences.  Think health care appointments, grocery runs, etc. 

So how you spend your remaining time is completely up to you. It will vary, but when you have 1 or 3 or 5 unclaimed hours in a day, how will you choose to use them?

When you time block your day or week, you can see exactly how much time you have. Now you can make informed, deliberate choices, based on the time available and on what matters most to you.

2. Track your Screen Time

Be willing to calculate how much screen time you truly employ. To be clear, if it’s one of your top priorities, then carry on. But if it’s preventing you from doing something else that matters more to you, then consider making a change.

Ironically, there are apps you can use to track your phone usage! Check out the roundup of resources here: Best Phone Usage Tracker Apps. Or simply use your phone timer/alarm to monitor usage … you choose!

Certainly, a little vegging out with Netflix now and then can be a well-deserved break! But generally aligning your actions with your values and goals gives true satisfaction in the long run, don’t you think? Fewer regrets!

3. Turn Off [Almost Every] Notification

Not to be dramatic, but is it necessary to stop what you’re doing, every time you hear a social media notification? If you turn them on at only a pre-determined time, you can catch up then. Or don’t have them on at all. Just see what the platform shows you when it’s your designated screen time.

On the other hand, keep your phone or text notifications on, if you’re concerned about missing an urgent call from a family member or dear friend. In fact, if you assign a unique ringtone to those in your “inner circle”, you can choose to ignore all the rest until you have the time to shift your attention.

4. Keep Screens out of the Bedroom

Reserving your bedroom for sleep or romance is a long-standing feng shui principle. Personally, I do like to read a bit before I turn out the light. But both my phone and the TV are not allowed over the threshold.

Interestingly, the light emanating from electronic screens is challenging for our sleep patterns, as shared in this study from Harvard: Blue Light Has A Dark Side.

5. Use Airplane Mode

I’ve also learned how useful airplane mode can be, even when I’m not flying. When I need all my concentration for a task at hand, turning this on is an ingenious way to minimize interruptions.

I could try to simply ignore the audible notifications, but just hearing them can still be a distraction for my train of thought.

6. Choose Active Over Passive

Having a healthy balance with daily activities makes sense. Lots of screen time means lots of sitting. Sure, you may be interacting in a virtual conversation. But a sedentary day does not bode well for our physical, mental, and emotional well being.

Instead, carving out time for decluttering definitely does wonders as shared in this post: Decluttering Your Life Is Essential for 3 Surprising Reasons!

To be clear, we are talking about changing habits. So it’s going to be a little unsettling to do so. But you will be amazed with how much fuller your day feels, when you are not tethered to your screen! So give yourself time to make the shift … it’s so worth it!

7. Consumer versus Creator

Lastly, I alluded to the pervasive marketing that infiltrates many of our screen activities. Particularly with social media, the longer you scroll, do you feel a disconnect between what you see and what your life is like? 

Not surprisingly, the carefully curated content on social media can often lead to feeling “less than” or “not enough”. It can even have us thinking if we just bought that outfit or beauty product, our life would be better. So much for clutter free living when we feel compelled to buy more stuff!

Now maybe you don’t always succumb to the comparison game (which no one wins) or you aren’t always swayed by the siren song to buy more things. But instead of viewing all the things you could spend money on, wouldn’t you be better off focused on what’s all around you right now?

In other words, how about performing the physical activities that strengthen your body and clear your head? Or spending time in nature? Or engaging in real life with family and friends?

So yes, when you reduce your screen time, you can uncover spare time you didn’t realize you had all along. You can make headway with your clutter free mission. And in doing so, you can go deep with what matters most— to you!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V

The Wrap: This Post Shared the 4 common culprits which divert time away from making a home (& our head) clutter free!

  • Take time to figure out what matters most for your daily routine
  • Be deliberate with how you spend your discretionary time
  • Restrict the constant call of consumerism
  • Set yourself free: Watch The Social Dilemma

Downsizing Your Home|How to Manage the Transition with Confidence and Joy!

When you reach the midlife marker, you’ll likely benefit from preparing to move into a smaller space. Who’s still in the house has changed and the same goes for your needs and interests. In fact, downsizing your home can truly amplify the freedom to focus on what matters most to you now! 

But if the thought of an actual move and all the decisions associated with that makes you exhausted before you’ve even started, now what? Do you put it off, delaying until you’re forced to take action? That doesn’t sound too pleasant, either!

The truth is, it’s universal to resist change. Yet if we don’t start the downsizing process sooner than later, it will result in making endless decisions under duress, during a very short period of time.

If you’re unable to make uncluttering choices, others will have to do it for you. Either paid professionals will sort through your personal belongings or your own family will need to shoulder the task. Is that the ideal legacy you envision leaving behind?

To be clear, downsizing your home requires effort and time. However, this is exactly why starting now will position you so much better for how you want your next life chapter to unfold. You have the final word with what happens with your stuff and also where you land. And really, isn’t having control what we all want to retain? 

Today's post shares 9 vital steps that facilitate the process of downsizing your home

how to downsize your home
moose | pexels

#1: The Power of Now

While all of the steps shared here are important, they don’t need to be performed in any particular order … except for this one. Until you start, downsizing your home will be just a good idea for “some day”. And the only way to turn “some day” into “today” is by taking action now.

Why is it difficult to begin? There are any number of reasons for dragging your feet, but it’s usually our feelings that play a primary role: It feels overwhelming. It feels sad. Maybe it feels like work when you’d rather play. Everything entailed with downsizing your home can feel like all of this at once, yikes!

Nevertheless, what’s the most common reason for resistance? We feel like it’s too soon — that we have time. And while that could very well be true, exactly how much time do you have: is it 1 year, 5 years or 20 years? It’s really a guessing game, don’t you think? 

When you realize this, starting now begins to make a lot of sense. And the best way to embrace a new routine is by taking small, deliberate steps. After reading this post, why not spend 15-20 minutes on creating a basic downsizing plan for yourself? Start with a list of the benefits you will realize as a result. And keep tweaking your plan as you hone in on what makes sense for you. Doesn’t it feel good to be in charge of your next chapter?

#2: Declutter Daily

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know this one is near and dear to my heart! Decluttering is an incredible vehicle for releasing what is no longer relevant now. It opens up space between your essentials.

And obviously, the nature of downsizing is that your new place will have less square footage. But that’s only in regards to physical stuff. Downsizing your home actually makes room for the time and energy to focus on what matters now. So yes, it’s an expansive activity, when you think about it!

Also, keep in mind that your decluttering sessions don’t have to be all day affairs. 30 minutes a day can make significant inroads with letting go of extra, expired, no-longer-needed stuff. In fact, removing clutter facilitates space planning for your new landing spot, too! 

Refer to this post for what not to haul to your new digs: Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space.

#3: Design Your Next Chapter

After years of tending to the needs of others … our employers, our families, and our communities … now is the time to contemplate what you want to do more of! How exciting is that?

Now don’t get me wrong: the life choices made were (hopefully) quite deliberate and satisfying. And of course, you’ve carved out some “me time” along the way. But that time can likely start to double or triple once you’re over 50.

It may feel strange to contemplate spending more time in a different way, going deeper with what interests you now. But as you clear space in your home, you can begin to envision what you’d like to explore that you didn’t have the time for, until now. And if you’re married or with a life partner, there will be the opportunity to discover new mutual activities, as well!

Check out this post for more concepts about shifting into your next life chapter: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! 

when is a good time to downsize your home
cottonbro | pexels

#4: Research Your Options

This is a step that calls for a way to gather ideas about where you’d like to live and how you see that space accommodating your new chapter’s activities. Nothing fancy is needed: an old school notebook, a Pinterest board, or a folder on your computer all work fine. 

Without a doubt, there are an infinite number of places where you could land. It could very well be a stepping stone for yet another downsizing move, as your needs change with age. So think about what would realistically meet your needs and desires for the next 10-20 years. And then go deeper to see where those options are, within the geographic radius you’ve set. Road trip, anyone? 

#5: Documents & Vital Records

Now you may already be super organized with your personal records. But it never hurts to revisit financial and health documents to ensure they are up-to-date and accessible when needed.

Where are you at with the following basic records:

  • A will
  • An Advanced Health Care Initiative (AHCI)
  • An appointed executor for your estate
  • Specific written bequeaths (or have you only expressed your wishes verbally? Is everyone on the same page?)
  • A list of current medications/dosages
  • A list of current physicians
  • Power of Attorney (general or specific)
  • A list of current creditors and account numbers
  • A list of current assets with account numbers

Annually reviewing your vital records will help you and your representative make smooth decisions that reflect your wishes and best interests.

Head here for more intel on the essential health and financial documents which express your wishes when you are unable to communicate them yourself: Caregiver.org resources.

#6: Communicate Your Vision

Once you’ve verified that your financial and health care documentation is in order, who needs to know? Whoever will be acting on your behalf should be kept in the loop.

Certainly, not all details need to be disclosed ahead of time, such as exact account balances. But access to the documentation when needed is crucial so that your wishes can be carried out. Leaving behind an orderly legacy means you will not be passing along an unnecessary burden to your loved ones.

If the conversation feels awkward or difficult, you could handle it as simply as a sealed envelope with the instructions to open in the event of catastrophic illness (you are not conscious or able to make decisions) or death. Or keep it in a home safe but share the combination with your appointed “go-to” person.

I know, talking about end-of-life decisions is not a cheerful or easy topic! However, if you have certain desires for medical care, estate distribution and your funeral/life celebration, you need to relay your wishes.

Sometimes, people think, “It doesn’t matter once I’m gone”, but it does to whoever needs to make those decisions on your behalf. Why not make the process clear? And in doing so, it’s also an opportunity for you to reflect on your own life and how you want to be remembered.

the unexpected benefits of downsizing your home
gary barnes | pexels

#7: Honor Your Past

To be clear, downsizing your home means releasing stuff that once mattered. So it can feel a little disrespectful of where you’ve been and who was there with you.

Indeed, it takes time to embrace the idea that a life chapter has ended. But what if you viewed the process as a time to appreciate your journey thus far? And now it’s time for a new chapter to unfold … and you get to be the author, so start drafting your vision!

As a matter of fact, this approach is known as “Döstädning”, or “Swedish Death Cleaning”. It transforms downsizing and decluttering into a positive process to chart your next move. For more, check out this post: Swedish Death Cleaning: A Savvy Celebration of Life.

Ultimately, our personal belongings are merely representations of our journey and the people who were with us along the way. Yes, some of the memories can fade over time. But the love always remains.

#8: Accept Change Gracefully

Undoubtedly, change is not always a welcome visitor at our door! When we feel content with the status quo, having it disrupted is unpleasant. But ignoring or resisting change doesn’t keep it at bay, does it?

If you think about it, lack of control and fear of the unknown seem to be the common culprits for why we oppose change. Yet we do have power: we can control our outlook, our attitude and our response to the twists and turns of our life journey. 

In other words, knowing that change is inevitable, we can proactively take steps to acknowledge it but on our own terms! That’s where downsizing comes into play. We know that an overly large home and too much unused stuff in it doesn’t support our current or future needs. When we plan for our next smaller space, we control where and what it will be. 

#9: Embrace Your Journey

Lastly, we don’t know exactly what our future holds, do we? But it certainly feels better to remain upbeat and optimistic. And this includes making realistic housing choices for where we are now and where we want to be.

Not everything has to be super-sized when it comes to our material possessions. Imagine if we focused on supersizing our next life chapter instead? What would make you eager to jump out of bed each morning? How can you share your talents, interests and abilities now? What will bring you joy? How can you make a difference today, with your wisdom and experience thus far?

When you think about life in these terms, you’ll continue to appreciate your unique path. And that sounds like a very full life to me, what do you think?

The Wrap: This post reviewed 9 tips that ensure downsizing your home gets going in a timely and effective manner

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V | Shift Your Stories
  •  Downsizing the family home doesn’t have to be a downer when you view it as a liberating step leading to your next life chapter!
  • Decluttering paves the way to designing a new space with what matters now … here’s any easy way to do it—> A Decluttering Checklist for Better Living Today, Not “Some Day”!
  • Take control and define where you want to land next by starting now!
How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some amount of stuff they no longer need, use, or want. A full life contributes to excess things in the house. But when it comes time to do something about it, where to start? What to release? What to keep? Sell or donate or toss? So many questions! Indeed, how to start decluttering when overwhelmed is a universal question to answer so we can get it done!

But stick with me to get unstuck! Just like any resolution, project or goal, creating a game plan for how to get it done is essential.

Having a basic decluttering plan is like having a map to plot how you’re going to drive from Point A to Point B. When the distance between the two is far, knowing when and where you’ll stop to rest and refuel along the way is critical. It prevents running out of gas on a couple of levels! And taking your time instead of speeding allows you to admire the scenery along the way. 

Similarly, accumulating stuff in your home didn’t happen in a day or a weekend. So it’s going to take time to sort things out. While you’re decluttering, emotions will arise … some good, some not-so-good. This is why pausing to process your feelings lets you appreciate the people, places and events represented by your stuff. Then you can release the excess without regret as you clear space for a new life chapter!

Shall we get started?

How to start decluttering when overwhelmed
pixabay | pexels

Today's post provides a step-by-step plan for how to start decluttering when overwhelmed so you can clear space with confidence and joy!

how to start decluttering when overwhelmed
ivan samkov | pexels

Step 1: Begin with "Why"

Everyone who contemplates decluttering has the same primary goal: less stuff, more space. But from there, we each have a unique set of secondary reasons for what we want, need, or hope will happen. 

For example, Stephanie wants to clear space for an art room in her home. It’s been too long since she’s had time to pick up a brush or her sketchbook. She needs a dedicated space for painting. Hauling out her supplies from the basement, setting up her easel in the family room, and then taking it all down again is tiresome. She hopes to create pastel images of her worldwide travels. She envisions creating a greeting card collection to raffle off at her annual church fundraiser. This is Stephanie’s personal “why”.

What’s your “why”? Close your eyes and ask yourself, ” What could and would I do if I had less stuff to deal with and maintain?” “What interests me that I’m not doing now?” “What would make me eager to get out of bed each morning?” Honor what your heart tells you and write that down.

By defining exactly what decluttering will do for you, you create a powerful reminder to continue making room for your personal goals. Then when your resolve is faltering, your “why” will bolster your commitment to decluttering for what matters most to you now … not 5, 10 or more years ago!

Step 2: Create A Look Book

Next, gather images of how you’d love your space to appear. There’s nothing like a beautiful visual to keep you on track when you’re not quite feeling the decluttering vibe.

But do keep in mind: creating a collection of inspiration shouldn’t turn into a whole other major project. The main goal is to focus on clearing space in your actual house, not on curating an imaginary home!

   So keep it simple with the approach that suits you. For instance, creating a Pinterest board is one way. Constructing a vision board with magazine clippings is another. Or compiling a dropbox or folder on your computer works, too. In fact, even taping an image of your ideal room in each of your rooms could do the trick, too … you choose!

Step 3: Pick A Room

Now, decide where you’re going to begin decluttering. If you’re like most people, there’s likely excess stuff in every room. But my suggestion is to pick a room that you have to spend time in every day. And start in the smallest room to achieve the quickest results.

The reason is this: the sooner you declutter that room, the more noticeable the improvement will be, since you’re in there frequently. And the sooner you feel the positive impact, the more encouraged you will be to keep going!

So consider the kitchen, the bedroom or the bathroom. It’s pretty hard to avoid those areas, don’t you think? I mean, we have to eat, we have to sleep and we have to ___ … you get the idea! That’s why they will give you the quickest and biggest boost when you’re not sure how to start decluttering when overwhelmed. 

decluttering tips
karolina grabowska | pexels

Step 4: Keep It "Easy"

Once you’ve landed on your first designated room, begin with the surface areas. Then move on to drawers, cabinets and closets. As you clear cluttered counters and remove stuff stacked on the floor, use a simple 3-bin sorting system: “toss”, “donate” or “keep”.

Firstly, anything broken, expired or missing parts constitutes “trash” so pitch those items. No one needs stuff that doesn’t work any more.

Secondly, serviceable items you no longer need or use get set aside and go right in your car trunk for a donation run. If a pickup is possible, stage the items in one room or your garage and then call the charity of your choice to come get the goodies! Refer to this post for the easiest ways to donate wardrobe contents: Donating Old Clothes & Recycling Textiles | Repurposing for A Better Planet!

Thirdly, stuff you need and use either stays or gets relocated to the proper shelf/drawer/room when your decluttering session is done. Ending each decluttering session with putting things back where they belong has the added bonus of reinforcing this habit … sneaky yet effective, no?

If you feel uncertain just deciding what things belong in each category, no worries! You can adopt a universal definition of clutter for your space clearing here: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

Step 5: Keep It Short

Also, set an alert on your phone for how long your session will last. It may be tempting to go all in on a marathon session. Certainly, that’s up to you!

However, keeping the sessions at less than an hour but increasing the frequency of those sessions tends to solidify your new habit of decluttering. 

Again, you decide what fits best with your calendar. There will be sessions that take more effort to start, depending on your mood. When you’re “not feeling it”, refer back to your “why” statement. Then stop overthinking and start doing. You’ll be glad you did it!

Step 6: Track Your Effort

Now keeping a decluttering log may seem like yet one more thing to do. But it doesn’t have to be onerous or time-consuming. The point is simply to track evidence of your results.

We can forget just how much we’ve accomplished if we don’t have a record of what we’ve done. So do this however you like: pictures of the boxes or even the actual contents cleared; a notebook with a list of decluttered items; or a tally of how many items or boxes have left the home. 

Then, when you’re feeling demotivated or discouraged with how much more there is to unclutter, take a look at what you’ve done so far. Evidence of progress is a fabulous way to keep going forward! 

making space clutter free
daniel reche | pexels

Step 7: Identify The Emotion

Without a doubt, you’re going to get sidelined with emotions as you consider letting go certain items. Sentimental or inherited things from those we love are the very hardest to release!

When guilt, worry, or regret start creeping in, it’s time to pause. Recognize the emotion and take a few breaths to center yourself. It’s universal to feel like we are dishonoring our family if we choose to not keep each and every single thing they gave us.

But if you know in your heart that you don’t need, use or truly want the stuff … if it’s sitting idle in a box or gathering dust in a closet … what’s the point of that? 

Wouldn’t you agree your loved ones did not intend to pass along guilt or worry to you? Instead, remind yourself that the item was given to make you happy. So close your eyes and feel that love.

Keep the love. Release the item.

 Let it go so that someone who will actually appreciate, use and enjoy the item can have it! Because your house is a home, not a museum.

Step 8: Reset Your Inner Voice

In order to continue uncluttering, having a few meaningful mantras can truly set us free. We’re digging into things that bring up memories or associations with times we felt “less than”. There’s a reason we’ve clung to the excess stuff we have. But now, when the reason is no longer (or maybe never) valid, it’s time for logic to prevail.

If your little voice whispers, “But I paid so much for this!” substitute, “This isn’t my style!” Or when you’re hearing, “What if I need this someday?”  then replace that with, “If I need more, I will get more!”

Sometimes, sifting through stuff will remind us of when we missed the mark, got off track, or made a decision we regret. Now what? It’s time to forgive ourselves, that’s what! It’s time to encourage ourselves: “Now I know better!” Or say,  “I did the best I could!” 

After all, we are only human. Part of our journey is learning lessons along the way. And then moving on. It’s time, don’t you think?

Step 9: Believe in Yourself

Above all, know that you can do this! You have the power within to pursue your goals and dreams, no matter how big they are. The key is to break them down into manageable chunks.

Instead of getting ahead of ourselves and comparing where we are right now to where we want to be, focus only on your next step. Then the next one after that. And so on.

Comparison is a sure-fire way to feel demotivated and overwhelmed. So the value of the decluttering plan I’ve laid out is that you work it one day at a time. Focus on your end goal as a source of inspiration, not as a lofty out-of-reach wish. 

In fact, realize that your decluttering journey is truly an opportunity to review where you’ve been. It will reveal where you want to head next. With patience for the process and love for yourself, you’ve going to arrive where you want to be! Now doesn’t that sound like something worth doing? 

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V

The Wrap: This Post Shared a 9-Point PLan for how to start decluttering when overwhelmed so you can clear space for a new life chapter!

  • Learn how to start decluttering when overwhelmed by following this simple yet powerful process.
  • Take time to capture your “why”: understand what you personally need, want and hope to achieve by uncluttering your home.
  • Treat yourself gently and lovingly on your decluttering journey.
  • Know that you can do this … I believe in you!
Motivation to Declutter

Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools to Get Going & Keep Going (Even When You’re Not Always Feeling It!)

Uncluttering may be one of your 2021 resolutions, but with the year half over (gulp) have you actually felt full-on motivation to declutter?

Or is it one of those annual goals you just can’t seem to completely execute, no matter how much sense it makes?

Just like anything that’s “good” for us … drinking more water (and less wine!), dropping some pounds, walking a few more steps, or scrolling less on social media … these goals remain out of reach without consistent follow through.

But trust me: the motivation to clear space (or to do whatever is on your list) is actually within you … really!

Without a doubt, everyone falters at some point. We get distracted, bored, indecisive, or just plain tired of what we need or even want to do. But don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up. Instead, let’s do this together!

I’m here to help, so today, let’s begin with unpacking five fabulous tools which I promise will get you in motion and get your clutter out the door!

And as a bonus, I’ve got a link at the end of this post to 5 FREE tool printables and then  you can start your space clearing journey today!

motivation to declutter
godisable jacob | pexels

Today's post provides 5 terrific tools that unleash your motivation to declutter so you can get this done!

How to Get Motivated to Declutter your House
leah kelley | pexels

Tool #1: A Charter For Your Motivation To Declutter

The best place to start is by asking yourself this initial question: “What’s my motivation to declutter?”

Now I can almost see you blink and hear you say, “Wait, what? Isn’t it obvious? I’ve got too much stuff!”

Well, yes! Certainly, one of the end goals is the same for all of us: less stuff, more space. But it’s our “why” that is unique for what drives each one of us to yearn for clearer space in our homes.

Therefore, creating a “Charter”, or vision, for how you want your home to look and feel is important. And because our homes are truly a reflection of ourselves, what you really want to focus on is yourself!

Complete 3 statements which form the basis of your Charter

             -> I need to declutter my home because…

             -> I want to declutter my home because….

             -> I hope to free up time/money/space so that I can…

For example, consider Janet, who is habitually late for everything. She struggles to get out the door because she’s never quite sure where her keys, her sunglasses, or sometimes even her phone have landed. She rarely entertains because her house is perpetually messy.

Her motivation to declutter is organization. The statements she jots down may sounds something like “I need to declutter because I’m constantly trying to find things. I want to declutter because I’d like to have friends over for dinner but I’m embarrassed they’ll see how chaotic my kitchen is. I hope to free up time so I’m not feeling anxious on a daily basis because I’m always behind.”

When Janet glances at her decluttering Charter, it incentivizes her to get started. In other words, it breaks the general goal down into deeply personal, specific desires which resonate with her. It fortifies her to keep going. That’s the power of a personal decluttering Charter! 

Also, know that a personal Charter is a for-your-eyes-only statement.  It’s the ammunition for why decluttering matters to you alone. So be honest with yourself: How do you want to feel? What do you truly want to achieve and why? The answers will help set you free!

Motivation to Declutter House
keira burton | pexels

Tool #2: A Tracker For Your Decluttering Mood

Now, create short opening and closing rituals for your decluttering session by capturing your current mood.

Feelings often dictate what our next action will be. So if you’re feeling anxious, distracted, lethargic, or any other number of negative emotions, your decluttering session could be in jeopardy!

Simply jot down a couple of words, a smiley face, or a frowny image to reflect your beginning state of mind. If you’re not in an upbeat mood, add a few words to explain what’s bothering you. Then “park” your concerns here. Tell yourself that you will set aside time to address what’s gnawing at you (and be sure to follow through).

Even when you don’t have a solution to your worries, just acknowledging what’s weighing on your mind is surprisingly helpful for lightening your mood. And now your decluttering session will be much more productive, too! 

When you’re done, give yourself a star for powering on! You’ll feel accomplished after most sessions. Oh, there will occasional stints which are emotionally difficult when you are sorting through sentimental stuff. Take time to process those feelings. Guilt is one of the most common emotional demons to descend!

Just remember that your possessions are merely symbols of people, places, and events you’ve experienced. Releasing the things in no way dishonors who and what you love.

Keep the love. Release the no-longer-needed stuff.

motivating yourself to declutter
andrea pacquiadio | pexels

Tool #3: A Summary Of Your Decluttering Accomplishments

Next, document which room you worked in and what stuff you released.

As time goes by, you will be amazed with what you’ve accomplished. Even just 20-30 minutes a day will yield noticeable results. One drawer, one shelf, or one cabinet cleared at a time gets you closer to your decluttering goals. 

Seeing your efforts in black and white solidifies the progress you’re making. Which makes continuing so much easier. How can you stop now!

In fact, you may even choose to reward yourself along the way, as you achieve certain milestones. For example, every 30 days of decluttering or each time an entire room is cleared, indulge in a small pleasure like fresh flowers or a scheduled massage. You earned it!

By the way, if you’re feeling a little fuzzy about what’s true clutter in your home, this post will help you see things with new eyes: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

How to declutter your mind
andrea pacquiadio | pexels

Tool #4: A List of Your Decluttering revelations

Meanwhile, as your list of decluttering accomplishments grows, pause to review what kind of stuff you’ve kept.

Is it a little eye opening to see what you’re releasing? Are you taken aback with what you’ve amassed? Join the club! 

Many of us are thinking, “How did I end up with so many __?” or, “I don’t wear most of what’s in my closet!” and even, “I have organizers but I’m not really organized!” Indeed, seeing exactly what we have a habit of overbuying or stashing away is the real epiphany for all of us.

Once we acknowledge our own clutter habits, it becomes so much easier to continue releasing what we truly don’t need or use any more. And this enables us to shift our behavior, as well.

Now, we can be more mindful with what comes in the door. Especially since we declared in our Charter what we hope to accomplish with our decluttering efforts!

At any point if you get stuck with the decluttering process, this post will gently but firmly get you back on track: How to Start (and Continue) Decluttering When Overwhelmed.

how to motivate yourself to declutter
keira burton | pexels

Tool #5: A Roundup of Personal Decluttering Mantras

Lastly, when the going gets hard … and it will happen from time to time … having a few key reminders will fortify when we get stalled.

When you are faltering with your “keep or release” decisions, that hesitation is usually a sign that the item does need to go. And you know it deep down, as well. However, there is an underlying emotion which is holding you back. This is the critical time to pause and identify what you’re feeling so that you can let the item go anyway!

For instance, is Guilt the culprit for too much stuff in your wardrobe? Use the mantra, “This isn’t my style any more”. If it’s Disappointment that’s holding you back from releasing things from a relationship that went south, try a mantra like, “I did the best I could at the time”. Whatever negative emotion is at play, remind yourself, “Now I know better!” Doesn’t that feel better? 

In other words, give yourself grace to start over over. Forgive yourself for past actions and decisions. Or as I like to say, “Shift your stories!” Life is like a book of chapters and you as the author can turn the page and write a new one!

With this realization, your motivation to declutter is sure to be front and center as you look forward to where you want to head next!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V | Shift Your Stories

Today's Post was all about uncovering the motivation to declutter by using 5 powerful tools so you can clear space like a boss!

If decluttering was easy, we’d all have perfectly uncluttered homes right now!

  • Overcoming inertia is the biggest obstacle to getting started. 
  • Creating a systemized approach which captures your needs, wants and dreams will keep you going.
  • Acknowledging your feelings and countering the negative emotions with positive affirmations will shift you to where you want to be!

Are you ready? Grab your free printables here!

clutter

Clutter: Control What Creeps Back in Your Home Using These 7 Savvy Strategies

Shut the Door on New Clutter!

As clutter gets kicked to the curb, your home will start to look and feel different. More spacious, open, and airy. But maybe it seems a bit bare, which is unfamiliar, if you’ve had a lot of stuff for a long time. Now what happens next?

Well, if you’re not careful, you may start to stock up again! Your half-full closet beckons you to add a few more tops. An end-of-season sale entices you to pick up new bedsheets. Or Amazon Prime Day ads convince you to shop for Christmas in June. Uh-oh, here comes the clutter!

How do you resist the habit of amassing clutter yet again? The key is to form new shopping habits which replace your old ones! 

clutter
image by jeremias oliveira from Pexels

Today's Post Provides 7 Smart Habits To Adopt Which Protect Your Home From Bulging with Clutter All Over Again!

clutter-free meaning
image by monstera from pexels

Habit #1: Get Comfortable Living With Less

It required effort to pare down your things. It also takes time to adjust to a more minimalist decor and wardrobe.

Seeing space in your closet, pantry, or bookcase will be a “new normal” for many. So often, when we discover something that we like, we automatically stock up on more. Find a navy sweater that fits well? Great! Why not get it in red and in beige, too?

No wonder we end up overpacking for vacations: we have too many clothing options! Decision fatigue is real!

And over-abundance applies to other rooms, too. For example, consider your living room. Perhaps you cleared out dozens of knickknacks and books which accumulated over the years. Naturally, your space will look a little empty at first.

But give yourself some time to appreciate the clarity and simplicity of displaying only your favorite things. Now they can really pop when they are on display, front and center!

Remind yourself what constitutes clutter. In fact, here’s a refresher to keep things clear: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

Then observe a 30-day retail shopping ban on all non-essentials. During that time, appreciate the beauty of less: less running around, less dusting, less spending, and less chaos.

And then feel the value of more: more space, more clarity, and more freedom.

clutter meaning
image by cottonbro from pexels

Habit #2: Stick To Your Shopping List

Creating a plan keeps us on track. Whether on your phone or an old school piece of paper, have a plan before heading to the store. Without a strategy, it’s easy to succumb to whatever catches our eye.

Grocery shopping? Take a few minutes to create a meal plan for the week. Shop your kitchen inventory first to ensure you actually use what’s there. This avoids pantry clutter.

Clothes shopping? Review what you have now to ensure you don’t buy duplicates. Keep your current lifestyle in mind. Otherwise, it’s oh-so-easy to succumb to an on-trend outfit that will rarely make it out of your closet.

Clearly, a shopping list is like a map: it provides direction to keep you heading where you want to be!

clutter storage
image by liza summer from pexels

Habit #3: One In, One Out

Donating or tossing out an old item whenever a new one is purchased is fundamental to keeping your home streamlined and clutter free.

Do you find yourself hesitating to release your existing jacket/book/lamp? Maybe it means you don’t need the new one. Perhaps you’re just feeling tired of the current item. Having a new one would feel exciting. I get that, really!

Or, it could mean the old one served you well and so you’re a little sad to let it go. I get that, too. Just take time to figure out if you truly need both.

Ask yourself, “Will I continue to use both of these? Will having more than one make sense and make my life easier?” If the answer is “yes” to either question, keep ’em both. If not? Let the old one go!

Fewer choices can be liberating, but so can the convenience of having a few more things, if it saves you time or if it involves things that you use frequently. 

In other words, pause to figure out which option matters more!

making space clutter free
image by andrea piacquadio from pexels

Habit #4: Beware Of Shiny Object Syndrome

Window shopping is both pleasurable and dangerous! “Just looking” can quickly morph into an unplanned purchase.

Whether you’re strolling at the mall or browsing online, the temptation to buy is real. Unless you have incredible self-control, it’s difficult to distinguish between true “need” and “want”!

So consider avoiding situations that may compromise your intentions and your wallet. Only carry your debit card or cash when you’re out for lunch and shopping with friends, to avoid the unintended purchases.

Also, create Pinterest boards for things that catch your eye. Just saving those images can be a substitute for the endorphin rush of actually buying something new.

Above all, be mindful of your expenditures. Keeping track of where your money goes can be very revealing.

Because knowing what your retail weaknesses are is the first step towards stopping new clutter in its tracks!

how to reduce clutter in your home
image by andrea piacquadio from pexels

Habit #5: Be Mindful Of The Internet

Ads appear everywhere when we surf the ‘Net, Facebook, or Instagram. We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages to buy!

Anything you looked at on the Internet  gets tracked with cookies. Then those items “mysteriously” spring up in the sidebar as you browse. But nothing is a bargain if you really don’t need it. Saving 30%? In fact, you’d be spending 70% on something unnecessary!

We are subtly (or sometimes not-so-subtly) coaxed to buy this or that in order to look good, feel better, or be relevant.

It takes stepping back to thoughtfully determine when we truly need to make a purchase. 

This is why avoiding impulse purchases is critical. Especially around the holidays, when retailers are stellar at playing off our heightened emotions. Buying more is not the only way to show our family how much we love them! Nor do we need to reinforce our own self-worth with acquiring more clutter, do we?

Equally important, pay attention to which sites you tend to head to, when you’re online. Pare down the ones that will cost you money. Stick to the ones that enhance your quality of life without impacting your bank account.

clutter definition
image by andrea piacquadio from pexels

Habit #6: Revamp Your E-Mail Lists

 Even our email feeds are filled with suggestions to buy! Are we truly VIPs or are we simply being targeted to buy?

Retailers lure us with promises of special discounts when we opt in to their mailing lists. They know that sending you regular notifications of “flash sales” or “advance VIP notifications” will increase the likelihood of a purchase. Your best defense? Disregard the ads.

Shop only when you decide it’s time to replace something essential.

In fact, consider taking one of these two actions: Have a secondary email account dedicated to on-line purchases. This keeps the compelling ads out of your primary account.

Or, sign up for the mailing list in order to qualify for a discount. Then, unsubscribe once you’ve received your item. This eliminates the stream of subsequent emails with purchase CTAs (Call To Action).

Ultimately, this puts you in charge of when to buy!

how to live clutter free
image by radu florin from pexels

Habit #7: Be Grateful For What You Already Have

In a go-go and keep-on-going world, it’s easy to overlook the value of a pause.

But part of an empowering mindful practice is to take time and appreciate all that we have right now. Consumerism is a pervasive and powerful movement. It dictates constantly looking for the “next best thing”. It urges us to constantly upgrade. And it hardly gives us a moment to use and enjoy what we have right now.

Clutter is frightfully simple to amass but painfully difficult to release. Once you’ve made headway with decluttering, carve out a few minutes to realize how it entered your home. Then, shift your shopping habits to prevent clutter from creeping back in all over again!

If you’re just beginning your decluttering journey head here to start strong: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

And if you’re feeling stuck in general, it might just be about being between life chapters. It’s not uncommon so take a breath and find your center here: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis!

Ultimately, we all experience twists and turns as one chapter ends and another begins. Small pauses along the way are the key to getting our bearings and moving ahead … one step at a time!

The Wrap with Mary V
image by content pixie from pexels

The Wrap: This Post Was About 7 Terrific Tactics To Stop Clutter From Accumulating Again!

When we are bombarded with shiny things to buy, it’s ever so easy to succumb! We take a break from work or whatever the task at hand to reward ourselves. Or we schedule a shopping jaunt with friends. We enjoy the preliminary thrill of buying something new. 

However, are you shopping out of “need” or “want”? It’s the “want” items that usually morph into clutter. 

Give your newly cleared space a chance to provide clarity and peace of mind.

Take time to revamp your habits so you can live large with less clutter!

Your Turn!

  • Do you think shopping is a sport?
  • How do you manage your spending so it doesn’t manage you?

Drop your thoughts below …and thanks for stopping by!

declutter

Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book Release!

This Post Introduces the PopUpPurge™, a Soulful Guide to Declutter for Clarity at the Midlife Milestone!

When you’re 50+ or better, you’ve already lived quite a full life! And when you pause to take stock and start to declutter, are you a little shocked with just how much has accumulated over the years?

Take heart, it happens to us all! Lots of activity has taken place in your home. So it makes sense that there’s going to be a lot of physical evidence as a result.

But are you making real decluttering inroads? Maybe not so much. As you look at family photos, travel mementos, or Grandma’s china, the memories start flooding in. It’s so much harder than expected!

How do you declutter without feeling like you’re throwing away your past? Or someone else’s?

And so decluttering is deferred to another day. But when will that day come?

How long will you wait for your own new chapter to unfold and flourish?

declutter

The Power to Declutter Successfully Is Now Within Reach!

If you’ve given this your best shot and sorted on the basis of what sparks joy, how’d that go? What were you able to release? How much actually went out the door? Were you able to sleep on your bed that night? Or was there an enormous pile of clothing in the way?

How do you move ahead and declutter anyway, when guilt, regret, or perfectionism stops you in your tracks? Sigh … it happens to all of us!

Well, this is exactly why I wrote this book, “PopUpPurge™: Release Midlife Clutter & Reclaim Inner Clarity”!

Because it’s never really just about the stuff. It’s about the emotions we’ve wrapped around our things that has us stuck.

When we can face the memories, limiting beliefs, and old stories that hold us hostage, we can begin to let go of what no longer (or maybe never) serves us well.

In fact, here are 5 compelling reasons for Women Over Fifty to start decluttering now, using the guidance within this book! 

how to declutter your home
image by lisa from Pexels

#1: Who's In The House Has Changed

There are all kinds of possible scenarios now. On the one hand, the kids are grown and likely on their own. You might be on your own, too, due to divorce or death. Or maybe you’re in a new relationship … which means more stuff entered the house! 

On the other hand, have people moved back in again? Was it just two of you for a while, but now the kids and/or your parents are with you? After all, we are dubbed the “sandwich generation” for a reason!

Whatever your current status is, does the stuff in your house make sense for who’s there now? Are there duplicates all over the place? Conversely, is your home frozen in time, even though what you currently need and us has changed? 

For any of these scenarios, decluttering is the perfect activity to create an environment that supports whoever is under your roof now!

For a primer on sorting out clutter, head here: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

declutter your home
image by tima miroshnichenko from pexels

#2: Our Full-Time Focus Begins to Shift

Careers may be winding down or have come to an abrupt end. You may be contemplating a new one. The days of working for just one employer until you retire have become a thing of the past.

And if your full-time focus was raising your family, they’re full blown adults by now. So you’ve likely been given your parenting “pink slip”, right?! To be clear, we are always parents but how we interact with our children changes when they have left the nest.

With these inevitable changes, are you ready to pursue the passions you shelved in the pursuit of being practical? Good for you! But have you cleared out the stuff from your former job first? Or is that still occupying space and collecting dust?

how to declutter
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#3: Our Health May Have Taken a Turn

We can take good health for granted. Especially when we’ve focused on taking care of our family … it’s how Moms operate! 

Yet sometimes, unexpected health issues crop up, catching us off guard. When it’s something life-changing, it definitely gets our attention. Now, the time ahead of us becomes even more precious. 

What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind? Not everyone is eager to ponder this topic. But putting it off will not change the fact that when we are gone, someone will have to declutter our stuff and decide what to do with it.

Do you want to get it in order yourself? Or do you expect your kids to do this? How did your parents handle their legacy? Was it left to you?

Lots of important questions here to answer, right? Which is why Swedish Death Cleaning is the iconic decluttering concept of an entire nation! (Here’s what that’s all about: Swedish Death Cleaning: A Savvy Celebration of Life (Really!))

declutter meaning
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#4: "Me Time" Is Calling Our Names

 

Finally! You don’t have to shoehorn your personal interests into a calendar chock full with other people’s agendas. You can be unapologetically front and center again!

When we’ve supported the interests and priorities of our family for a long time, it’s new territory to switch gears. Oh, certainly we’ve carved out time for ourselves, too. But to triple or quadruple that “me time”? It’s a luxury that we’ve earned!

But first: is there room in the house for what lights you up now? Or is it bulging with idle hobbies, crafts, and possessions from someone else’s past?

And if you’re uncertain of your next move, you’re not alone! This post shares about arriving at the midlife mile: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! 

decluttering tips
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#5: We're Entering A Platinum Period

Living lighter is the key to feeling lighter! As Midlife Women, we are on the cusp of writing a new chapter in our lives. We turn the page when we declutter and clear space for where we want to head next.

Not quite sure where “there” is for you? You’ll uncover it as you release what you no longer need, use, or want in the house.

Remember how it felt when you graduated from high school? Whether you went on to earn an advanced degree, immediately entered the work force, or opted to exclusively raise a family, you had your whole life ahead of you.

Once again, you’re at a similar junction.  How exciting to decide your next move! And decluttering is the perfect vehicle for discovering where “there” is once again!

Ready to harness clarity? Then this is the best book for decluttering your life! Download a Free Chapter right here! And then grab the rest of the story. 

Prepare for a confident shift into a joyful future that you create!

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The Wrap: This Post Announced The Release of The PopUpPurge™ Book Which is the Perfect Guide To Declutter Your Home & Your Life!

Design the next chapter of your life through letting go of what you no longer need, use, or love.

Six of the chapters are dedicated to the common emotions that have us stuck. But now you can get moving again!

Small steps executed regularly add up to big results.

Your turn!

  • What’s your personal decluttering journey been like?
  • Which things are the hardest for you to let go?

Join the convo below … And thanks for stopping by!

decluttering your home

4 Tricky Truths that Put the Brakes on Decluttering Your Home

When you’re 50+, decluttering your home is a typical activity when your next move is a downsizing move. The kids are grown and out the door. Home maintenance is becoming a drag.

In other words, your interests are evolving or your needs have changed.  Either way, a simpler setup in a smaller space appeals. It all makes sense.

To be honest, you might be feeling the proverbial midlife crisis (which I prefer to call a “midlife opportunity“). Bottom line: you yearn for something different, now that your life feels different! 

So when it’s time to start the downsizing process, does it unfold smoothly? Well … maybe not so much! Trust me, I’ve experienced all the glitches and more! Now what?

For now, sit back and relax. Read about these 4 decluttering facts that catch many of us off guard. Once you know these uninvited visitors tend to pop in unannounced, you can be prepared to show them the door! And then continue clearing space for your next exciting life chapter! Let’s go!

This post is about how decluttering your home gets easily sidelined when 4 facts hit us hard during the process!

how to declutter your home
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Truth #1: Hardly Anyone is 100% Ready to Let Stuff Go!

 

Deep down, no one really wants too much stuff! We feel the weight of it when we open a full closet or jam-packed cabinet. We see it when we are searching for something else in the house. And we grumble about it when it gets in our way. 

But when we have available space, it’s easy to hang on to things for now or for “someday”. Many of us were raised to not be wasteful. Others are simply more relaxed with what comes into the home and never leaves.

Yet there comes the day when it’s time to get serious about decluttering your home.

You feel sad to say goodbye to things you loved or needed at one point. And then your progress slows down And stops. Why is it so hard to get rid of what you truly don’t need or use? 

Well, our things are more than just things! They represent where we’ve been, who we’ve loved, and where we’ve longed to be. Even though the memories will stay with us, we still balk at releasing the symbols of our life story.

So we hang on, and, before you know it, there are dozens of boxes labeled “miscellaneous”. Where will these boxes land in the new place?

This post provides what you need to let stuff go: Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools To Get You Going!

declutter your home
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Truth #2: Family Stuff is Sticky with Sentiment!

It’s a relief to release the odds and ends we accumulate over a lifetime. Goodwill is a common recipient of those items. Outdated clothing, obsolete reference books, assorted knickknacks … off they go!  

But when it comes time to consider Grandma’s silver tea set or your high school yearbooks, it’s a whole different story. We may not display all our inherited or nostalgic items but they can still conjure up heartfelt memories.

And now as we gaze at these things, it’s difficult to part with them. It feels like we’re dishonoring memories of loved ones or our own personal history! 

Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a few select items like a tea pot, a serving platter or a picture collage. Displaying or using treasured pieces makes a home uniquely our own.

But when they go from the old closet to the new closet … when they’re not claimed by your own children or used in your new home … does their continued storage make sense?

Check out this post for the resource which releases stuff and guilt: Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book!

declutter your home checklist
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Truth #3: We Lose Objectivity When It's Time to Sell!

Remembering what we paid for certain items makes it difficult to digest what today’s buyer is willing to pay. How about the low starting bid for the folk art collection you lovingly curated all these years? Or consider the pennies on the dollar you make when selling your 1990’s designer duds.

Of course, there is money to be extracted out of specific categories such as MidCentury Modern furniture or rare coins.

But the fact of the matter is, there are hundreds of thousands of 55+ aged sellers looking to offload housefuls of similar items. It’s really a buyer’s market, for the most part.

Again, you can make money but it will take time and effort to do so. And it calls for the willingness to price based on today’s demand … regardless what you paid for it!

Discover savvy ways to resell your stuff over here: 15 Premium Places for Selling Used Clothes to Clear Space in Your Closet.

tips to declutter your home
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Truth #4: Decluttering Your Home is a Bigger Job Than You Expect!

When things are hidden in drawers, closets and cabinets, it’s easy to underestimate just how much stuff we have! If you’re a highly organized person, even you can have far more personal belongings than you think.

Day One of decluttering your home is generally overwhelming for everyone! We work all day in one room. And then we realize how many more rooms there are to go.

Of course, you don’t accumulate all your belongings overnight. So it follows that it won’t be an overnight process to sort through when decluttering you home, either.

We can be in denial about downsizing as part of our future. But adopting a pragmatic stance that it’s inevitable can be quite helpful.

With that in mind, start early and declutter often.

If you want to pass things down to your children, ask them now! Don’t assume they want or can take everything. And don’t be offended if they say no. After all, isn’t that how we ended up with some of our own inherited stuff?

Would we want them to take something unwillingly and then just stow it in a closet? That’s passing along guilt, too!

Head here for a simple yet powerful decluttering plan: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

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The Wrap: This Post Addressed the 4 Facts That Will Slow You Down When Decluttering Your Home.

Decluttering ahead of a downsizing move is not for the faint of heart, no doubt about it!

In order to minimize the mindsets that can hold you back, start decluttering your home now, even if you don’t have your next destination finalized.

In fact, carving out a specific time slot each day or week to focus on decluttering will really put you in a good place. It’s surprising what 20-30 minutes a day will accomplish over time. 

Knowing that you’ll eventually have one or two fewer bedrooms or less storage space is enough intel to release what’s currently in those areas now. And be sure to allow for “breathing space”! 

Ultimately, the most important things are not “things”. They are “experiences”, which take up hardly any space at all!

Your Turn!

  • Have you recently started reducing your stuff? 
  • Which decluttering fact challenges you the most?  
  • In hindsight, what would you do differently?

Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!

decluttering ideas

Decluttering Ideas to Release Other People’s Stuff (Without the Guilt!)

Consider using the decluttering ideas in this 4-step process so you can finally let go of things left behind from your loved ones.

Without a doubt, we all hang on to stuff for various reasons. But guilt is often the main culprit.

I mean, just think about your kids’ childhood stuff stashed in the attic. Or what about your mom’s Lenox china for 16 hidden in your dining room hutch. And Grandpa’s beer steins and National Geographic collection buried deep in the basement.

What’s wrong with this scenario? If you love all these things and cannot imagine life without them, then absolutely nothing!

But if thinking about these examples creates tension in your body, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider what’s occupying valuable space in your home! The stuff may be out of sight but it weighs on your mind. Time to set yourself free!

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Today Features Decluttering Ideas That Honor What Matters To You!

decluttering your home checklist
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Step 1: Begin With Your Why

>> Do You Want To Function As A Storage Facility?

If it’s a temporary situation, put a time limit on how long the items will be tenants in your home. It’s universal that our kids leave stuff in our home when they depart the nest. And it’s easy for us to hang on to the remnants of their youth. The memories are deep and heart-filled.

We have the space to store their sentimental mementoes … or do we?

Is it possible their stuff is occupying space you could use for your next chapter? In fact, on a larger scale, is their stuff holding you back from making your own physical move?

So, yes: Determine if other people’s things are preventing you from forging ahead!

For a deeper dive into uncovering your “why” in your new life chapter, head here: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

minimalist decluttering checklist
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>> Initiate The Convo With The Kids Now!

Now you might feel a little uneasy with this idea. Yet they may simply be assuming it’s A-OK to leave their excess stuff with you. They need to hear how you feel about it!

Also: understand there is benefit for both sides. Your adult children can then adopt a lifelong habit of identifying what matters most to them, too!

To be honest, most Millennials are open to decluttering ideas and goals. They already choose to live in smaller spaces. They seek to travel lightly with their possessions. So the timing for this dialogue is spot on! It can be a session of recalling happy times. This, in turn, leads to deliberate choices of what items to keep and what items to release.

decluttering bedroom checklist
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>> Now Address The "Permanent" Guests In Your Home!

Who’s this? I’m referring to inherited items or gifts from family members or friends. They can be everywhere! Some are stored in boxes or closets, out of sight. Others may be sprinkled throughout your home. 

You know logically these things have an “expiration date” with hanging around. Either they aren’t to your own taste or or they are not useful or necessary for your lifestyle.

They may be something you do appreciate, but you truly don’t have the physical space now or where you may be heading next. Even harder, they may evoke bittersweet or difficult memories of a particular time in your life.

Ask yourself: Do I truly need or want these items in my home?

minimalist decluttering checklist
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Step 2: Sort Items By Donor

Next up is staging the items so that you can see exactly what you have from whom. For example, everything from your Mom could be gathered in the spare room. You can then see at a glance what you have from one person.

Now this may be challenging if your house has things from Mom in every room! If that’s the case, then just segregate her things in each respective room and take a picture. In this way, you can review the entire collection at once or within a few images.

The purpose of this activity is to understand exactly what we have from Mom, Dad, Grandma,  and so forth. Often we balk at releasing something simply because it belonged to someone in particular (and I get that, really!)

But we get bogged down when we assign high value to each and every single item thy owned or touched. Is this realistic?

For me, I think about it this way: “How do I want my son to remember me?” I am most passionate about 3-4 things and so he’s welcome to keep just a few items that define those interests. He doesn’t need to curate a Mom shrine with everything of mine!

In other words, be selective with how you decide to honor your beloved family member.

how to start decluttering when overwhelmed
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Step 3: Select What To Keep

 

No one has  unlimited space! Which is why solid decluttering ideas include deliberate choices that truly epitomize your beloved family members.

If your Grandma was a tea drinker, a gardener or a deeply religious person, then keep her favorite tea cup, her cut glass flower vase, or her rosary beads. This makes it easier to let go of her ceramic knickknacks or crocheted afghans. You get the idea!

Certainly, you can increase the number of items if they take up less physical space, like pictures in a photo album or a digital picture frame. But consider truly narrowing down to the essence of that person… because you want to leave space in your home for you!

Once you have your choices defined, you can have fun with how you’re going to display the items. They won’t need to be hidden out of view any longer.

Perhaps you’ll create a gallery of framed photos. You might use some glassed shadow boxes to showcase costume jewelry or prized medals. In other words, incorporate the treasures into your present decor.

Paring them down to a select few will truly let them stand out as a testament to your family history.

best decluttering tips
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Step 4: Release The Rest With Love

 

Understand that gifted items from our family were given in the spirit of love. The intent was never to bog you down with something that didn’t bring you joy. Acknowledge the kind gesture but let go of what doesn’t suit your taste. Gifts shouldn’t come with strings attached, don’t you think?

Figure out the highest and best use of the things you will not retain. Start with your own family, in the event your children or siblings would appreciate and welcome any of those items. The key is this: ask!

Don’t assume you know what others will want. Listen and then accept their decisions. After all, it’s their home and so it’s their choice.

From there, it’s entirely up to you if you would prefer to realize a monetary return. Yet know that any selling activity will take time and effort, depending upon the demand for that item.

By investing a little time up front, you’ll realize if going the re-sale route is worth your while.

If you decide to bypass the resale step, there are so many local charities that can deftly route your donations to the highest needs in your community. 

Please don’t overlook the value of donating! It in no way means you are throwing money away or dishonoring your family member!

The money has already been spent when the item was first acquired by your relative. There was joy and use of the item until it was passed along to you. Now, you’re simply “paying it forward” when someone less financially fortunate eagerly and gladly accepts the item for their own use.

Isn’t that a better outcome than having it collect dust on a shelf or hide in a cabinet?

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The Wrap: This Post Dug Into Decluttering Ideas About Releasing Sentimental Stuff Without Guilt

When incorporating these decluttering ideas into your own routine, remember to work at your own pace. You control the process and no one is judging you. Even 15 minutes a day will have you ahead of where you were before you started. In fact, here is what will absolutely get you on your way: Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools to Get Going & Keep Going!

Sentimental clutter is the hardest stuff to deal with … but it provides the biggest emotional release when it’s moved out so you can move on!

You can do this … I believe in you!

Your Turn!

What’s your sentimental clutter status? 

  • What will be your biggest challenge to release?
  • What decluttering ideas can you share with us?

Drop your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by! 

decluttering your life

Uncluttering Your Life in a New Season Leads to 3 Priceless Developments

Midlife changes can be unsettling, even when you know they’re going to happen! Uncluttering your life is one of the best proactive strategies you can take to prepare for a new chapter to unfold.

What kind of changes am I referring to? Kids growing up and moving out on their own. Relationships ending due to divorce or death. Even our health can take a turn, whether temporarily or permanently. And careers are not bulletproof, either, are they!

When change arrives with one of these midlife events, do you feel stuck? Shocked or mournful? Are you resistant to something different? Now what?

Reframe change in a positive manner: Embrace three amazing benefits when you focus on uncluttering your life for a new season!

uncluttering your life
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Today's Message is About the Remarkable Perks That Arrive when Uncluttering Your Life!

decluttering your life checklist
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Benefit #1: Enhanced Mental Clarity

Decluttering is a powerful movement these days for good reason: the square footage of our houses has increased substantially over the last 50 years! It stands to reason that the quantity of household stuff stored within has also followed suit.

Of course, we accumulate many things along the way as we live a full life, raising a family, and pursuing our interests. But when the household size shrinks or our own activities shift, now we have excess items which are no longer needed or used.

And when we allow them to continue taking up physical space, they also command mental and emotional space.

In fact, unused things can actually emit negative energy! They crowd out the potential to substitute items that support where we are now or where we might head. This is what leads to feeling stuck.

It’s uncomfortable to be in between chapters of our life, knowing one is winding down but feeling uncertain about moving into the next one.

Yet when you begin uncluttering your life to remove outdated belongings, you open space not just in your home but in your mind, as well.

Releasing the old with love helps prepare us to welcome the new with hope. We regain perspective about life’s inevitable changes.

Now we are receptive to something different … something new … something that resonates and invigorates our next act!

decluttering your life quotes
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Benefit #2: Simplified Daily Routines

 

Most would agree that it’s draining when we have too much stuff in our home. Maneuvering from one room to the next can be challenging. Locating a particular item takes extra time. Maintaining more stuff than we use takes additional energy.

Wouldn’t you revel in a home where everything has a place and a purpose? If you think about it, stuff we no longer need or use really becomes a distraction in our daily life.

So consider how light you would feel with space between your things … the things that matter most to you now! Imagine not worrying about running late. Or feeling confident with where things are in your home. How many times have you bought something at the store, only to discover that you already had three of them hidden in a cabinet or drawer?

Indeed, paring down to the essentials which support your current routine is an ultimate self-care bonus when uncluttering your life! 

This post provides clarification on how to begin: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

how to declutter
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Benefit #3: Sharpened Perspective

 

Change can be difficult, frustrating, sad, and scary, particularly when you’ve been happy with the status quo. But it’s also an integral part of how life unfolds.

Accepting the role it plays in your life experience is the first step towards taking charge of how you want your narrative to continue.

We can’t always direct our circumstances but we can control our response to our new direction.

There is no time limit for how long the process should take. Everyone has varying amounts of things and stuff. Each of us needs a unique amount of time to make space clearing decisions. So honor the process that works best for you! In fact, here’s a simple yet powerful way begin: Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools to Get Going & Keep Going!

Uncluttering your life is a cathartic process as you accept change. How exciting when you view where you’ve been and then imagine where you’d like to head next!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V

The Wrap: This Post Was About Uncluttering Your Life To Welcome A New Chapter Full Of Promise and Perspective!

 

When one life chapter closes, step into the new one by uncluttering your life.

Life is change. When we don’t change, we stand still. Make peace with moving forward.

Trust that something beautiful will develop … You!

Decluttering Your Life Thoughts: Your Turn!

  • Which room, drawer or closet will you tackle first?
  • What has decluttering your life done for you?

Drop a comment below … and thanks for stopping by!

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