Clutter gives me anxiety and mental hives. It makes me itch. Picking up my children’s toys is my least favorite activity. I find excessive dirty dishes in an overflowing sink both disgusting and disgraceful. Re-organizing a house once my daughters are in bed is simply not how I want to spend my evenings! I find that I am unwilling to give up energy to put my house in order each night.
In response to this apparent clutter issue in my life, I have decided to do with fewer material items in our home- and it feels amazing. The items I do keep are now multi-purpose and carefully chosen. Nothing passes over my threshold without a solidified job. And if something slips through the cracks, I quickly redirect it to a deserving new home.
My husband and I made the switch to a minimalist lifestyle after we realized exactly how much time we spent organizing. Too much time was being wasted shuffling materials from one drawer to another shelf. We realized that once the time is gone, it’s gone. It’s a finite resource that we don’t get back. Being intentional with our time has become a monumental priority.
I’d like to suggest that you, too, make the choice to find the mental clutter in your life, get rid of it, and take back control of the 24 hours in your day. Clean out the nonsense in your thoughts, heart, home, and schedule that is keeping you from important things in your life. We can all feel happy and peaceful. It’s our responsibility to make our life full of the things we want in it, like happiness and peace. It starts with getting rid of the clutter.
I’ve learned that it comes down to choices. When I go to the grocery store, will I stick to the list or will I impulse buy a few things that I think I “need?” If I have an unexpected 30 minutes, will I whip out a quick workout or will I scroll through social media? At night, should I relax in front of the visually-stimulating TV or start that book I bought three months ago that has been sitting unopened on my buffet table? The choices we make in a day really do matter.
These choices impact our mental state and our emotional health. Modern life seems to constantly be moving at a rapid pace. I’ve found that the largest need in my mental decluttering effort is get rid of the things I don’t need and to just be still. If I’m constantly on the go I will miss my girls growing up. I find that I need to say “yes” more when they ask me to play a board game with them or read a book. The laundry can wait.
I’ve found the need to pull away from social media too. Someone else’s social media is their personal highlight reel. Everyone posts the good in their lives. When that’s all that we look at in other people’s lives, it begins to seem like they are always pleasantly put together. Then it becomes tempting to compare my worst days (which I actually do see), with their best days (which is all they show).
In our culture, we are constantly running from soccer practice to flute lessons. We’re racing from work to catch the next popular movie. I urge you- do less. Fellowship more.
Build connections with your neighbors. Rekindle that friendship that you put on the back-burner so you could put in longer hours for that promotion. Ask yourself, “In five years will this task matter?” Ask, “how can I use my time better to accomplish this task without making my family feel minimized?” Those are two questions I have to ask myself when I notice I’m becoming frustrated. When I feel frustration creeping in, I know I’ve taken a wrong turn.
Negative feelings are like a broken compass. If I follow those negative feelings and emotions, my path will be stressful and bumpy. So let’s make a u-turn when they arise. We can go back to the fork in the road and evaluate what caused our tiredness, our cranky attitudes, and our lonely feelings. When we are still, we can be prayerful and find our peace. In the silence, we find answers to questions our hearts are ready to hear. We can see what is important to us.
We are blessed with one life. There are no repeats. Does your current life reflect what you want your legacy to be? If not, start today with deliberate steps to clear your thoughts, your heart, and your schedule of the “sure I can do that” tasks, and leave room for the “yes! I would love to do that” task. When you are encountered with opportunities and find that your answer to them is not a full-hearted “yes,” then it needs to be a no.
Time is precious. Let’s take action in our lives by releasing all of the various sorts of mental clutter that bogs down our lives, and embrace what we really think is important.