"Only when we clean the window do we really get to see inside and out.”
With Spring on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to think about spring cleaning. The concept of clearing space applies both physically to the space around you and also mentally. When our house is chaotic and cluttered, our minds feel chaotic and cluttered.
But what constitutes clutter? According to dictionary.com, clutter is “a disorderly heap or assemblage” or “a state or condition of confusion.” As a verb, it means “to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner.”
Clutter can come in many different shapes and entities - whether it’s clutter in a junk drawer, a disorganized closet or pantry, friends who give off negative energy, bad memories, fat stored in the body, and so on.
Why do we hold on to clutter when clutter takes up such vital space and energy in our lives? It’s because we have an emotional attachment to clutter and cannot let it go. However, most of these possessions are merely hindering us from growing and living a life of great intention. They are distracting us from feeling nourished and clean, and ultimately we need to redeem our space to start anew.
How you construct your life, and with what and whom you choose to surround yourself, out there, has everything to do with what is going on—in here—in your mind. There is no separation.
We have the power to de-clutter, just like we have the power to say no to a side of french fries. Healthy living doesn’t just mean diet and exercise. It also means limiting stressors that enter our lives and stick around, just like the unneeded piles of stuff clogging up our space.
Space - you need it, I need it, your family needs it. We need space in our schedules to exercise, practice yoga, prepare healthy food, and meditate. We need space to move around and not feel trapped. We need space to breath and step away from the hustle and bustle of our day to day existence.
When your physical environment is simplified and organized, you will have more mental and emotional space available to create and grow. I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about the benefits of a clear space. And I’ve developed a little concept I like to call “zen-tervention” meaning when we organize the physical aspects of our life, we are then better able to improve our fitness, food, finances, and lives.
When you have “zen-tervention,” you will go through 3 steps:
Here’s where you will assess your living situation. Notice how you feel when you enter your home. Take a good look around your house. Does it feel cluttered? Does it feel clean? Do you feel calm upon entering your home? Or do you feel stressed? Are there things that make you cringe, things you avoid dealing with, cleaning, or repairing? Here are some daily habits that will help you instantly feel less cluttered and disorganized.
- Each morning, make your bed before leaving for work. When you come home from work and see that your bed is made, it will instantly change the dynamic of the room when you enter it.
- Clear the sink of dirty dishes daily. Think about it: If you walk into a room after a stressful day and see a sink full of dirty dishes, you will not feel orderly in your mind. It will most likely put you in an even more stressed or negative, annoyed mood.
Our homes will likely never look like a spread in Better Homes and Garden. And that is perfectly okay. Nobody’s home is perfect. What is more important is how you feel in your home. Whether it gives you positive energy every day when you walk into it or not. Think about functionality. Your home should be a functioning one. That way, you will have a very functional mind.
- Create a plan. Once you’ve cleared some of the clutter, here’s where you envision what you want each room to serve you and your family. What would make each room in your house motivate you to live life healthier? It could be a fresh coat of paint in a brighter color, or replacing your dull kitchen knives with sharper ones, so cutting veggies is no longer a chore, but a joy. Make a list of any improvements you want to make.
- Design a vision board. What does your ideal bedroom or living room look like? If you use Pinterest, create Pinterest boards for each room of your house - inspiring images that leave you feeling blessed, peaceful, and joyous.
- Make a list. For each room, make a list of all the negative things you want to rid from that room. Is it the ugly alarm clock next to your bed? The unhealthy food in your fridge? With each item, think about what it’s contributing to the good of your body.
Clearing the decks
In order to clear space - and keep it clear - we must be able to let go of things that are not working. If you live in a distressed or unclean environment, your body will reflect that. Additionally, sentimentality can keep you stuck in the past. It is important to hold onto cherished memories, but it is equally important to live each day in the present moment.
- Commit yourself. Clear your calendar on a Saturday or Sunday and make a project of clearing clutter. Don’t look at it as a chore, but an opportunity to feel lighter! If it feels too daunting, ask a friend to help you. Play some upbeat music, make a nice strong pot of coffee or tea, open the windows, and feel the energy bubble up inside you.
- Take one room at a time. When clearing the clutter from your home, take one room at a time. Don’t feel like you have to go through your entire house at once - this can be both overwhelming and draining. With each room, calmly look around and make a pile of everything laying on the ground, end tables, inside desks, on chairs, underneath beds, in the refrigerator, etc.
- Label three boxes “Keep,” “Donate,” and “Toss.” With each item in your pile, determine whether to keep it, donate it, or toss it. It is important to collect all items away from the space they’re in. Things look different when the room is clear. After all, it’s harder to get rid of that coffee table book that you haven’t opened in a year when it’s in a pile of stuff rather than when it’s beside a framed photo of your kids. Toss anything that’s broken, expired (food), or that you haven’t used in the past year or no longer serves a purpose. Someone else in need can make use of it more than you can.
In each phase, you must embrace honesty and non-judgement. With each item, assess why you are holding onto it and if it is serving you.
By cleaning your house from the inside out and ridding it of extraneous clutter, you are making the decision to live life with a more conscious, lean mind. When the objects in your space take up less energy and attention, you can focus on achieving your goals in health.
Here’s a last tip that will KEEP you clear of clutter in your home and in your life: