3 Things I Learned About Decluttering on Medium
Tips that helped me evolve from frazzled to refreshed
If you are anything like me, you have probably tried to organize your space as many times as you have promised to lose weight and get in shape. You know how it is…New Year’s comes around, or maybe a friend’s wedding, and you run out to get a new gym membership and buy 5 pairs of cute yoga pants. After spending more time and money reading about weight loss tips than actually exercising, you give up and stuff yourself into another pair of Spanx and swear that you’ll try again on Monday.
Organizing tended to follow the same pattern.
You wake up on a Saturday determined that today is the day when your house will look like a magazine spread from “perfectly organized homes”. After hours of hitting Home Goods, Target and the Dollar Tree, you spend more hours folding KonMari style through your house. You hit the couch exhausted but joyful that you succeeded…only to see your toddlers wearing all of your expert “tidying” as makeshift Batman costumes. SIGH!
Not exactly inspiring. Thankfully, a select handful of Medium writers have penned their way into my heart. They did so by offering easy, long-term solutions that have saved me thousands of dollars, and hours of time. Here are the top 3 tips to decluttering that I found to be easy and sustainable.
1. The 3 D’s that made 42,000 G’s
So this first method seemed a little drastic at first, but when I dug into what Jennifer Taylor Chan was writing as an overall life strategy, things started to make sense. Jennifer is all about minimalism, and although at first, her method was slightly daunting, the proof was definitely in the pudding. She suggests easy-to-do tips that affect each part of your life with incredible results.
In a nutshell, I would summarize it as the 3 D’s:
- Downsize your clothes and objects, becoming a Giver and not a Collector.
- Disconnect your phone, avoiding all those inundating notifications that crowd up your mental space.
- Delete your apps that create cravings for hyper-consumption.
Source: Power of Positivity
The benefits of these very simple tweaks? For Chan, it meant paying off 80% of her debt, creating a sustainable life filled with things that are meaningful, freedom and more time to enjoy life. She was literally able to make $42k just by following her simple formula for decluttering (Check out her link for an easy to follow budget). This was truly meaningful for me, as it enabled me to be more present in my daily life, while also saving a ton of money.
2. Time is on my side
Ask many people what superpower they want, and besides flying at the speed of light, controlling time is way up there. But, is time management really a superpower?
Thomas Oppong lays out a plan in his highly acclaimed article, “If You Never Have Time, Notice Where Your Time Leaks”, that has performed miracles in my life. It started with the simple phrase he wrote:
“You are probably spending most of your productive time in reactive mode.”
Yes, I was; and I’m guessing you probably know how that feels, too. Reactive activities are defined as things you do in response to others. Daily necessary tasks like sorting through a full inbox of emails, or meetings without clear agendas and focus, can be time drainers. He points out that it’s important to evaluate your personal goals, and whether or not your daily tasks are being managed in a time-efficient way to advance yourself toward achieving those goals.
What about downtime? We like to pack too much into our day. This leaves us exhausted, stressed out, and frustrated. As Thomas Oppong describes, this is the necessity for “gap time”, and he shows us how to use it.
The goal is using your gap time, to revitalize and rejuvenate.
Just like resting in between reps while exercising, those bursts of time in between work give us more energy and revitalizes our output. By carefully planning and even purging elements in your daily routine, your gap time can become a calming and exciting renew-cation throughout your day.
3. Living in Abundance
A third killer piece on Medium that I found, offers an excellent strategy for removing clutter, anxiety, stress, debt and creating an abundant life of gratitude and giving. When we can be comfortable with what we have, we can remove some of the daily stress we experience.
Minimalism can get a sometimes get a bad rap. Some people envision it incorrectly as an ascetic life, with one mattress, two outfits and 1 pair of organic shoes. While that may be possible for some people, most of us can’t and shouldn’t pare our lives down to this point.
Minimalism in actuality is the careful selection of the things you need that serve as many functions as possible, in a streamlined manner.
For example, if you take a look at the designers who have been famous for Minimalism in interior design, it has always been about clean lines, eliminating visible mess and clutter, and designated spaces for all things, in a highly efficient environment.
One man’s brilliant strategy, just don't poke the curtain…
Tim Denning thankfully reinforces an accurate view of minimalism. He talks about being more aware of our consumption. Day in and day out, we are inundated with subliminal marketing messages. The images and items may differ, but the underlying feeling behind it all is scarcity. Everywhere we turn we are being told, “if only you had this, then you would be complete”. There’s a constant insatiability to consume that is instilled, and none of us need that.
I love that Tim mentions that as we become more aware of the consumption and end the cycle of buying what we don’t need, we remember to give to those who do. It’s a twofer! Waste less, give more. Believe me, that’s a good feeling.
Have less, to DO more
Often the more “stuff” you have, the more time it takes to manage it all. If you have 100 items of clothes instead of 50, you are spending twice as long on laundry than on living your life. In Tim’s article, he gives us a sneak-peak into the overwhelming stress and constant chores that come from a place filled with too much.
Since almost everyone produces and functions at their best when their house is in order, all of those extra things slow down your productivity.
Source: The Gem Picker
I discovered that I don’t have to get rid of all of my stuff to be minimal. The monk life is not a requirement. If I focus on 3 things and work to improve them slowly I can significantly transform my life:
- Downsize and organize
- Be smart with time management
- Give back
Minimizing and decluttering can truly be anything but painful. It actually frees you in every possible way.
Who would have thought that by having less, you would make room for so much more?