How messy is your desk or room right now? A clever tactic that home-owners often employ before renting out their home, is to look at the state of the person’s car. The rule is, if their car is tidy, then they will also keep the house tidy. The inter-connected nature of life is undeniable. How we behave in one particular instance is transferred to another area.
The problem is, our culture saturates us in materialism. It is far too easy fall into the trap of having more than we need. Indeed, anyone that has come to embrace minimalism will wholeheartedly affirm the liberating and joyful lifestyle it enables. Less is more. Less clutter equals more space and breathing room- literally and emotionally. There is an incredible powerful connection between your external environment and your internal well being.
The best definition for minimalism follows as, “A design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.”
Here are 8 ways to declutter your life and maximize your happiness and well-being.
1. The Morning Meditation
Start your day off on the right foot. Strengthen your embrace of minimalism beginning with the mental game. Make the pre-commitment to put in place these minimalistic habits as the day progresses. The simple act of making a pre-commitment, affirming to yourself, "Today, I will have a decluttered day" is profound when the obstacles do arise. Your willpower is much stronger if your mind has already been primed.
2. The 1-Year Rule
If you have not touched an item in the last 12 months. Donate it, give it away, or throw it in the trash. Begin with any room in your house and start making the rounds- the kitchen, bathroom, your wardrobes. If you want to take the next step, make a second round with a 6 month rule.
3. Borrow Before You Buy
Before making the purchase, consider whether there is someone in your network of friends and family who may have the item you need. This is not only a good way to save money, but more importantly save you the space of having to store the item. So much of what we acquire are items that we only use once!
4. The 2-Minute Tidy
If you are able to tidy an area up in 2 minutes- then drop everything and do it. Break the habit of leaving clothes laying around put them in the closet right away. This is an extremely helpful tool from David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Not only is it a great habit for productivity, but also for a minimalistic lifestyle. Start implementing the 2-minute-tidy into your day. Declutter in these little short sprints.
Follow one course until success. There has been much research recently questioning the effectiveness of multitasking. Many will agree that having too many irons in the fire is much less effective that focusing on one task. Predominantly another productivity tool, multitasking also has a way of cluttering your lifestyle when you have too many jobs going on at one time. Jobs create messes. Cut back, if you really must, narrow it down to three items that you can focus on.
6. Give & Take, Take & Give
Have designated places where things are to be neatly put away. Clutter happens when items do not have a home. In addition, whenever you do happen to use something, put it back where it belongs- tools, kitchen appliances, books, toys. Nip it in the bud before it becomes a cluttered catastrophy.
7. The Daily Time-Out
For at least 30 minutes a day, disconnect from all forms of social media. Embrace solitude and allow your mind to declutter itself. Sit down and actually have an opportunity to enjoy your lunch, taste and try to identify each ingredient. Take a few deep breaths.
8. The Online-Offline Relationship
Similar to the interconnected example of the car with homeowners, your online habits also reflect and connect with your offline lifestyle. How many windows and tabs do you have open on your browser? How much junk do you have on your desktop? Take some time to delete items that you have not opened or touched for a good while. Get a USB and save everything externally.
Begin to implement these 8 different minimalist tips into your life and create a habit out of it. No doubt you will begin to reap the benefits of a minimalistic lifestyle- a tidy external environment will create a tidy internal well-being!