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How to Declutter Your Life In 3 Steps

Do You Say “Yes” Even When You Want To “No”?

Are you a people pleaser? Are you devoured by guilt when someone asks you for a favour and you’re tempted to decline? How about when you get invited to places you don’t want to be by people you don’t want to know?

Well, I’ve been there. But since starting my various businesses, I have learned to go against my normal instinct of saying yes too fast. I did this not to be rude or an ingrate, but to be able to focus better on my priorities.

Let me tell you how to declutter your life the same way I did mine.

And note that decluttering doesn’t just mean getting rid of your old shoes and clothes. It also includes people, situations and things that don’t make you happy.

What Is Clutter?

noun: a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter

verb: to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner

dictionary.com

When I speak of clutter, it’s mostly about the non-physical clutter. It’s do with anything that creates a negative energy field around you. Most often, it’s to do with people, social gatherings, etc. that give you reason to suffer from a feeling of dread and then remorse.

You dread meeting a certain person, or having to speak with them. You dread being invited to someone’s house. Maybe an event or occasion that you would most certainly avoid if you had your way.

What about that person who just comes by, literally forcing themselves on you, even when you don’t want to see them?

And those text messages that keep popping up on your phone and you feel like flinging the phone away? But you still respond because you were taught to be polite.

And then comes remorse! Because you just said “yes” when all you wanted to say was “no”.

You don’t want to attend that birthday party. Now you even have to buy a gift for the person even though he’s not on your list of favourites.

Next, remorse fills you because someone just imposed upon your time and wanted to “pop by” to say hello. You try to wriggle out of it, but your sense of courtesy rules and you give in.

What results is an hour and half of lost time that leaves you frustrated and you vow not to let this happen again. Except, it happens all over again.

This is what I call life’s clutter. Things, people, situations, feelings you absolutely can do without! In fact, you need to get rid of, now!

Why You Need to Declutter Your Life

There are some obvious reasons why you need to declutter your life of course – to rid yourself of unwanted feelings, situations, people and things. But there’s a lot more deeper reason why you should rid yourself of the unwanted stuff.

When something causes you stress, your adrenal glands release the stress hormone called cortisol. Studies show that elevated levels of cortisol not only raise the risk of depression and other mental illnesses, but also a compromised immune system, weight gain, increased blood pressure and blood sugar, and even heart disease.

Does this sound serious enough to you to get rid of stress in ways that you can control?

We have enough external triggers that we simply cannot control and therefore, we have to deal with stress from those. So, let’s try to eliminate stress and negative energy where we can.

In a nutshell, these are the reasons why you should get rid of clutter:

  • Clutter increases levels of stress
  • Clutter causes a negative energy field around you, which attracts more negative energy
  • It’s a complete time waster
  • Decluttering your physical environment will instantly lift your spirits
  • Removing clutter allows you to have more clarity

If these reasons don’t convince you, then here’s one more – if you’re the kind who’s unpopular because you’re always complaining about something or the other, it’s because you have too much clutter around you. This causes you overwhelm, which leads you to complain.

So, if you want to raise your popularity ratings, try decluttering first – your home, your mind, your circle of friends and family. Yes, I just said family, but in the kindest of ways.

You cannot do away with your friends or family who support you, but the ones who bring you down, you can put some distance between them and yourself. In short, anything that brings you down is clutter.

How To Declutter Your Life In 3 Steps

STEP 1

1. Take stock of your emotional clutter.

2. Take stock of your social clutter.

3. Take stock of your environmental clutter.

STEP 2

1. Make a list of all the people who are causing your emotional clutter.

2. Make a list of all the situations like social events, outings etc, that add to your social clutter. And don’t forget the clutter caused by social media!

3. Make a list of all the clutter in your physical environment that you can clear out.

STEP 3

1. Think about ways in which to slowly break away from uncomfortable relationships and associations.

2. Make a list of all the polite excuses you can give when you want to decline social obligations.

3. Set yourself up with a schedule for decluttering your home.

How To Say No To People

This is something I have done in my own life and I can tell you it works. Most people understand that you have priorities. However, if you don’t let people know, they won’t be able to read your mind.

Why not call all the people on your “declutter” list and explain that you’ll be preoccupied for some time? Tell them you’re working on a project or that you’re helping someone out. Or, that you just need some rest! We all need rest and we have the right to have it.

If you can’t do this on the phone, then there’s email! Use it for something worthwhile rather than for just shopping sales online! You’ll be happier if you take my advice. 😉

When you speak honestly and from the heart, you won’t have to worry about hurting feelings. People who  criticize you for dropping off the radar even after you’ve explained, are actually better off your radar than on it.

One Magic Phrase To Say No To Social Commitments

I find this the easiest thing to do now because I own and run multiple businesses and it’s impossible for me to find time for too much socializing.

Most of my good friends understand. However, I still have to decline because my dear friends never stop urging me to take time off to relax.

There is one magic phrase I use on these occasions – “Thanks so much for inviting me! That’s very kind of you! I would have loved to come, but … “. That’s your magic phrase.

Most people will understand and will let you off the hook right then and there. And when you free up some time for yourself by using this approach, please remember to send some love my way! OK? :o)

I’d recently written about the negative effects of social media and how it kills positivity in people. Give it a read if you feel up for it.

How To Declutter Your Home

This is the easiest type of decluttering you’ll ever do! Why? Because your “clutter” doesn’t have feelings to hurt or worry about!

There’s a fantastic approach to this liberating activity – donate all the stuff you don’t need! A lot of people sell and a lot throw away. But when you haven’t used something for a year, it means you don’t need it anymore and it still might be in a fairly good, usable condition.

Unless it’s an expensive piece of equipment and you absolutely need the money, sell it. Otherwise, make someone’s day by donating.

When you donate, it immediately puts you in a better mood. And a better mood is always rewarded with better things coming your way.

Studies have also proven that generosity is a huge contributor to lower blood pressure levels, lower stress and generally a whole lot of happiness.

This is because when you give to a good cause, your body releases dopamine, which is also known as the “happiness hormone”. Suffice it to say that it makes you feel good, and it makes you feel like doing it again.

Start with one room, and make sure you tackle the rest of the house as you go along. Doing this every couple of months will ensure you’re not collecting junk and choking your health and happiness.

It definitely takes time to go through this activity. So block off some time so you can take care of it all in one fell swoop.

If it helps, I had written a blog post about time blocking. You might find it useful and it will give you some tips on how to get your important work done as well.

Conclusion

While it’s true that we need people around us, having too many negative ones isn’t going to serve you. In addition, we have social pressure as well where everyone is outdoing one another in “coolest party ever” competitions.

The person who zealously guards their emotional, social and physical environments from all the negative influences, turns out the winner in the end.

It takes a lot of forethought and prioritizing to know what to keep and what to eliminate. But once you’ve started doing it, you’re bound to feel an immense sense of lightness and relief. It’s important for your emotional and physical health because it helps you avoid stressful people, and environments.

So, start with the 3 step guide on how to declutter your life and watch your overwhelm fall away!


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