Declutter Series 1: How to Start

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Clean your room.

Growing up, I was always told to clean my room. Me and my brother would get up to all sorts of mischief: throwing food in random parts of the house (don’t ask me why), building ‘castles’ using chairs and blankets, swinging from blankets attached to cupboards (don’t ask me about that either). No matter how many times we cleaned up, our rooms would be a mess again.

One sibling turned into three. At slightly different age ranges, we had so many different toys, books, pens, pencils, clothes… it was next to impossible to keep clean. My mum would often step-in and clean it herself, but it was a lot to deal with so eventually our rooms stayed messy. The cleaning habits of our mum, did not pass on to us.

I believe this occurred for a few reasons. First, cleaning was seen as a laborious chore to do when asked. Second, when I did clean, it was more of an organised mess afterwards. I didn’t know how to clean properly. Third, I was taught to be grateful for every item I received, so I barely threw anything out and convinced myself I could re-purpose it all. At one point, I was obsessed with horror shows so I wanted to collect the fake spider-webs that was displayed at Halloween… and let me tell you, it didn’t add to the space in an appealing way.

The years under 12, I suffered severe asthma and pneumonia. It’s not until today as a 24 year old, I realised the health impacts cluttered spaces can have on the body.

Years went by and less and less attention was paid to organisation. Floors needed to be vacuumed, dishes needed to be done, rooms needed to be sorted. The house was stuck on ‘pause,’ while life continued. Unless someone was coming over, no change would ensue. Multiple times, we’d unwillingly try and clean but it never stayed clean. A house of 7 and not one clean spot. (See what I did there?!) Even a close friend of mine tried to help. It was incredibly exhausting. I think it was a mix of trying to do it alone and the heavy energy that lingered in the house.

A few years later.

Fast-forward to my 18-year-old self. Although I moved out, I had too many clothes, shoes and random items around my room. It was an organised mess at the best of times. My clothes were stored in ‘clothe bins’ and whatever couldn’t fit, was thrown onto a spare bed.

Occasionally, I’d find the will to sort through my things. It was so satisfying. I still didn’t understand the importance of organisation, despite that. Whenever I looked long enough at my clutter, I’d feel overwhelmed. I legitimately had NO IDEA how to change the habits I’d taken with me from childhood.

Freedom.

Until I met my boyfriend Luke, organising and decluttering wasn’t on my priority list. One night, Luke lined up all my shoes perfectly, and although it was something small, that sparked something inside me to change. Around this time, I was also watching YouTubers who were taking on the “minimalist lifestyle”. It was fascinating to me that these people could live with so little and be content. I wanted to be content.

I finally plucked up the courage to clean my room. I got rid of many unused clothes, gave away shoes, trashed random boxes I’d collected from online orders… all that heaviness was finally gone.

I felt like a new person. The twenties are all about re-inventing yourself, after all!

The years that followed involved the usual occurrences of life… pain, lessons and striving to be better. De-cluttering to me, would feel like an emotional release. I didn’t need to hold onto pain, whether it was mental or in the form of material things. Funnily enough, when I’m mad, I clean. Quickly.

I have been working hard to live a clutter-free life.

There are still days when I feel lazy and not every single thing in the house is in ship-shape order, but I’ve come a long way.

I’ve set a new habit and expectation within myself. It’s so easy to look at my space now and think, “Do I need those spare envelopes? Can I find a new home for these shoes?”. I’m constantly looking for ways to live with less or cleverly re-purpose working appliances/furniture/storage items. Eventually, I want to cut-down on waste and live a minimal-trash lifestyle.

Those who struggle with severe hoarding tendencies or major disorganised traits, may need help. Be that friend who encourages. Be that friend who shows up.

Things I learned since starting my decluttering journey:

  • The job is never done until it’s done
  • Help is essential – it’s OKAY to ask for help
  • Accountability is essential
  • Self-control for buying is essential

If you want to clean your home and declutter, I have created a guide to get you started. Cleaning doesn’t have to be laborious. Break it up into small tasks. Effort goes a long way! It’s worth it, I promise you!

Decluttering Guide

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or leave a comment down below!

Photo by Thought Catalog.

The pursuit of balance.

Whenever I get sick, I immediately think it’s because something in my life is out of balance. Whether it’s to do with my diet, social life, study or personal life – it is a reminder to reevaluate where I’m at. My mood dips and I just don’t feel “myself”. Or maybe I’m not drowning my hands in enough sanitiser…?

Whatever the cause of this funk, I’ve found that nature and meditation helps to rebalance my mind and body. 🌿

Yesterday was one of the reasons I decided to write this post. My partner and I attended a Japanese festival and decided to take a break from the big crowds. We sat in the shade, next to a row of trees that swayed with the afternoon breeze. I crossed my legs and closed my eyes. Peace. Those few moments of silence, awakened a feeling within. The feeling I experienced was like satisfying a hunger that food could not provide. It’s as if my soul needed this all week. It felt like an itch that I could finally scratch. I felt whole.

This is what I want, all the time, everyday.

Of course, I know that life is full of ups and downs, sadness and disappointments; but how different would my life be if I could actually find stillness even in the chaos of life, and not just in the comfort of my own home? So many moments remind me how important stillness can be for this ever-evolving journey. I wish I had this clarity back when I felt like a ticking time-bomb… that’s a story for another day!

This week, I invite you to practice silence/meditation for at least 10 minutes (or longer if you prefer). Find a place whether indoors or outdoors where you can meditate. No distractions, turn your phone off, silence the to-do-list and just be. Find gratitude in the small things: having a blanket for the cool nights, having access to clean drinking water and a roof over your head, and many more I’m sure you can think of!

If you realise that you are not happy with the state your life is in or the way your thinking has sunk into the dark abyss, talk to a trusted family member/friend or start an action plan. Or find a professional you can talk to, to help you through the darkness. There’s nothing wrong with needing assistance! Life can be tough.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

What helps you rebalance? What brings you clarity? What is within your control that you are willing to change? What habits can you include daily to lead a more peaceful life? Who is it in your life that can help you on this journey? Who can you look up to either by online influence or in real life to guide you? What will you take responsibility for? What can you forgive yourself for? Is there a way you can give back to the community or the universe for getting you to this point? Remember, everything is connected. If you believe you are no good, you will be no good. If you believe anything is possible, you will achieve whatever you set your mind to. Find whatever it is, that fuels your fire. Give yourself some space to breathe and just be.

Influencers I look up to:

  • Susan David
  • Judah Smith
  • Tom Bilyeu
  • Jonathan Levi
  • Nadine Burke Harris
  • Kate James
  • Amanda Nguyen
  • Trevor Noah
  • Jay Shetty
  • Jessica O. Matthews
  • Don Miguel Ruiz

Creatives that inspire me:

  • Annie Tarasova
  • Natkelley (Instagram)
  • cam & nina (YouTube)
  • Michael Seeley (YouTube)
  • Infinite Waters (YouTube)
  • Yoga With Adrienne (YouTube)
  • Plantmama (Instagram)
  • Kim Noble
  • Kylie Grills

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to type it out below or send me an electronic letter! I am planning to start an encouragement card service soon! Watch this space!

… and may the balance be with you.