How to declutter your home and your life: A thorough guide
Experts say maintaining an organised lifestyle has health benefits; here, they help you identify if you’re a ‘hoarder’, and tell you how to deal with the habit.
British newspaper columnist Jan Moir recently underwent a decluttering session. She got rid of all the items in her house that she didn’t love, or need. Later, she said in an article, that the procedure had helped her become “happier”. So, does clearing away those piles of clothes, books, paperwork etc., in your living and working spaces actually influence your well-being?
City-based life and business coach Manoj Lekhi thinks so. “It is true. The clearer you are on the inside, the cleaner you are on the outside. If you have a clutter-free living space, it helps you declutter mentally. That reduces your stress levels, and calms you from within,” he says.
In fact, Ayurveda claims that our body is a microscopic representation of the macrocosm. As perthis system of medicine, there are three innate features by which every mind functions — Sattva (wisdom), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). External clutter increases the Tamas and Rajas, and decreases the Sattva. This, in turn, increases restlessness and raises our stress levels. A clear living space, on the other hand, promotes positivity.
Gauhar Vatsyayan, an Ayurvedic specialist, says, “The best way to giveup mental clutter is to lose your grudges. This can be practiced by forgiving and forgetting. We also recommend Pranayam to declutter the mind, as learning how to control one’s breath helps control one’s mind.”
Are you a hoarder?The first step to living a baggage-free life is identifying whether you are a ‘junkaholic’.
Life coach Farzana Suri broadly draws out nine categories of people who have a tendency to ‘hoard’:
The Sentimentalist: Keeps old diaries that, say, has his or her two-year-old daughter’s first sketch or painting, or keeps the rickety chair that his or her departed mother sat on, etc.
The Tech Junkie: Hoards old wires, plugs, sockets and chargers for future use
The Recycling Junkie: Collects empty jars, restaurant containers and shopping bags
The Magazine Junkie: Stores old issues of magazines for recipes, fashion and kitchen tips, or to brush up on other information at a later date
The Book Junkie: Has collected every conceivable book, and stores even those that have never been read
The Bottle Junkie: Collects old liquor bottles, such as fancy-looking or miniature bottles
The Hotel-Freebie Junkie: Hoards every handwash, lotion, shampoo and soap from hotel stays
The Antique Junkie: Holds on to things so that they can be heirlooms for their children’s children
The Wardrobe Overflow Junkie: A person who, even with a bursting wardrobe, has nothing to wear.
One of the ways to overcome the temptation to hoard is to practice minimalism regularly. People who practice minimalism are known to get a lot done in very little time. This is because it is easy for them to keep track and prioritise.
Another key tip is regularly maintaining a cleaning and clearing schedule. While people living in western countries are well-acquainted with spring cleaning, in India, Diwali cleaning is popular.
“If you are one of those who waits for an occasion to clean your house, then even the success, relaxation and happiness that you want to enjoy will happen occasionally. So, make it a habit to just keep what you really want, and discard the unwanted junk on a regular basis. Just dedicate 10 minutes every week to get rid of the junk on your table, in your wallets and even in your phones,” says Amit Punjabi, life coach.
Opt for the following tips provided by holistic wellness guru Mickey Mehta to clear your life, both internally and externally:
1 Sell, donate or give away your unused and unwanted items
2 Resist the urge to buy and stock bottled, preserved and canned foods. Most people have a habit of buying and collecting sauces, dips, cheeses, salad dressings, chutneys, etc., which have a shelf life of a few months to a year. These are usually refrigerated and forgotten till they are way past their expiry date, which makes these commodities useless and a waste of money.
3 Recycle and reuse as much as possible.
4 Seek professional help from a therapist, if required. Cognitive behavioural therapy encourages one to communicate and change one’s way of thinking to overcome the urge to hoard.
5 Prioritise important issues that have to be settled, and do away with trivial thoughts and actions.
6 Meditate. A few minutes of conscious breathing and meditation makes your mind clutter free, it helps you to focus better and calms your inner self.
7 Be organised in your day-to-day activities. Store, file, sort and clean out your closets. Get rid of unwanted possessions and focus on the ‘now’.
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