A simple life will lead to long-lasting happiness and success. Last week, we talked a lot about mental clutter and eliminating mental white noise. But there is a second part to this whole simple life philosophy—physical clutter.
The two are different but not mutually exclusive: mental clutter will lead to physical clutter and physical clutter will agitate mental clutter.
Physical clutter can create mental clutter. As we amass more and more items, we start to attach false meaning to it. This false meaning creates more thoughts in our heads, until we find ourselves completely lost in mental white noise.
We start building a dependency all the items around us, constantly rationalizing it’s purpose with, ‘one day I’ll use it’ and ‘what if it comes in handy.’
Those rationalizations never come true and we keep adding more and more clutter. As we amass more clutter, we often find ourselves unhappy. So, we go out and buy more things we don’t need to chase that feeling, albeit brief.
1) Design Your Life
Like mental clutter and anything else in your life, you must start with a vision. What items are essential to your survival? What do you need to surround yourself with? What can you do without?
Needs are essential to your person, memories and environment. Wants are non-essential that sit and collect dust. When you have an understanding between what you need and what you want, you start to design your life around that idea.
Without active awareness of your immediate surroundings, how are you able to change?
2) Small Sections and Large Pats
You physically cannot clean your entire surroundings at one time. If you scatter your focus between different areas of your environment, nothing will get done. Like mental clutter, one single area must be cleaned at a time.
Start with small portions and move on. Throw our or donate anything that you haven’t used in three months. Ask yourself sincerely, ‘if I haven’t used this in three months, why would I use it now?’
If you can’t seem to let go of older items like clothes, toys, and trinkets think, ‘there is someone out in this world that has very little or even nothing.’ Imagine how much could use it?
More importantly, as you start to discard or donate, pat yourself on the back. It is hard getting rid of clutter, especially, when you have built up excess. A pat on the back for decreasing your dependency to physical items and, perhaps, helping someone that needs it more.
3) Have a Spot for Everything
As you slowly start to rid yourself of the clutter, you will be left with the items that are most important, and hold the greatest significance to your person and memories. For these, have a spot.
I like to imagine my immediate surroundings like a museum. Everything is carefully categorized and organized. Everything has a specific bed for when it sleeps at night.
If you have a spot of everything, then you know where everything should go. Not putting things back where they belong is a sign of mental clutter (you are preoccupied with white noise).
Putting items back in their place helps you maintain control over mental clutter, so it doesn’t affect your physical space.
Eliminating mental and physical clutter has helped me personally overcome many problems. As you slowly begin to move towards emptying mental and physical clutter, the dependency will decrease.
You will find yourself thinking clearer than ever before, with a vision for your life—what you want our of life, who you want to surround yourself with, and how to get there—and you will understand the items that are truly important to your being.
You will start to feel more revitalized, more fulfilled, and happier as you pursue a life that is enriched with clear thoughts and treasured items.
Be bold, be free, and love on.