One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 is a simple but effective decluttering practice that reduces stress and leads to a clear calm mind.It’s amazing how your outer environment can affect your inner world. A clear uncluttered physical space can change the way you feel on the inside.
When you clear away clutter and create space around you, you’re identifying what you no longer need, and inviting new and exciting change into your life.
I used to do this practice regularly and it felt really expansive and freeing, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it for the New Year.
I call it my ‘Five a day challenge’. Now, before you think ‘well that’s hardly innovative is it!’ – I’m not talking about fruit and veg. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with food at all.
My own particular five a day challenge is simply to get rid of five things each day that I don’t need any more. This can involve recycling, donating, selling, etc.
If I notice any resistance to letting go of my ‘stuff’, I ask myself ‘could somebody else make better use of this than me?’ This puts it all into perspective, as often the thing I’m trying to hold onto has been stuck in a cupboard for years collecting dust, while there are plenty of people out there who would be grateful for it.
It’s surprising how much junk can mount up around the house while you’re not paying attention.
The things you can get rid of can include physical items such as old clothes, kitchenware, magazines, and so on.
It can also include virtual ‘junk’, like outdated files and documents from your computer harddrive. You could even go through the contacts on your phone and delete any numbers that don’t need to be there anymore.
When you start to get into this habit, you may find yourself getting creative as you realise there are so many ways to clear out the things you no longer need in your life.
Bad habits, negative thoughts, that critical inner voice – they can all be purged during your 5-a-day challenge. Use your imagination and get inventive in the kinds of ways you show them the door.
I often take clients through a visualisation exercise where they clear out lots of old unwanted thoughts and belief systems. It’s surprising how much ‘baggage’ we carry around in our minds, and it’s a great practice to dump anything that’s not needed anymore.
You might want to set aside a certain time each day and treat it as a little ritual – maybe take five minutes each morning to have a swift mini-purge.
Having just five things to eliminate feels much more manageable than doing a full-on clearout, but those five things add up over time. Pretty soon you’ll notice your home becoming clearer and more organised – and your mind will follow suit.
So have a think – what five things could you throw away today?
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor and hypnotherapist based in Glasgow who specialises in anxiety, anger management, and weight loss.