Family photos, sentimental items laid out just so, the colours that the rooms are painted, the way in which furniture is placed. Your home is a part of you. But you are also a part of your home, and are influenced by the things that are in it.
In the Chinese system of feng shui, your home is believed to be an extension of you – the way that the inside of your home looks is believed to be a mirror into what is happening inside of you. A cluttered living space creates a cluttered mind. But when clutter is cleared, energy can move more freely. So to get into a place where it feels easy to reach your goals, it helps to get your living space on message. If you’re looking to encourage change in your life, look no further than your home. (Or maybe you’ve changed, and you want your environment to reflect the new you.)
There are so many ways to go about decluttering your space. So where do you start? In her wildly popular book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Mari Kondo recommends meticulously go through all of your belongings, category by category, and get rid of everything except for those few items that you truly love.
Here are a few other tips for de-cluttering your home to encourage change in your life.
Your entryway, or foyer, is the first place you see when you enter your house and what gives guests their first impression of your home. It's also a place you'll see every time you you come and go from your home, so it's well-worth the effort to de-clutter, (imagine not having to fumble for keys, and having a proper place to put your bag down). Before you tackle your entryway, ask yourself how you want to feel when you enter your home. Entryways are often small, so make sure that your entryway contains only the necessities. Remove any off-season items (for example, you don’t need bulky winter coats cramming up your hall closet in the summer). Find baskets to sort essential items in – this is especially important if you have kids.
Your living space should be uplifting and inspiring, containing only the items that “spark joy,” at least that’s what Marie Kondo says. Do you have lots of knick-knacks? Knick-knacks follow a law of diminishing return of sorts; the more you have, the less you are likely to appreciate them. Ask yourself what you would truly love to see on your coffee table, side tables and console tables and go from there. Aim to only keep things out that are beautiful and useful. Don’t be afraid of white space or empty tables. Many people have a tough time parting with knick-knacks, due to their sentimental value. So try this: box up whatever you don’t want to see and store it away. “Creating a home environment that is elegant, simple, and uncluttered generates an atmosphere where we are not constantly distracted by the paraphernalia of yesterday’s projects and last year’s knickknacks,” says Donna Farhi, in her book Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness.
Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s also where you make food that nourishes you and your family. Does the way that things are laid out in your kitchen encourage you to eat well? Or does it reflect the way that you ate before you started Weight Watchers? The key to having a perfectly organized and de-cluttered kitchen is convenience and joy – cooking should be enjoyable! You want all of your most often-used healthy foods and appliances within easy reach, while the less-used items get tucked away. Clean the clutter and old foods from your cupboards and fridge. Throw away anything that has passed its expiration date. Take stock of your canned and preserved goods and research healthy ways to cook with them. Find a way to use the odds and ends of that bag of lentils or quinoa.
Is your bathroom filled with bottles of half-used products? Shampoos, conditioners, body washes, lotions, cosmetics, not to mention those miniature hotel freebie bottles that often litter countertops and drawers. For guilt-free tossing, keep use-by dates in mind. Get rid of anything that has lost its fragrance or looks at all off. Pitch powder cosmetics (like blushes and eyeshadows) after two years, liquid and cream products (like foundation, concealer and cream blush) after one year, and mascara and liquid eyeliner after three months. To prevent those half-used products from creeping in again, buy what you love and use it every day!
Of all of the rooms, your bedroom is your sanctuary. It is where you unplug from all of the stresses of the day and recharge your mind and body. Keep surfaces clean. Remove all of the electronics that don’t need to be in your bedroom. Not only does this cut down on clutter, it can actually help you sleep better. Try to get the items on your bedside table down to just the essentials. A bedside lamp, a coaster for a glass of water, and one book is usually all that you need.
Of all of the clothing you own, how much would you say that you wear? The general estimate is that most women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. The clothing that you actually feel good in is lost in a closet full of pieces that don’t fit, are damaged and/or are only there due to their sentimental value. So if you find the process of getting dressed to be stressful, as most women do, it may be time for a little closet clean out. It should be easy to get dressed, and many experts nowadays recommend whittling your closet down to the absolute essentials. This is called a capsule wardrobe, and it’s part of the thought behind Project 333, a movement dedicated to downsizing your closet down to 33 pieces for three months. Here’s how to do it: box up all of your clothing and leave only 33 of the items that you actually enjoy wearing. (Underwear, sentimental jewelry that you always wear, sleep, lounge and workout wear is not included.) This approach is especially fantastic if you are working towards your goal weight, because you’re free to reevaluate your 33 selections every three months.
What to do next
To keep yourself inspired and on-track, consider making an altar. An altar is a place where you keep pictures, candles, crystals, or anything else that inspires you on your journey.