How to Declutter Your Life: Mind, Schedule & Home
When it comes to deciding how to declutter your life, the possibilities may seem overwhelmingly endless. I mean, what is the real problem, really? Is it your mindset, your schedule, or your home?
You may feel like you have so much to declutter in each of these areas that you don’t know where to begin to declutter your life.
Your mind is full of negative or untrue thinking, leaving you feeling discontent. The schedule you try to maintain is nearly impossible and beating you into the ground. And your home is so full of stuff that you care nothing about and you wonder how it even got this bad.
When you need to declutter your life, your whole life, it’s important to intentionally choose where to start.
Where to Start Decluttering
It can be difficult to decide where to begin when it feels like your whole life is a mess and in need of decluttering. If you’re like me, you may struggle to make a decision because you are simply overwhelmed by all of the options. Decision fatigue is real!
When that happens, it’s best to take a step back and ask yourself some questions:
- What do you seem to struggle with time and time again?
- What is causing you the most stress right now?
- Why do you think this is really stressing you out?
- What change would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
- What small steps can you take beginning today to make that change a reality?
If you’re still struggling to narrow it down, check out the little quiz below that I created to help you decide what area of your life to declutter first.
You might find that you need to start by decluttering your mind or changing your mindset. You may learn that your schedule and how you spend your time needs to be decluttered first and foremost. Or, you might find that your home’s clutter is the first thing that needs to go.
How To Declutter Your Life
You might be wondering how one declutters her life. You’ve heard of decluttering your home, but decluttering anything else is foreign to you. The truth is, any area of your life can contain clutter, because clutter is anything that doesn’t deserve a place in your life.
It may be that clutter in some area is causing you unnecessary stress. It may be that clutter is holding you back from the kind of life you want to live. And, it may be that clutter is putting you over the edge of how much you can truly handle well.
Decluttering your life is a personal journey. What you need to declutter is personal to you, and how much you need to declutter is personal to you. Do your best not to compare yourself to others or simply copy what others are doing.
Learn from others, sure. But don’t simply declutter the same way they do without first evaluating your own life and asking yourself the questions I mentioned earlier.
The Best Decluttering Order
When it comes decluttering your life, ideally, you first declutter your mind, then your schedule, then your home. That’s because all positive change in your life needs to start with the right mindset. If your mind is cluttered, you are not ready to declutter your time or your home.
If you’re mindset is good, but you are overbooked or overwhelmed by all that you need to do, you won’t have the energy (or the time) to declutter your home.
So, that’s why I say you need to declutter your mind first, then your schedule, then your home. And if you’re like me, you will always be evaluating each of these areas and decluttering them on repeat. Mind, time, home. Mind, time, home.
Where are you at currently? Hopefully the questions or quiz above helped answer this for you. Are you on the mind, schedule, or home phase of decluttering your life?
Now that you have an honest answer about where you are currently, it’s time to dive into each area and find out how exactly you can begin decluttering.
Decluttering Your Mind
A great place to start when you want to declutter your life is with your mind. If you currently most need to declutter your mind or establish a better mindset, it’s important to determine the underlying problem.
When you are unhealthy mentally, maybe struggling with depression or anxiety, you must start with taking care of yourself in that way first.
(If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to a mental health professional right away. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website HERE.)
Now assuming that you are generally healthy mentally, you may still need to do some mind work in order to declutter your life. For you, the underlying problem may be that you are feeling discontent, comparing yourself to others all of the time, thinking untrue and negative thoughts, or living too much in your head.
How To Declutter Your Mind
No matter what your underlying reason, there are some steps you can take to begin decluttering your mind and establishing a healthier mindset:
- Determine which mindsets and thoughts are holding you back or keeping you captive. These may be untrue thoughts, unnecessarily negative thoughts, or simply unhealthy thoughts that keep you dwelling on the past or making bad choices.
- Decide if anything is causing you to be mentally exhausted. What are you giving too much thought to that you shouldn’t? What do you need to let go of and move on from to make the changes that you want for your life?
- Replace any unhealthy mindsets and thoughts with truth. Renew your mind with thoughts that will grow and nourish you on a daily basis.
- Practice mindfulness, especially when it matters most. Start by practicing mindfulness in small ways, maybe try mindful eating or brushing your teeth. Get used to being present and focusing on only the task at hand. Then, put your new skill into practice when you are wanting to be more present with the people in your life. Really lean in and grow your important relationships. You don’t want to keep missing the pieces of life that you most long for!
If you want to improve your mental health, these steps will help you get there! When you are mentally healthy, you will be less stressed and overwhelmed by your thought life. You will be able to be more present, having more energy and a sense of freedom and purpose.
But maybe there are simply too many things going on in your life right now…more than you can mentally handle. If that’s the case, you definitely should move on to decluttering your schedule.
Decluttering Your Schedule
When you want to declutter your life, decluttering your schedule is an important step. If you don’t declutter your time, it’s easier to feel overwhelmed or exhausted, and harder to feel a sense of purpose. That’s because when our schedule is full of clutter, we are constantly feeling like we never have time for the things we want to do!
How To Declutter Your Schedule
There are two main ways to declutter your time. One way is to look at your “obligations”, the things on your calendar right now, and determine what needs to go. The other way is to determine in what ways you are wasting time. If you’re like most people, you’ll need to declutter in both ways.
- Name your priorities. Make a list of what you want to be your priorities in life (ie. God, family, friends, work, exercise, home) and try to list them in order.
- List your responsibilities. Write down everything on your current schedule, including any family obligations like driving your kids to activities. Don’t forget your responsibilities at home like cleaning, cooking, and laundry. Basically, you are writing down anything you spend significant time doing.
- Look for necessary changes. Make note of anything you don’t enjoy doing or isn’t actually required of you. Make note of anything you put on your priority list that isn’t adequately represented in your schedule. If you decide something on your schedule needs to go, take steps immediately to remove it. Make that call, send that email.
- Find ways to save time or waste less time. What do you spend time doing that you shouldn’t be doing or shouldn’t be doing as much? Be honest about anything that should be taking less of your time. We all have those things that suck us in and take more of our time than we ever intended. Or, if there are things that you have to do but don’t enjoy, seek out ways to do them more quickly and efficiently. Also consider if anything could be delegated to someone else.
- Make a plan and rewrite your schedule accordingly. First, make a plan for each of your priorities. With the time that’s left, fill in anything that is meaningful for you in some way and fits with your priorities. Next, fill it in with the things that you have to do that aren’t necessarily meaningful for you but simply must be done. And finally, don’t forget to set up accountability for yourself if you are wasting time on the regular in some way!
Keep your schedule this way for as long as possible. Learn to say “no” respectfully and without the guilt so that you don’t fill your schedule right back up with things that don’t feel meaningful to you.
You should also try establishing a routine around your responsibilities to help you be more efficient. (Check out this guest post for 5 essential routines for moms!)
Want more help with decluttering how you spend your time? Then you need to check out the “Simplify My Life! Starter Kit” that I offer.
Included in the Starter Kit are helpful tips around getting clear on your priorities and making time for them, decluttering your schedule, doing household chores efficiently, and establishing essential routines!
Decluttering Your Home
If you are on the decluttering your home stage, it’s time to make removing clutter from your home a priority. You may have recently realized that all of the clutter in your home is making you overwhelmed and stressed.
Maybe the clutter is making household chores such as laundry and cleaning take so much longer than it needs to take. Believe me, I completely understand, because this was me! Cleaning my house and keeping it that way always seemed so daunting because of all of the things I had to pick up or move around to get the job done properly.
Or, you might find that you are sensitive to clutter, and just the sight of it causes you anxiety or makes it difficult for you to focus. This is also a problem for me, which is why I’ve gone so far in simplifying that I’ve actually pursued a minimalist lifestyle.
How to Declutter Your Home
When you need to declutter your life, for most of us it includes decluttering your home. Clutter in your home has the potential to make your life so much harder than it needs to be. Just the presence of clutter is known to raise anxiety levels and make it more difficult to focus.
Once you’ve determined that clutter is either stressing you out or making your life harder than it needs to be, you simply need to begin removing these things from your home! You can do a huge purge quickly or choose to do it slowly and steadily over time.
Whichever way you choose, follow these steps to declutter your home:
- Remove anything from your home that doesn’t currently serve an important purpose (i.e. you don’t love it or use it often).
- Deal with your clutter right away or as soon as possible. A good way to do this is to have a designated donation place in your home that’s out of the way but not out of sight. Then, schedule regular drop-offs so that the clutter isn’t just moving from one area of your home to another.
- Find a proper home for everything you decide to keep. Everything you keep is something that you’ve determined to be important. These things deserve a prominent place in your home where you can show them off, or they are things that need to be easily accessible.
If you plan to declutter your entire home, grab my free decluttering checklist made available to all of my email insiders. Or, if you need additional help with decluttering your home and keeping it that way, get my popular “Simplify My Life! Starter Kit” and begin transforming your home and life today!
The “Simplify My Life! Starter Kit” is for you if you are desperate to simplify your life. My Starter Kit will help you simplify your life so that you get your time, space, energy, and even money back so that you can begin living the life you really want.
If you’ve ever thought that you want to spend more time on the people and things that are most important to you but couldn’t ever seem to make it happen, this Starter Kit is for you!
If you’ve ever realized that things are making you unnecessarily stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed, then this Starter Kit is perfect for helping you take steps in the right direction.
My Starter Kit will help you:
- find a clear vision for your life and home
- declutter your home so that only what you love is left
- maintain and organize your newly decluttered home
- simplify household chores such as cleaning and laundry
- create a meal plan that’s simple and sustainable
- declutter your schedule and get your time back
- establish an effective routine that lines up with your priorities
- learn to use your time more wisely so that you can begin living the life of your dreams!
Are you ready to simplify your life and get your time, space, and sanity back?
I hope that you now know how to declutter your life as well as where you should begin. When we make intentional choices to better our lives, the reward is great! Begin taking small steps today to declutter your life and I know that you will be able to live the life you want.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.
I recently finished Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering your home but I never thought about the more abstract aspects of life that needed decluttering. I have a lot of friends that fall into this category that I need to declutter. Thanks for posting!
We don’t often think of those areas as ones we need to “declutter” do we? But sometimes those areas are even more important. I love that you can already see what needs to go in your own life. 😊
it’s so uesful article , thank you for sharing this.
Thank you for this extremely helpful and practical post. I will try to put some of your advice into practice.
You are so welcome, Kathie!
I love your focus on mindset first! Because that truly is the best and most helpful place to start. Thanks for these magnificent tips!
Yes! I strongly feel that it must start there for all of us. Sometimes we try to just jump right into other things before we are really ready…making it harder on us in the long run.
Nnnniiicccceeeeee Sheila, nnniiiccceeeee! I did this in December 2017 and I must share that my life couldn’t have been better than it is now. How I wish I had done it way earlier in my life.
I am so happy to hear that decluttering your life made all the difference for you!
Thank you for sharing all your words of wisdom! I really enjoyed this post and your “All-American” dream post. I’ve lived a decluttered life (mind, schedule, possessions) for a few years and it has truly changed my perspectives in life. Many of the people that I know are trying to live the “ALL- American dream” and are cluttering their lives with the big homes, fancy cars, latest gadgets, and junk that they don’t need etc…and I remember doing the same. Going out and spending money on physical possessions that truly do not add any real value to your life. It was all for show and a short lived satisfaction of knowing that you had what the other person had. When I finally decided to eliminate all the clutter and downsized my life in my mind, schedule, and possessions..i felt this large burden lifted off of my shoulders. I felt like I had more freedom and control of my life. I wasn’t being controlled by what others thought of me, or what I thought that i should or should not have, or what was expected of me. I chose a new path of minimialist living, which many family and friends couldn’t understand and may never understand unless they experienced it themselves. This new lifestyle of living, simplified my life and made me truly appreciate what REAL life has to offer. My decision allowed me to enjoy life, experience new experiences, have the flexibility to travel and explore new places, reduce stress, and build more meaningfull relationships without trying to one up each other. The only thing I had to do was make a decision and take action to simplify my life. Did I want to declutter all the junk in my life and live a more simple life without all the stresses? The answer was obviously “yes!” I wanted to rid all the necessities that didn’t have any purpose and live a more meaningful life. So i went ahead and downsized my life in mind, schedule, and possessions and am happier for doing so. More people would definately be happier if they chose this lifestyle. My only wish is that people today and future generations will continue this trend and change their mindsets and actions to this way of thinking. It begins with us, the few people who understand and lived this minimalist lifestyle to be the examples of future generations. I believe that one day people will figure it out as long as they give it a try!
Hope your messages reaches to all the people! Thank you for sharing your messages and blogs. Hope you continue to spread your amazing thoughts and ideas to the rest of the world:)
Thanks, Sushi! I’m so glad that you liked these two posts. Living a simpler life doesn’t initially appeal to everyone, but often they change their minds (even if slightly) as time goes on and also as they see the benefits of a simpler life. You have such a great testimony to the difference it really makes in ALL areas of life! Continue to share your story as well! 😊
This is very timely. I am passionate about creating a “less is more” approach to life and home (but struggle actually putting it into action in my current life dynamic), and found this to really hit the spot on what is going on in my mind. Thank you! I also have just the friend in mind to share this with.
That’s amazing, Melissa! So glad you found this post then. Please feel free to reach out if you need help simplifying a certain area. I’m happy to help! 😊
Last spring I decluttered my Facebook “friends.” Then in the autumn, I ended up deleting the whole account. Now nearly a year later I am ready to start another account up…but like a minimalist…inviting those people and groups who give me joy, are encouraging, and are kindred spirits. My year of zero social media was one of beautiful growth, healing, and strengthening. I do not regret the decision.
I’ve totally been there. I recently did the same with my Instagram. Honestly, if I wasn’t a blogger, I probably wouldn’t use social media much! That’s a great way to go about setting up your account, though! I love that you are going to be so mindful going forward. ❤️
During this Coronavirus “shelter-at-home” time, God has been urging me to live more minimally…and I’m excited! I’ve done some reading, and have begun to “open my clutched fist”, giving God total access to every part of my life. I want EVERY part of me to be de-cluttered for His glory. I’ve lived a more simple lifestyle than most of my friends for many yrs, but want to take the concept to a deeper level. Your blog will help keep me motivated to continue on this journey; I’m not sure any of us ever “arrive” at simplicity, but it brings joy to my heart to know that others are on this journey with me. I SO appreciate your viewpoint that God will lead each of us AS INDIVIDUALS to the place He wants us to be; it’s not a competition. We are all winners when we follow HIS lead! Blessings to you!
R from Illinois
Good afternoon from Australia. I’ve two comments, one you’ll probably be happy to hear. The other not so.
Firstly your blog looks really lovely, the one article I decided to read was well written and you obviously care about others as well.
However, I struggled immensely with the advertising that has ruined your blog. It took three times as long to read the article as it should have due to the sheer number of ads and pop ups.
It’s taken what would otherwise be a lovely place to stop by into an enormously irritating feast of advertising.
I wish you all the best, but I won’t be returning.
Thank you for your feedback, Debb. I’m grateful for your honesty and that you checked out my blog. I will take your thoughts into account.
Hi, I tried to have your ebook on capsule wardrobes sent to my email, but it didn’t send or appear in my inbox or junk mail. I tried emailing, but could not find your email address on your page. Looks like a great ebook, and I am definitely interested in capsule wardrobes on the casual side mostly with a few extras like you put together so beautifully. Ty, Lin
I sent you an email, Lin! I’m happy to help you get that ebook.
There may be a problem with your email. The email I sent you wasn’t delivered.