Healthy Habit #5 – A month of decluttering (and an update on kindness)

 

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In my ongoing attempt to learn some healthy habits this year, I have decided that for May I will try to develop the habit of decluttering.  While we are not hoarders in the reality show sense of the word, my husband and I do live in a small apartment along side a lot of junk. and I think that it’s time to start getting rid of some of it.  I did some reading about decluttering, expecting to find a bunch of how-to’s, and I was surprised to find out that there are some real psychological benefits to sorting, and organizing, and eliminating the extra stuff we keep around.

I read this in one article:

Did you know that clutter can have negative psychological effects on you?

Have you ever wasted time looking for things? Or feel stressed by the visual chaos around you? Maybe you have a closet door that doesn’t quite close because there’s too much stuff in it. Maybe it’s your kitchen counter, office desk that is crowded with items, leaving you with no room to properly “use” the surface in question. These everyday sightings suck away your energy and weigh on your mind.

Experts even go on to say that all this clutter can leave you feeling edgy, unhappy, rushed and unproductive. I think they are on to something.

Decluttering can even create more space for your mind. It can generate fresh energy and help you let go of negative vibes you have been holding on to. Some people live with clutter (at home and at the office) because they need to. Clutter plays a role in their life. There may be a strong emotional connection to the clutter. For some, the clutter has gone out of control. We all know a hoarder or two. It’s actually scary, but it helps to understand that they need this clutter as it provides them a sense of security and comfort. And asking them to declutter can have the same effect as if someone asked you to cut off your right arm. It can be traumatic. Some people hoard because they are afraid to throw away something that is useful. (There are other reasons, but I digress). Let’s get back to our average clutter.

If you are like most people, you could probably use a good cleanup, create more space, feel energized and actually breathe better.

As you declutter, you will also realize just how much you have and this leads to a feeling of abundance, which leads to gratitude, which leads to happiness. Apparently, the outer order creates inner calm.

I would love to have the feeling of inner calm that decluttering can provide.  My closets are all packed full of things that I no longer use or wear, my kitchen has too many ‘junk drawers’ and all of the rooms in my house (except the living room, we have people who visit that room, for crying out loud) have nice, neat, organized (at least that’s what I tell myself) piles of stuff that I have no idea what the contents are.

So, for the month of May, we will be decluttering our home.  I’ve enlisted the help of my husband, because it’s his junk too, after all.  I will take some before and after pictures of the areas that we work on.  I will also follow the advice of a professional organizer whose tips I read online:  I will save big, time-consuming projects for the weekends, and I will work on smaller ones for 30 minutes a day during the week.  I will work with 3 piles as I clean – throw away, give away, and keep.  And I will either throw away or give away the things that I have not used for over a year.

I feel excited and happy about getting started on this month’s healthy habit…let the decluttering begin!!

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Month of Kindness update:  April was the month that I decided to develop the habit of being kind to people throughout each day.  I found that how easy or hard it was to maintain the level of kindness that I wanted to was directly related to the mood I was in.  When I was in a good mood, being genuinely kind, whether it was just by smiling at stranger, bringing lunch to share with a friend, or making a birthday cake for a coworker, was easy.  Seeing the happiness and gratitude on other’s faces made me feel truly blessed.  On the days when I was not in such a great mood, being genuinely kind was harder.  I could still “appear” to be kind, but when my heart wasn’t in it, it felt more like an obligation than a blessing.  Still though, even when I wasn’t being completely honest about my motives (my month of kindness, as opposed to true, altruistic kindness), the responses that I received from others did make it worth it.  I just think that it’s better to be kind for the right reasons, instead of being kind because it’s the right thing to do.

One thing that I did notice about kindness this last month is that it’s contagious.  I found that often times, when I was kind to someone, I later saw them being kind to someone else – paying it forward.  I don’t think that it was a conscious thing, it seemed almost like perhaps people have just forgotten that it’s nice to show kindness, and once they saw it, they remembered.  I loved that.

Overall, I would say that my month of kindness was a success.  I liked what I saw, heard and felt during the month, so I plan to make this a habit that sticks!

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4 thoughts on “Healthy Habit #5 – A month of decluttering (and an update on kindness)

  1. Clutter messes with my brain in a big way. We live in a small house and I’ve always been pretty good about only keeping what’s really needed but it’s so hard with young kids. During this season of my life, learning to not go crazy over clutter is my lesson! Eventually, I’ll just sweep everything into garbage bags and I bet none of us will miss it. 😉

  2. Hi Jami!
    I hopped over here after reading your 6 songs series. I love this article and am completely a fan of decluttering. In fact, when my mind gets jumbly, I go to the junk drawer and organize it. I really liked your section on kindness, too. Just a few minutes in your space and I already feel like cleaning out my closet and calling a friend to make her day. You are a gem!

  3. Pingback: I’d like a mulligan for May, please. (And Healthy Habit #6) | Sober Grace

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