Tidy and toss your way to a simple life

2011-01-14 09:58

One of my goals this year is to try to live a simpler, less chaotic life.

Whether your aim is to cut down on stress, find more time and ­energy, or become more organised; clearing out your space by getting rid of clutter is key to living a more enjoyable and peaceful life. Here are some tips to help clear clutter:

Home

Trying to tackle the mountain of stuff in your home can be overwhelming but the first step is to simply start.

There are three questions to ask yourself when decluttering: Do I use it? Do I need it? And do I love it?

Begin by focusing on one small area and pick a single drawer, shelf or table top.

Be ruthless about unused items, if you have not used or worn something in over a year, you need to let go and get rid of it.

Keep only what you use and love, items that make your life easier or add ­beauty or pleasure.

Try to fight the urge to buy more stuff. If need be, hire a clutter expert to help you get started.

Visit the Professional Organiser ­Association of Africa at www.poaa.co.za

Meals

Declutter your body by ­getting rid of the junk you’ve been putting in and make a commitment to eat regular, healthy meals.

By doing weekly meal planning and shopping lists, life becomes less stressful and you will save time and money.

Look at your ­schedule for the week ahead when choosing meals.

Find recipes that are healthy and quick to prepare, and make double ­portions for freezing where possible.

Fresh ingredients can be bought at local farmers’ markets during the week.

Making use of online ­grocery shopping for monthly bulk items is easy, affordable and saves you time and ­effort.

Finances

Declutter your financial stress by slowly reducing debt.

Look for ways to save money, establish a budget and start living within it.

Stop impulse buying and start paying off credit cards. Paying cash means that if you don’t have the money, you won’t spend it.

Think before you buy, you may not really need it. ­Borrow things rather than buying if possible.

Keep ­important receipts in a safe place, making it easy to save by making use of warranties or returns.

Computers

Organise and clean up your computer.

A lot of our time is spent on computers and our online life can easily get out of control with hundreds of files, photos, bookmarks and emails cluttering up the hard drive.

Start by removing any files and programmes you no longer use and organise the rest into folders and ­subfolders so that you can ­easily access and find the things you need.

Always remember to do regular backups. To avoid frustration, keep a list of websites, user-names and passwords in a safe place.

Tackling emails and ­messages as they come in or once a day makes it far less overwhelming.

Time

Our lives are so full that we don’t have enough time to do everything we need to do and hardly ever find time to relax.

Try decluttering your schedule and do some social decluttering while you are at it. Learn to say no!

Do away with relationships that do not add value to your life.

Give your cellphone, ­laptop and email a rest. Spend more time with ­yourself or the ones you love in person.

Take an honest look at where your energy is going. Then . . . you know the drill – declutter.

Focus your time and ­energy on the things that bring you pleasure and allow you to feel calm and happy.

Paperwork

Sometimes papers pile up high because we don’t know where to put them.

Get folders with labels for all your paperwork and file regularly.

It is vital to keep your important documents such as birth certificates, passports, tax returns, ­marriage licences and car documents in a place where you can find them.

Try to deal with mail at least once a week.

Use one notebook to write your information, reminders and ­to-do lists.

This instantly ­eliminates small paper ­clutter and ensures important information is never lost.

The surface of your desk should only have the necessary items that it takes to do your work.

A clear desk makes you far more ­productive.

Personal

A happy and peaceful heart and mind is something we all strive for.

Declutter your personal life by throwing out emotional baggage, forgiving, letting things go, having more fun, and spending time pampering and ­honouring yourself.

Get closure on relationships and the past.

Identify the problem areas in your own life and then decide on a good way to get rid of this clutter.

Visit a life coach or work with a mental health professional.

Laugh more, be kind, be grateful, sleep more, ­exercise, be healthy, enjoy the simple things, delegate, live one day at a time, don’t rush, and love more.

Make this a simple and less stressful year.

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