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Decluttering, Minimalism, & Your Health

At the last Group Health Coaching class, we talked about how you should get rid of all your stuff!

Just kidding, but we did talk about how clutter affects your mental state (contributes to anxiety, and affects focus and memory). Having a cluttered space forces you to constantly see all the things you have still to do, and keeps you in a low grade constant "fight or flight" state. Which takes a toll on your mental and physical health.

While we may not all be candidates for the show, Hoarders, we could all probably use a few decluttering tips. Imagine if you could actually get to all the things in your hall closet, and know exactly what is in there. And what if you could get your junk drawer easily opened and closed without anything getting caught... or (gasp) WHAT IF YOU ACTUALLY LIKED ALL THE CLOTHES IN YOUR CLOSET?!

Maybe those are just problems I've had... but I have a feeling most people understand what I'm getting at. Most of my tips come from the Minimalists. My first encounter with decluttering and minimalism was actually about 5 years ago when I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While the Minimalists and Marie Kondo differ on the "how-to" of decluttering, I think they share a lot of "why-to"s. Basically, getting rid of things that don't matter makes room for the things that do.

For me personally, this journey started when my daughter was very young and I felt like even though I wasn't working a full time job, I still wasn't playing with her the way I wanted to. I always felt like I had something to do. The kitchen always needed cleaning up, the dishwasher constantly needed unloading and reloading, laundry needed washed, folded, and put away. It was never ending! And honestly, some days it still feels that way. But now that I've decluttered most of my house, I'm able to focus more on doing the things that really matter. For me, that means:

  • Cooking good, nourishing food for my family

  • Spending time building my business, whether that's time at the Pilates studio, prepwork for classes, or continuing education courses

  • Playing with my daughter and spending time with her, especially outside

  • Taking guilt-free walks with my family, including the dog

  • Working out and taking care of myself

I'll be honest, I still STRUGGLE with slowing down and spending time doing those things. Even though my house isn't super cluttered, there is still laundry to do, dishes to do, and things to pick up. But since we've reduced the amount of clothing we have, it's easier to keep up on the laundry. Since my kitchen has less clutter, it's easier to keep it tidy. And since I have fewer things, I have fewer things to clean up. The biggest change is that I don't get that overwhelming feeling nearly as much. You know, that heavy feeling in your gut that it feels like you'll never catch up with all the things you need to get done. Again, maybe that's just me, but I doubt it. And this is all just at home! There's also work to think about too, spending time with your friends and more extended family, oh and don't forget to exercise! Can you tell I'm worked up? So let's get to it. Here are some tips for decluttering your space to make room for what really matters.

Choose a method- start small and go slow, or do it all at once.

If you want to go slow (which is what I did and would recommend to families), start with a drawer or two. Then do a closet. Then tackle your clothing. Whatever order you do things in, always leave sentimental items, or the things you would feel guilty getting rid of, for last. Those are the hardest things to make a decision on, so you need practice with easy stuff like your 98th pen or your 3rd set of bedsheets for the size of bed you don't even have in your house anymore.

If you want to do it all at once (I would recommend more for a single person or a couple that is BOTH on board), check out the KonMariTM method, or the packing party. The KonMari method is a sort of medium speed and not as extreme as the packing party. Marie Kondo tells you to focus on the things that spark joy for you. So the focus is on what you want to keep and less on what you are getting rid of. The packing party essentially hides everything you own, and you choose what you want to keep. Either way, you chose what you want to keep, which looks different for everyone.

After you have decluttered, the focus becomes maintaining an uncluttered home. Everyone will differ on this- if you live in a house with other people, you can't control everything they have or do. So focus on the stuff you are responsible for and let go of the rest as best you can. Chances are, they'll see how much more relaxed you are and they might start making changes too. But even if they don't, you can still look in your closet and see only clothes that you like.

I could go on and on... and I probably have too much already, so if you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me! Join the Group Health Coaching class for accountability in your healthy living journey, and to help you keep motivated to make small (or big!) positive changes in your life.

The next Group Health Coaching session is on March 6th, and we will talk about gut health and the microbiome in your gut. You can sign up here by searching "group health coaching". See you then!

Personal Health Coaching is also available! Message me if you are interested.

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