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How to Declutter? Take out the Trash!

If I asked you to think of some words that best describe health and well-being, what would you come up with? For myself, some words include pure, clean, stable, calm, organized or energized.

Clean up the clutter for the new beginningsThese are only a selected few, but they establish a point: health and well-being do not emerge from OR can not continue in a negative environment. Today’s world has us drowning in material, informational and emotional clutter. With so much focus directed towards these things we lose quality time for ourselves and with others.

Instead, this time is used for worries that do not make us happy, when all the while, time could be used for fitness, learning better eating habits, more time with friends, more time for rest, and a host of other possibilities.

My goal is to show you that when you clean up the clutter of your life’s worries (decrease resistance in your life), possibilities for more positive things start pouring in (positive power increases). When you immerse yourself in a positive environment, health and well-being will follow.

What do you really need to clean? It could be your messy garage, your messy desktop, tax files, basement, car, relationships, strenuous obligations, etc. I’ll tell you how to declutter this mess. Stay tuned.

Material Clutter

Upon entering a house you will probably find a home cliché greeting you such as:

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.

Organize Your Home for Positive EnvironmentFor a long time my house was just a place where I slept and ate. For others, I have learned, it is a place where relationships flourish, children are raised, and couples live out their days.

These life stages cannot occur if you have a messy lifestyle.

Where and how we live provides the foundation of ourselves. If you cannot be accountable for the things you own, then you cannot be accountable for yourself.

Possessions then turn into things we have to manage. If you own a car you must make sure it is insured, running properly, full of gas, equipped with proper tires, etc. Either you do it yourself or pay others to do it for you.

Paying for those services in the end is better than mastering all of the skills necessary to manage them yourself. Either way, you lose time or money that could be spent on other constructive or fun things.

Cars are a convenient necessity however, and there should be a degree of care put into them. The key is to distinguish what is a necessity and what is not. What you do not need should not be given equal weight to something you do need. For example, you wouldn’t spend hours to neatly organize your household garbage when you’re going to toss it the next day.

When you distinguish necessities, what you choose to keep, in a way, becomes a part of you. Therefore, taking care of your possessions is like taking care of yourself. I have always felt great when cleaning the inside and outside of my car, because not only does the car look better but it makes me feel much better too! Seeing the end result of my quality care and hard work always puts a smile on my face.

This level of care cannot be the same for all things you own if you work or have other commitments. Try to clean up and/or organize as much stuff as possible to free up stagnant energy and allow new fresh energy to come in.  Clean up dust, dirt, junk, paper stacks, boxes, and junk from storage lockers, then organize your home starting with balcony, basement, garage, and car trunk (good spare tires, etc).

To make these changes more manageable YOU MUST set goals for yourself. What has worked best for me is creating one big goal per month of a mess that must be cleaned up, and then smaller weekly sub-goals to keep myself motivated.

De-cluttering is a skill set and the more time you practice it the better you get at it. If over time you achieve your goals quicker then set two big goals per month to speed up the process. If you are good at something, revel in it!

TIP: Every item should have a “home.” This way you automatically know where stuff goes and later you automatically know where to find it. Visit an Organizing Store to get some boxes and folders and then organize your bills, bank statements, car related documents and receipts. Similarly, sort your computer files and emails info their respective “home” folders (more on this later).

How to Declutter? Sell, give away, or recycle useless thingsMost people have a hard time letting go of the things they own. However, it doesn’t have to be all losses. In today’s economic climate people will buy what they do not want. Shows like Storage Wars, American/Canadian Pickers, and Pawn Stars are a testament to this.

I established different levels of importance to keeping specific things: from the safe and USB hard drive, through the computer and books, through bicycle and ski boots, through clothes and little semi-useful stuff, to everything in the room. In other words, depending on urgency of survival, I assigned importance to the items from 1 to 10. It was good to go thru my stuff and at the same time make “emergency to take” notes.

Even if the clutter you are getting rid of isn’t very valuable, it is still sell-able. Making use of garage sales, newspaper classifieds, online classifieds like Craigslist or Kijiji, and even eBay are methods of making a buck or two on things you no longer want to keep.

Organize your home an reap the benefits of having more space, increased organization and some extra money!

A few notes straight out of my Journal:

It’s interesting that this week I practiced (and experienced) mentally letting go of most of my possessions. I tried to imagine which things I absolutely must keep and there weren’t many! Of course I would make my life (and my life purpose) much more difficult if I only kept the bare minimum like the clothes I was wearing and nothing else, so this wouldn’t be a wise thing to do. But the “letting go” exercise was very powerful and relieving.

Now that things are cleaner and spacious, how do you stop it from happening again?

Organize your home's closetCHANGE YOUR MINDSET! Recall what I said earlier about possessions being things we manage and take care of. No matter what one’s income is, the more junk you own the more it sticks out as a nuisance.

Buying something to replace something older may not seem like much but it adds up quickly. This is more true if it’s many different kinds of products like jewellery, clothing, television sets, gadgets, etc.

When we buy something new, it is for the sole purpose of replacing something we don’t need any longer with something better. When you decide to replace something, make sure the product formerly used is sold, recycled, thrown out, or donated.

Informational Clutter

With new technology there must come new ways to manage it and make it work best for us. Thanks to personal computing and the Internet we have become more and more connected to the world around us.

It also allows us to store an absurd amount of information. Depending on what we do (or not do) with that information, it could become very tiring.

We focus our attention into so many different things that it ends up scattered all over the place. All the many possessions we may have or the many things we feel we need to get can become a physical weight or informational weight.

Get Insurance and Organize FoldersMany worries in life can be eliminated. Start with getting a home insurance. If you live in a regular apartment building, it costs about $20 a month. Take photographs of all your stuff including model and serial numbers. Get a fire-proof and/or water-proof safe ($30 and up) and put all of that in there. Get a small fire extinguisher.

Backup your data and store a copy on a CD, DVD or a portable Hard-drive in an off-site location, or upload your securely zipped files to a secure storage server. Invest in a Hard-Drive mirroring expansion card (RAID1) and a second hard-drive to always backup your data in real-time. Install better locks and chain on the front door. Secure your windows.

TIP: Make photocopies of everything in your wallet and store these in the safe too. Clean up your wallet and make it as thin as possible – this is one of my favorite inducers of light energy. I’ve actually gone a step further and copied multiple cards onto a single double-sided sheet of paper, which I carry in my wallet instead of all those cards (especially non-swipable cards with just numbers or barcode). Make two such sheets, so that once the first one deteriorates, just shred it and use the second one.

This also provides you with easy access to web sites and phone numbers in case you need to replace anything that was lost or stolen.

TIP2: Make sure that your keys, cellphone, notebook and other “mobile” stuff have your contact information, eg. “War Amps” tags or “if found please call <number>” and optional “Reward!!” I lost things on a few occasions and they always made their way back to me. Also have an emergency contact information inside your bicycle helmet or in your wallet.

Store important dates or events in your calendar (Outlook, phone, paper, etc). See if you can setup a “recurring event” so that you’re automatically reminded a few days before. This is good for bill payments, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Now you don’t have to worry about remembering those, which eases the load on your brain.

Most of us are becoming more and more connected with smart phones and other high-speed devices. This makes the information flow throughout the day seem endless and overwhelming. If we don’t manage this information effectively, one’s quality of work, life, and relationships can quickly deteriorate.

Clean up inboxBe very selective what automated emails and news feeds you receive, and make “email rules” for them, so they flow to their “home” folders automatically. If they don’t add value to your life or business, just opt-out. Your #1 rule should be: Clean up inbox and then keep it clean.

As a tip, if there are many websites you want to look at, schedule a time of day when all the information is ready and accessible. Some sites update in the morning, afternoon or evening, so pick a time when you can access all of them in one sitting.

I know that when I’m working (like right now), sometimes I feel an urge to see what else is going on, whether it’s social networking, news sites, sports scores, or PWG ;). However, these only serve as distractions where you can lose your train of thought or simply become too engaged. This means loss of productivity.

Set limits during the day when you want a break to unwind and catch up with the world. Technology is a tool, use it and then put it away when you’re done!

Emotional Clutter

The strongest things that affect us are by definition combined with emotions. Love, lust, anger, and jealousy are all natural feelings we are bound to experience. However, how they happen in our lives and how we deal with them can differ between individuals.

If we are often surrounded by negative energy from people we spend time with or events we divert our attention to, we ourselves can end up sharing those sentiments forward.

Positive Emotions when CleaningWhen you choose to clean up your life, emotional clutter can make or break your attempts. Our friends and family can act as a support network or they can greatly contribute to our downfall. I personally experienced both and was pretty much forced to develop effective strategies to overcome such a roller coaster. More on this coming up in the Emotional section of Practical Wellness Guide soon.

An example of this can be found when losing weight. People can be very motivated to drop excess weight, but if their environment (people at work or at home) are not supportive of those goals, then motivation starts to decline rapidly.

These people make great attempts, but then go back to old habits or just stick with only going half-way. One of my friends used to be 60 pounds overweight and when he decided to lose it, he exercised hard. He met early success through the great change of consistent exercise, but struggled with modifying his diet.

With parents who were out of shape themselves, his habits began in his childhood and teens when it was hard to take full control of his own life. Luckily as years passed and he spent less and less time at home and more time with health-conscious people, more positive results eventually followed.

You are heavily influenced by the company you keep. Surround yourself with positive influence. When you have the right support you can lay down a great foundation towards change and achievement!

You can’t be at your best if your life is full of clutter. It may sound harsh, but just let go of (or reduce exposure to) those people who suck the energy right out of you, leaving you feeling like a wet dishrag.

What we choose to expose ourselves to is also of great concern. Being surrounded with bad news and the pitfalls of existence takes it’s toll on a person. We are constantly bombarded by reports about how gloomy things are regarding money, countries, human rights, etc.

As important as it is to raise the world’s consciousness of these issues, it is even more important to be optimistic in looking for constructive solutions. You can’t get consumed by apathetic thinking as it is just a downward spiral of negativity.

So unless your profession is to analyze those things (economist, psychologist, epidemiologist, etc.) – DON’T. It is too much mental wear and tear when you could be focused on YOURSELF and the people YOU care about instead.

TIP: Cancel your cable at home. Beside saving a lot of time and money, you will save your mind from being polluted with daily bad news. If you insist on being informed, visit news websites and only click on links that are really of interest to you.

Keep Positive Feel GoodBe selective about the stuff that gets into your head. Keep it positive and allow only the news that make you or your situation absolutely better. If you don’t walk away from the news with the feeling that you’re closer to your goals, you just wasted your time. Best of all, you can read much of positive material for free online like you are doing right now!

You’ll be amazed at how light and creative you feel once you’ve de-cluttered your life of negative energies and how quickly success follows.  Help from supportive people can be a wonderful boost for whatever goals you wish to achieve.

Basically it comes down to how you can manage things. Our brains already block out enormous amounts of stimulation that is declared unimportant. However, we have to consciously lend a hand and learn how to avoid overexposure to useless or negative information and how to live freer.

Even the Sky isn’t the Limit!

Now that I have got you thinking about cleaning up your life, you can make the same changes that I have. It will take some time, but that can be a good thing! That means more positive feelings with every accomplished goal.

Take Off to ProductivityClean desk, organized shelf, minimal furniture, no dust – all contribute to a feeling of well-being and automatic effectiveness. You actually get a lot more done with a lot less stress when you clean up the clutter in your environment.

Keep ONLY what you NEED and minimum of what you want. You can always rent cottages and boats and leave the maintenance to someone else.

This article started by bringing up health, but in the end making these changes will have you feeling renewed while enjoying the positive environment. And that is a great step to making even more and even bigger changes.


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5 Responses so far.

  1. My goal is to show you that when you clean up the clutter of your life’s worries (decrease resistance in your life), possibilities for more positive things start pouring in (positive power increases). When you immerse yourself in a positive environment , health and well-being will follow.

  2. If you’ve ever fried a CPU because you didn’t clean your fan, lost a decade of your digital life to a hard drive crash, or spent four hours trying to remove a nasty virus, you learned a valuable lesson about the need to maintain your computer.

  3. Devon Sutton says:

    TechRadar awarded the 4TB version of the drive four out of five stars, stating that “…the only drawbacks with this hard drive are fairly minor in that the connectivity unit is difficult to pull free, and it picks up fingerprints extremely easily. However, as it spends most of its time sat on your desk, neither of these problems is particularly significant”. Macworld and ? They both loved the hardware too. The editorial reviews for the portable version of the Backup Plus were just as kind.

  4. Get Smart says:

    Certain chores (ex. cleaning their room, dishes after a certain age, folding clothes) should be a part of everyday life. I believe all children deserve an allowance, that can only be taken away to pay for breaking or losing something that wasn’t theirs. Big, unusual chores (ex. washing the car) can be contracted out to a child for a monetary reward. This is a good way for children to earn things that would take far too long to save their allowance for.

  5. jessica says:

    Learn How to Declutter Your Health Habits

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