By: Team Rise, the leading online authority in sustainable home improvement. Sustainably-minded homeowners can use its web-based platform to discover and connect with brands to make smarter more educated buying decisions.
Your home is your sanctuary, where you can rest, relax, and recharge. But is it really? Homes, over time, can get filled with “clutter”—knick-knacks we pick up on trips, the mail and magazines that show up every day, the tools and devices we bought because we thought we needed them, old toys your kids no longer use, hand-me-downs from relatives who moved, etc. The truth is, much of this clutter adds little to your life. In fact, it can even detract from your overall sense of wellbeing.
With the popularity of books like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the rise of the minimalist and sustainability movement, more people have come to realize that life can indeed be simplified, we just need to do the work to get there.
While the outcome of an organized and clutter-free home is the end goal, the process of removing clutter can be a very pleasant and meditative task. The beauty of this perspective is that there is not one right or wrong way to meditate — from Headspace to Vedic meditation, people can even meditate while moving these days! Therefore, cleaning your home is another mindful way to refresh your life — both physically and mentally.
So, where do you begin you ask?
1. Create a Plan.
As with any meditation, it’s best to start the meditation of de-cluttering with an intention. Accept the fact that removing the clutter and organizing your home will take more than a day. If you want to start with a weekly plan, it could look something like this:
- Week one: Organize kitchen cabinets, clear out old dish ware and expired foods from the pantry.
- Week two: Clean kids’ rooms, remove broken toys and clothes that don’t fit.
- Week three: Clean and organize laundry room and bathrooms—especially under the sinks.
- Week four: Organize the linen closet.
- Week five: If you haven’t already, get those things out of your house. Give-aways can go to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another worthy donation place.
Once you have a plan, stick to it! Meditation is all about recognizing, but mindfully dismissing distractions that will surely creep up in order to stay in the present moment. Set a positive intention with your family or roommates to hold yourself accountable.
2. Gather your home decluttering supply kit.
There are a few things you should have on hand to make your meditative decluttering go smoothly. Having these things ready before you start will help you stay in the present moment and have a more productive and rewarding de-cluttering session.
- Bins/Bags. As you declutter, you’re bound to find a good amount of trash, so you’ll need separate bags or bins for trash and recyclables. Clear glass mason jars, vases and canisters can be used to organize loose coins and batteries, crayons and craft supplies, as well as odds and ends like screws, bottle caps, safety pins, etc.
- Permanent Marker/Label Maker. As you organize, label boxes and shelves with what they contain. This will not only tell you exactly what’s in there next time you look, but it will also help you avoid adding back unnecessary clutter later.
- Clear Plastic Storage Tubs. Air-tight containers can be used to store out-of-season décor and clothing, hobby supplies, old photos and keepsake items.
3. Make space
As you go through your stuff, you’ll need to have some space to put your piles of things to get rid of. The categories might be:
- Donations: give-aways to someone in particular or to a worthy charity or donation site.
- Reusables: for those things you can repurpose or reuse.
- Recyclables: remember that paper, glass, and metals can be recycled.
- Compostables: for when you clean out the kitchen.
- Trash (hopefully the smallest pile): for the things that are no longer usable or are unhealthy (remember to properly dispose of hazardous waste like old paint, full aerosol cans, alkaline batteries and fluorescent bulbs).
4. Set the scene.
To get this meditation practice going, put on happy or relaxing music. This can help you get into the zone by drawing your thoughts away from daily stressors or distractions.
5. Slow down and simply start.
Don’t try to do everything at once, or you’ll get frustrated. The key is to focus your whole attention on the de-cluttering task at hand.
A clutter-free house not only looks better, but it will also help you and your family feel more relaxed at home. Plus, you’ll free up a lot of space for what truly matters most in your life.