30 days to reaching your potential day 21: Start to declutter

In the second half of 2009 I moved houses with my family twice. Although we haven't eliminated everything could, we have definitely started to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle, and there have been several benefits in doing so.

Minimalism has many advantages. These vary from things such as taking less time to find a t-shirt to wear and the ability to move houses more easily all the way through to having less mental clutter.

I remember when I first started to embrace minimalism and began with rearranging my bedroom. There was piles of clothes everywhere, things all over the tops of benches, the top of my bookshelf, stuff all over my desk (and papers falling out of it), bits of random junk lying on the floor and more. To top it off, a lot of my stuff that should have been in my bedroom was flowing through into other rooms, taking up the wardrobe space of other family members.

Now things are different. My room contains a bookshelf, a photo, a bed, two bedside tables and a nicely organised wardrobe. Although there are still things that could be changed I feel pretty happy with where things are at (although I might put up a nice piece of art soon above my bed).

Although I don't believe in Feng Shui, the notion (according to this article anyway) is that your outer world (I.e.: your environment) represents your inner world (I.e.: your mental bandwidth). Feng Shui takes the notion that by making changes in the outer world you can begin to see changes in your inner world. I still remember the first night I put my head on the pillow after making a lot of adjustments... tings just felt a little more right and I slept like a baby.

Decluttering is not something that has to be done over night, but there is a lot of information out there that can help you to make a start. The Zen Habits blog, created by Leo Babauta has a lot of information that helped me get started on this path. A lot of his useful posts on minimalism and decluttering can be found at http://zenhabits.net/2008/06/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-simplifying-your-life-and-way-more/.

  1. Read the information available (courtesy of Leo Babauta) on decluttering and minimalism.
  2. Determine to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.
  3. Start by agreeing not to buy anything new today. The first step to embracing minimalism is to buy less stuff and either save the money or spend it doing activities (such as travel, exercise or socialising outdoors with friends).
  4. Start by making a small change now. This could be simply putting your clothes in the wardrobe instead of keeping them on the floor, clearing a bench top or clearing a drawer in your desk.
  5. Continue to build momentum: none of the things in this series is meant to be a once only attempt. They are the beginning actions for developing habits that will help you to reach your potential.

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