Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed, frazzled, and stressed out, check your living space. It’s probably time to declutter.
There’s so much that clutter does to you psychologically, that you may not even be aware of it until you start taking the weight of clutter off one layer after the other.
My kids drew my attention to the sour attitude that came over me whenever I got back home and walked in the front door. Upon close observation, I realised it was coming home to a messy house that caused a change in my mood. I have this habit of leaving the home the way I want to meet it when I come back but my kids come home before me and start to do those things kids do best. This is a typical example of what mess and clutter do to the mind. Some people aren’t so in touch with these things until their mental health takes a hit.
Ever noticed how light, organised and free you feel when you clean up your space and give things out? I know a couple who have constant friction because the woman is a minimalist and the man is a hoarder. You don’t want to imagine the nightmare of living with objects and stuff you haven’t used or needed in years and refusing to let them go. So bad, that she had to start giving out or discarding things in his absence cos the last time he found his unused items in the trash, he brought them back in 🤦♀️.
One can’t even think straight in such a space. Such an environment is a nightmare for creatives like myself.
Minimalism may have inspired movements in beauty, interior decor and fashion but at it’s foundation, it’s just a style or way of thinking. A celebration of simplicity, an opportunity to be surrounded by less.
Minimalism helps you put in perspective how much money you spend on things that aren’t necessary and how much stuff you accumulate over time. It relieves brain space to pursue other activities that are more enjoyable and impactful and it curbs impulsive buying. As a minimalist, you must be sure of the need, value or importance of a thing before you buy, it so you don’t spend time decluttering in future.
Even figuring out where to put stuff can be a huge mental weight. Study shows a strong link between stressed-out individuals and clutter.
For some of us having a neat and less cluttered space is a great necessity because we have so many tabs open in our heads. There’s so much going on in our minds and life so an environment that is too rich in colour, with many objects lying around and very little or no space for anything at all can be too much to handle.
Ways to embrace the minimalist lifestyle include but are not limited to the following:
- Do less online and spend more time offline. We can’t stress this enough. Designers of apps target your time and attention. They want you to spend more time on your phones and laptops using their products. In doing this, you spend less time with yourself, the environment, and the people you care about.
- Make a to-do list. Keep it simple and commit to it. Do the things you plan to do. Don’t keep putting them off. Or you spend the rest of the day with that nagging thought of things you’ve not done.
- Declutter your space. Everything you haven’t used in 6 months should go. Give them out. Throw some away. Let go.
- Limit the number of commitments and engagement. You don’t have to be everywhere or always available.
- You’re not and never will be perfect so let go of the perfectionism and live.
Minimalist living helps release dopamine in our brains. And this has a connection with pleasure and satisfaction. Thereby creating a sense of contentment and happiness.
Benefits of the minimalist lifestyle:
- It’s easier to clean your space since you don’t have much, anyways.
- Your life is devoid of stress. Heck, even the air in your space is fresh and circulates easily.
- The lightness on the mind you feel is better experienced than explained.
- It helps you identify what’s of utmost importance and prioritize it.
- Here, you function at your best and are at your most productive.
How to know if you’re a minimalist. This part is very interesting. As a matter of fact, if you’re very sharp, you’d have already figured out I am one 😃 but let’s read on.
- You hate clutter. This is the most obvious. We can’t even spend much time in cluttered houses when we visit friends and family.
- Reduce waste. I’m always arranging, rearranging and thrashing things. Sometimes, even my mom gets concerned. I don’t think twice before I throw things out. I don’t allow things lie around for up to a week. It’s gone after a few days.
- Appreciate space. There’s nothing that makes a house more beautiful than space. Both indoors and outdoors. Space to move, breathe and think.
- Value experiences more than possessions. Once I have memories in my heart, nothing else matters.
- Not afraid to say no. Remember I’d earlier mentioned limiting commitments and engagements. We’re never afraid to say no when need be.
Joy Mfon Essien is an Entrepreneur and the CEO, Discover Essence Media, Millionaire Woman Soapworks and Delicioso Foods. Writer, TV presenter and producer, Wellness Coach and mom of two.