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Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

  • February 26, 2020
  • By 50 Shades
  • 14 Comments
Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

Lately I’ve been feeling unmotivated and guilty for not leading what I feel is a “meaningful” life. These feelings of despondency, boredom with my life and disinterest in things that I normally enjoy doing, has begun to worry me. I even started to think that I was a little depressed. This new year/new decade, I never set myself a goal or intention. I just let it pass. But now I’m almost two months into the new year I’m thinking it’s about time to declutter and simplify my life.

Last year was such a big year for me, retiring from work, having to move house twice, establishing a brand new house in a new town, welcoming the arrival of my first grandchild and then taking care of my husband during an illness. I think I never really got a chance to take care of me and now I have all this spare time on my hands I’m not sure where to start.

Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

Moving into our new home in Kingscliff

A few mornings ago as I set off on my usual walk with my dog I decided to put my bathers on and stop at a lovely sandy little beach at the creek estuary near where I live. After I gave the dog a swim I tied her up whilst I enjoyed a refreshing dip in the crystal clear creek water and I started talking to another lady who was cooling off in the shallow water. It was absolutely divine and I immediately thought “when was the last time I did this”? Normally I’m in far too much of a rush to swim or talk to a stranger.

So I immediately set an intention of taking more time for myself on a daily basis and start to focus more on the simple pleasures in life rather than feeling the need to be busy all the time.

Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

Swim time at the creek in Kingscliff

Why Clutter is Bad For Us

Clutter affects our brain adversely, our ability to focus, our sleep patterns, and our anxiety levels. Stacks of mail or emails, bulging wardrobes, and cluttered cupboards and drawers may seem harmless. But clutter and disorganization can have a cumulative effect on your brain. When you constantly experience disorganization, it drains your brain and makes it harder for you to focus. Just seeing clutter distracts your brain enough to potentially reduce your working memory.

Plus experts have discovered that clutter has negative effects on your mental and physical health, too. It can leave you feeling anxious, stressed, or even depressed. Studies have shown that cortisol (the stress hormone) levels are higher in people who have a messy and cluttered home. It can also lead to making poor food choices causing bad physical health.

Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

What your brain is like when it’s stressed

Tips for Decluttering & Simplifying Your Life

  1. Create a habit of being unbusy.
    There seems to be so much emphasis on being busy all the time that we’re all having trouble winding down and taking it easy. We’re barraged with a variety of media images in magazines, on TV programs and social media channels, of people living their lives at a frenetic pace. We’re all trying to combine successful careers, with keeping fit and healthy, leading huge social lives, being perfect parents and looking immaculately groomed and dressed. It’s all too much! What’s so wrong with being unbusy for a change? I know initially I had a problem with this after I retired because I was so accustomed to being busy that I felt guilty having spare time to myself. It took me months to finally realise that I didn’t need to have a day crammed with activities and engagements. It’s my time to indulge myself and take a daytime nap if I need to or dawdle when I go for my walk. Now I have a whole new perspective on life and I’m loving it!

    Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

    Reading is a great way to declutter your brain

  2. Uncomplicate your life.
    Some people lead such complicated lives with dysfunctional relationships, too much debt, feeling they need to have every material thing to make them look better and boasting about their perfect lives on social media. This need to have the latest technological devices, a European car, a huge house full of all the latest mod cons and wearing the latest designer clothing is superficial. What should be real in your life are your relationships, your health, the state of your finances and the level of your happiness. Take it from me simplifying your life will lead to more contentment and less stress. Getting rid of the notion that you need to have material things around you can certainly take a little getting used to, but once you do it it’s like a load has lifted. Downsizing your home, buying less “things”, taking the kids camping instead of on an overseas holiday and spending more time working on your relationships, particularly with your kids, are also a good idea. Unravel the complicated and learn how to enjoy the simple things. This is what I have been working on for the past few years and I’m slowly reaping the benefits.

    Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

    Immerse yourself in nature and take time out alone

  3. Rid yourself of excess.
    This is a biggie for me. I have a ton of “stuff” in my household. My walk-in wardrobe is overflowing with clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories that I don’t wear anymore. My kitchen cupboards are full of items I either don’t have use for or are only used on the rare occasion. I hold onto things with sentimental value or think may come in handy one day, and end up with too much clutter. So what I really need to do is get rid of some excess and become minimalist! When we moved house I had a huge declutter and threw out trailer loads of things I no longer needed or used. However now that we’ve moved into a new smaller house I realise that I still have an excess of stuff. My goal is to start getting rid of some of my personal effects, particularly my work wardrobe that I no longer require, and then go room by room in my house. I can always make some money out of my unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace. I’ve discovered that this works better than Ebay or Gumtree for me. Otherwise I could consider having a Garage Sale or taking my items to a Car Boot Market.

    Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

    Sell unwanted items at local markets

  4. Unplug from digital media.
    Because I manage my own blog and promote it via several social media channels, I tend to spend a huge amount of time on digital media. It was also my career when I worked in hotel sales and marketing. Therefore I find it difficult to unplug from digital media. However research has shown that more people are getting on board and either reducing the amount of time they spend on social media or getting rid of it completely. Constant updates and posts from friends and influencers can also leave people feeling jealous and unfulfilled. Too much of this can lead to mental health problems and the inability to switch off your brain. The solution to this is to unplug from digital media by either restricting your usage or going “cold turkey” and deleting your social media accounts. This is work in progress for me as I have found it difficult to completely remove myself from some forms of social media. However I am trying in earnest to restrict the time that I spend on these platforms by investing in apps that pre-schedule my social media posts for my blog. I have also rediscovered the joy of reading books and try to read a few chapters every day.
Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

Either reduce or totally remove yourself from digital media

Why the Simple Life is the Best

Living the simple life doesn’t have to mean going completely off the grid and shacking up alone in a humpy in the middle of nowhere! There are plenty of things that we can do that will declutter and simplify our lives that don’t involve moving to woop woop. Minimizing consumption and the pursuit of wealth and material goods is a good start.

Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

Declutter and simplify your life

Living a simple life means stripping away the non-essential stuff in your life so that you can focus your time and energy on the things that matter the most to you. Things like relationships, family, friendships and self care. Simplifying your life by reducing consumption also means you will spend (and owe) less, resulting in financial independence and can lead to less stress and worry.

Living a simple life doesn’t just mean giving up your possessions. Choosing simplification creates a life filled with meaning, a life lived on your own terms. ~ Calvin Holbrook

Time to Declutter and Simplify My Life

 

 

 

 

 

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By 50 Shades, February 26, 2020 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 14

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

14 Comments
  • Serena McDonald
    February 26, 2020

    Since the beginning of the year I have been working on being a conscientious consumer. In the past few weeks I have been tackling an area at a time, to take stock and declutter, I am having a great time and feel so much better. I have also been gifting items on my local facebook “Buy Nothing Project”group. This is a great way to give away items that are not valuable enough to sell but will be of use to someone in your local community. For example, I gifted a whole heap of children’s DVD’s to a local Mum whose children are with grandparents on a regular basis who do not have a streaming service.

    • Kathy
      February 27, 2020

      That’s fantastic Serena. I’m also trying to do the same. Although I have listed a heap of clothing on Facebook Marketplace without much success. So I will try gifting them now just to get rid of them. Thanks for the tip.

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    February 27, 2020

    Hi Kathy, I think many of us are on this journey. We have realised that less is more in all areas of life. I know trying to declutter my MILs home when she moved to aged care took months and I vowed not to leave the same job for my children in the future. Thanks for the ideas and I’m linking to your post in my post this week : Finding Focus when live lacks direction. :)

    • Kathy
      February 27, 2020

      Yes I agree. My daughter actually inspired me on this journey to becoming minimalist. She tries not to purchase a single new item for months on end, so I’m trying to follow here lead. We’re in the situation at the moment where my 89 year old Dad is in the process of downsizing from a home to a smaller unit, but has loads of clutter. Thankfully as a family we’re trying to help him out. Thanks for linking to my post.

  • Joanne Tracey
    February 28, 2020

    I truly hanker after a simpler life – to be able to meander rather than schedule…because that’s all I seem to do at the moment: schedule blocks of time. My head feels as cluttered as my life does so perhaps some physical de-cluttering (I haven’t had a good de-clutter since we moved) could be what’s needed.

    • Kathy
      February 29, 2020

      Until you do fully retire and slow down you don’t appreciate having time to yourself. It’s wonderful not having to be dictated by a timetable, but it can also bring on a whole new set of problems if you don’t start living more simply. It’s taken me a while to get used to the idea, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. I think decluttering our minds is very important for our wellbeing. I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to find some zen in your life!

  • Christine
    February 28, 2020

    You’re right – there are many ways to declutter or simplify: it doesn’t just have to be about material things. I think I need to make a real effort to spend less time on social media and devote that to other things instead. Good reminder! Shared.

    • Kathy
      February 29, 2020

      It is a good reminder Christine. Social media does fill our heads with so much bad news, nonsense and clutter. I think it would certainly help to step away from this for a while or at least restrict our usage.

  • Jo
    February 28, 2020

    I agree de-cluttering is good. We’ve moved internationally 11 times, so it’s become a bit of a constant in my life – removal fees! Now we are down to almost bare minimum (for me anyway), but things do seem to be creeping back. Good luck with your decluttering xx
    I hope Tom is better now?
    I really agree with you here …Lately I’ve been feeling unmotivated and guilty for not leading what I feel is a “meaningful” life. These feelings of despondency, boredom with my life and disinterest in things that I normally enjoy doing, has begun to worry me. I even started to think that I was a little depressed. ”
    I wonder why it is? Me too. Exactly and I can’t put a finger on it as I should be so happy!

    • Kathy
      February 29, 2020

      I think decluttering should be an ongoing process. As we get older I think we definitely need less things. I find I mainly wear yoga gear, shorts & t shirts, cool casual dresses and my bowls uniform. So my need for clothing is becoming a lot less. We also don’t tend to entertain as much as we used to now that we have moved to a new town so we don’t need all the crockery and cutlery that we accumulated over the years.
      I really think I’m going through an unsettled stage in my life as lots of things happened to us last year and it’s taken its toll on me. Tom has recovered from his condition and is well again now thankfully, but gave me a scare. I do keep thinking how lucky we are but still can’t just be happy. Maybe I’ve lost confidence in what the future holds for us. It is difficult to pinpoint as you say.

  • Denyse Whelan
    February 29, 2020

    Like your post a lot. We de-cluttered when we left Sydney. Over the 5 years we have been away we (me, somewhat reluctantly) gave away even more. I had so much stuff relating to the care of grandchildren. I thought, like many grandparents do, that the families would continue to make contact and visit. Even stay over. It happened in our first 2 years, then as the family structures changed and kids grew, no-one wanted to come to stay AND I admit, I was wearying of the responsibility and then I got my cancer diagnosis. So, lots has gone and been donated. We sold nothing. We were happy for a needy family here to have our g’kids bunk beds and bedding. I have kept photo albums and have culled a lot. I also have a small selection of toy/books for day grandkid visits. I will cull even more when we eventually get our own place. My husband has more ‘stuff’ than I do these days. mmmmm. Denyse #lovinlife

    • Kathy
      March 1, 2020

      It’s good to get rid of clutter and items that are no longer required. I can be a bit of a hoarder, but my husband is the opposite so he often makes me throw things away. We sell some stuff and the rest we donate. I actually work for a charity that recycles used baby items so I see the amount of high quality goods that are otherwise thrown away. It does feel better to declutter – it’s very cleansing!

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    March 1, 2020

    Hi Kathy – so much of this theme is what I’ve been writing about (and sharing on my FB page) over the last 12 months. The Unbusy Movement and the Slow Movement appeal to me so much – not basing our self-worth on how busy we are, not feeling the need to compete with others, removing all the clutter in our heads and home, and just leading a simple, relaxed, peaceful life.
    I think there was an element of guilt in it for me – to go from working and being a co-breadwinner, to being at home reading, blogging, chilling out, and generally just “being” took some getting used to. Now I just do it and love it – and too bad if others think differently, it works for me……and it seems to be working for you too. I’ve missed reading your blog and I’m off to read back and catch up xx

    • Kathy
      March 2, 2020

      Hi Leanne, yes I’ve been reading some of your posts and I must admit that you have inspired me to go down a similar path. I am fully embracing our seachange into a smaller house and a much simpler life. It is work in progress but I’m slowly getting there to becoming minimalist. I am a lot more content leading a an unbusy life. xx

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