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Decluttering guide 1: Simplify your life

If you could declutter and simplify your life, it could go a long way in getting the me-time you want. It will give you time to spend on things you are passionate about.

The life today is overwhelming. The new technology, the variety of gadgets, the speed, the bursting of knowledge bubble, the competitions, the expectations – so many things to be done, so little time! I wish I could simplify my life.

When I was small I used to visit my aunt’s village. I felt the life was simpler there. Cook food, spend time with your family, stop and smell fresh air, make time for daily prayers, non-stop games for us kids!! Once a month there used to be a movie show on big screen in the middle of the village main street. The days were awesome. I wish we could go back to those days where we could lesser expectations and be content with our lives. No themed birthdays, no big parties no big houses or flashy cars and still people were very happy.

But we cannot turn back the clock and go back to that era. Things have changed so much that probably village life might not suit me. But surely, I can find out a way to make my life simpler, relieved of so many entanglements, expectations, deadlines and task masters. Find out ways to make my life simple to get more me-time.

Minimalist living: Chaos vs order

Talking about decluttering, minimalism and simple living is easy but when it comes to actual implementation, then it becomes a tad bit difficult. We need order in our life to stay sane but we keep choosing chaos, as it is the easier way out.  Minimalist living is always a game of chaos vs order! And here are the reasons why I find it difficult to choose!

Decluttering kids’ things

I start cleaning my kids cupboards. I find messy coloring sheets, some awesome diary made up of chits filled with utter nonsense. There are hundreds of letters written to friends and not delivered, work in progress of greeting cards and half made poetry. I will find an entire acrylic color bottle tumbled on the color sheet, chits of prospective quizzes and what not!! My immediate thoughts are – few years down the line, my kids might leave this house (for whatever reason – higher studies, living alone, etc). Then these things might be something I would want to hold on to. Should I really be throwing them away?

Decluttering my own things

Then I think I will have better luck cleaning my own cupboard. There I stumble upon old greeting cards, couple of diaries, an old dress that actually does not belong to me but my sister, extremely old scarf from my mother, single ear rings stored only for the memories they are attached with, letters from my best friend, an old-never-ever-throw-away key chain gifted by a dear friend, an old school book, report cards and again what not? Everything has a memory attached to it. Can I declutter these memories? Do I crave that simple life, where none of this is available?

Decluttering family owned things

I turn to kitchen which is my mother in law’s arena. I find many things those have absolutely no use and can be easily thrown away. But then she starts with the stories attached to each of them with a sparkle in her eyes and we forget that we are sitting there to decide about decluttering.

When I go for shopping, may it be a dress or groceries, sometimes I do feel like giving in to my desires and buy extremely unnecessary items or quantities! Its a proof that I can be crazy sometimes, its a proof that I am after all a human.

Relationships can give you immense baggage of all the time. So that is my biggest doubt – can you be a minimalist in any relationship? Can you declutter unwanted relationship and keep only the ones you want? Probably not!! Coz this is life!!

I have insisted on reducing clutter from the house as much as possible, which is absolutely true. But it cannot be at the cost of these memories. I need to create a balance between chaos and order. I need to learn that order is not always simple and better way of living, sometimes chaos is much better!!

So, how do I simplify my life?

I learnt how to do this from Marie Kondo and her book of ‘The Life changing Magic of Tidying up

1. Declutter to simplify your life:

When I went to Europe, even after lots of deliberations, I carried two big bags and sacks and purse. We had a hard time carrying all that baggage, cleaning up and packing and repacking whenever we had to leave hotel. I learnt the hardest lesson of my life. All the things we carried with us was not very necessary. Also applies to the things which I like to keep at my home, as they go on piling up and make my task of home cleaning messy and difficult. I need to learn decluttering as a tool to simplify my life. Just imagine the me-time I would get if I could declutter my time as well!

2. Scheduling priority tasks:

I need to identify unnecessary and redundant tasks using the time of my day and need to declutter it from my task list. I need to learn to schedule my day to make time for priority tasks and ignore the low priority items taking up unnecessary time of my day. Also, it would avoid overbooking my calendar.

Make most of your me-time by scheduling fun activities on Think Me-time android app! Download Think Me-time mobile app from Google Playstore

3. Crowd management:

Same logic applies to people too. Few people add no value to your life. In fact, they are nothing but nuisance. You need to stop taking crap from them and if possible declutter them from your life. The crowd you keep goes a long way in deciding how your future is going to shape up.

4. Never a Perfectionist:

Perfectionism is a mirage and never within reach. Because as soon as you achieve step 1, you strive for step 2 and then 3 and 4. There is no end to perfectionism. So, I need to be realistic about expectations from me. It is also ok to cut a break sometimes.

5. Master of all trades:

The world long back moved from ‘Jack of all trades’ to ‘Master of all trades’. You never seem to win the race as there’s always something else which you need to master. It took me a lot of time to understand that there is no point in running behind everything. However hard you try you cannot be everything to everyone. Through mindful me-time, I decided to focus on what I wanted from life and just be myself. Life really simplified for me.

6. Find simple joys to simplify your life:

My daughter teaches me on regular basis how to find joys in simple things in life. A small incident, small favours, small achievements – and she is ecstatic. Why can’t we find happiness just like that? I noted that there is no need to plan an elaborate dinner date to find time with my husband. A cup of coffee on the favourite spot in the house will do the trick.

It is easier to avoid buying two more dresses than to go through the stress of timely delivery, making place for that stuff in my wardrobe and on the top of that remember that I have to pay my credit card bill at the end of the month so schedule my finances accordingly. That’s a hell lot of stress for just two dresses!!

This also applies to some stuff I purchase for kitchen pantry – it might be a pasta sauce which I think I might need sometime soon but I end up using it (mostly to finish it off) after almost 9 months or so. So apart from paying for that I stuff, I carry additional stress of how to finish it off.

I agree sometimes these complications might make life happening, but most of times it does not! We need to adopt minimalist lifestyle to make our lives simpler. It is about measuring what makes life worthwhile. Use your me-time to find it out.

Understanding that less is the new sexy is how you simplify your life!

What do you think?

Read Part 2 of our Decluttering guide here!

Happy decluttering!

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