A Year of Mindfulness – 31 – Decluttering

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

Woohoo! Sing it from the rooftops, finally a task that I did and enjoyed. This week is much better than last week’s task! Week 31 (w/c 24th August) – the week of mindful decluttering! Now this is a task I can get on board with!

This week’s task was about making things nice and tidy. The idea was that a cluttered home or workspace can slow down productivity and promote disorganisation. I was to sort through the items on my desk and tidy items in my home to create a sense of order and calm. The exercise should merge orderliness with creative thinking and breed clarity and satisfaction in my daily life.

Now if there’s one thing you probably don’t know about me, it’s that by nature, I am very messy (messy – not dirty – there’s a difference!). My Mum will tell you and anybody else who’ll listen how she has never met anybody as messy as me. Of course, my Mum is a bonafide clean freak. The family home is like a showhome, everything has its place and if so much as a hair of mine falls onto the floor, the mop is straight out and my Mum is frantically rushing round to clean up the ‘absolute pigsty’ that I’ve turned the place into. When I go home for a weekend, she can’t bring herself to open my bedroom door, because it is apparently too stress-inducing. She revels in telling her friends just how disgracefully messy I am, which is often followed by the contemplation (and subsequent final decision) that my offensive untidiness is absolutely a form of rebellion to a constrained childhood in a tidy house.

What can I say? A creative needs their outlet.

Anyway, contrary to what my Mum would have you think, I love tidying up. I am messy, I’ll give her that, but I’m now starting to think I am messy so I can experience the sheer joy and calm that can only come from tidying a cluttered environment. Is there anything more therapeutic than a newly tidy space? I think not.

I’ve been really busy lately and even I’ll admit that my house, until this weekend, has looked like an actual pigsty. As I broach my last day in my full-time job right at the start of the single most busiest point of the year, the workload has increased dramatically. At the same time, my writing job workload has also increased, so it’s left little time for doing anything else. I’ve abandoned ship, let the 50,000 mounds of washing needing to be put away mount up and the dog is having a field day with every toy she owns out all over the show. So this week’s task was extremely welcome, and declutter I did!

The idea was that I take each item that was going to be put away and consider what it does, how it helps me, how it arrived in that position and where the best place for it would be. I began with my desk. I picked up the empty mug with remnants of coffee in and asked myself how it arrived in that position and where the best place for it would be. It was empty, so obviously, the best place for it would be the sink, or better yet, the draining board once it’s been cleaned. So I moved it to my window ledge, because, well, one thing at a time! The next things I picked up were a load of papers, my journal, a book, a notebook, 3 pens, a pencil, five kirby grips, a necklace, a lip balm and some allergy eye drops (that’s a story for a whole other time!). They definitely didn’t all need to be out on my desk where I work, but when I’m in the zone, I just lose concept of my own untidiness. I recall a work colleague (who was extremely tidy and minimal – neurotically so!) looking at my desk in sheer horror one day back when life was spent working in an office, finding himself aghast and disgusted by how I was working with so much clutter on my desk. He is the type to have literally a computer, keyboard, mouse and nothing else, so it really got to him.

Throughout the week, I decluttered a lot of different things in my house. I tidied some drawers which stress me out every time I need something because there’s too much in the way of fake tans, tanning mits, make up and other beauty products in there for me to ever find anything. I decluttered my bathroom cupboards, my wardrobe, and cleaned and tidied my house generally. I felt like a different person at the end of it, and I swear my productivity since doing so has been through the roof.

I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s task and it’s definitely one that’s more a way of life than just a mindfulness challenge task. There was a show on Netflix I watched a few years back, called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and it was so valuable that it’s stuck with me since. Granted, I need to actually apply it more often, but I really resonate with the principles of it and this task further supports the concept. I really recommend you try this task yourself – start small, with a drawer or something similar, then keep increasing.

Less really is more!

See you next week!


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