Many of us have calm meditative spaces we retreat to whenever possible. Some may take a little effort to reach like a mountain top, the edge of a canyon, or the center of a field of flowers. Others are closer to home like a harbor view, seat in the garden surrounded by nature, or on the rooftop under the stars.

These places are meant for escape and recharging yet it very often occurs that when we return back to our usual domains we’re drained almost immediately after walking through the door. Why? The claws of clutter or variations of it have us in a hold.

Clutter develops quickly, especially when there’s little time in our routine to keep things organized. It can also be a result of past accumulations from childhood that are stuffed in a loft, attic or basement but still have a knack for taking over homes. The good thing is even when the situation feels overwhelming it’s still possible to make a change.

The key is simply making an effort to sift through everything by taking out sentimental tchotchkes and other belongings that haven’t been looked at for years and distinguishing between what is and what isn’t expendable.

If this sounds easier said than done don’t fret. The following are a few mental exercises to keep in mind to help you through the process and hopefully draw the meditative space back into your life.

1. Lightening the load

This is it. This is the main focus because — let’s face it — in one way or another our possessions weigh us down and hold us back from some of life’s biggest decisions. For example, what if your job offered you the chance to move to a foreign country for a year or two but because of everything you’ve amassed it’s not possible. Or maybe you’ve wanted to take time off and travel but you need your income to pay for your oversized apartment which is partly acting as a storage room.

When the focal point is getting the most out of life the adrenaline starts pumping and downsizing comes a lot easier. Within a few short minutes you may discover emotional attachments to objects that once felt strong no longer exist. This means you’re taking the first steps towards lightening the load.

2. You can’t take it with you

Most of the time when we’re thinking about the future it’s regarding money, building a family, or making some type of investment. We don’t usually consider something like what’s going to happen to our belongings when our time is up in this world.

It’s a moribund thought but the truth is when it’s our time to go we can’t take that box of high school love letters or stitched up sweater with us. That’s why a good exercise for downsizing is to contemplate what ten or twenty things to put aside if you could take them with.

Doing so will help distinguish between nonessentials and what’s truly important.

3. Be an example

Many of us know how hard it is to scale things back because we’ve tried it over and over with both success and failure. At the core, though, is the desire to let it all go because we understand what a life changing experience it could be.

Take hold of this aspiration and be an example for others by following through on your convictions to clean out the vault. It can release personal burdens and show others if you can do it they can too.

4. Consider your health

Wrapped up in all of this is the state of our health as too much clutter breads dust and taints indoor air. It also creates unnecessary stress, especially when there are regular daily pressures from work and relationships to deal with.

That’s why if you need some extra inspiration to get through those boxes, bins, and closets consider how much happier and healthier you’d be after downsizing and de-cluttering your humble abode.

In the end you’ll be able to draw strength from this peaceful environment and use it for tackling some of life’s other challenges.

(Photo credit: Tall Pebble Stack via Shutterstock)

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