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7 Steps to a Less Cluttered Life

7 Steps to a Less Cluttered Life

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits has created a list of steps to help you declutter your life. Babauta breaks down why we keep clutter around for so long, as well as reasons why we should get rid of it. Many people attempt to rid their lives of the small objects that quickly pile up on coffee tables, kitchen counters, and desks, but feel overwhelmed and give up too easily. As Babauta says, “These steps won’t get your home decluttered in a weekend. But you can enjoy the first step, and then the second, and before you know it you’ve taken 30 steps and your home is transformed.”

  1. Start small. One of the reasons that people get overwhelmed when attempting to organize their lives is that they try to take on too much too quickly. Starting with simplifying one area will make the task seem much more doable.
  2. Work in chunks. This is to say that you should work with the time that you have. If you know that you’ll only have 10-15 minutes a day during the week to work on your organization, then stick to that. But if you have a few free hours on Saturday afternoon, use that time to accomplish some clutter busting.
  3. Follow a simple method. Find a system that works for you and stick to it. Babauta suggests putting things to be sorted in a pile and working through it by deciding whether to get rid of an item or keep it. If he chooses to keep it, he must find a specific place for it and put it there. This system seems easy to follow and simple, but if there is another way that works better for you, then go with that.
  4. Put stuff in your trunk. Once you’ve cleared out everything that you will no longer keep, put it somewhere so that you will remember to take it to a donation site or the dump.
  5. Talk to anyone involved. Make sure that everyone living in your space (house, apartment, etc.) understands why you’re doing this, and definitely don’t throw away or donate anything belonging to them without asking first. You can ask them for help with the project, but understand that they may not cooperate, especially right away. Be patient with those around you.
  6. Notice your resistance. Take note of the types of items that you are reluctant to get rid of. Babauta says that “You can give in to the resistance, but at least pay attention to it.” It is completely normal to form emotional attachment to certain objects, and getting rid of these can be tough.
  7. Enjoy the process. Viewing something as a chore is never a good way to ensure that you will do it. Focus on the positive way that organization and decluttering makes you feel, and this task will seem more fun.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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