WHY A CLUTTER-FREE LIFE IS AN INTENTIONAL LIFE
Clutter-free living is about defining what’s important, simplifying the excess and making intentional decisions about what to let into your life and what to keep out. In this article I’m sharing my thoughts on why a clutter-free life is an intentional life and 7 examples of living intentionally with less.
Decluttering is the first step that many of us take when we look to explore our homes. Clearing the excess stuff that takes up space in our living environment can often give us benefits that we both see and feel. Less stuff to move, tidy, clear away and more physical space, greater calm and more peace.
Decluttering our stuff often leads us onto clearing the clutter in our lives, paving the way for more time, more ease, more direction and fulfilment and less stress.
MAKING INTENTIONAL CHOICES
The act of clearing our clutter and making slow, steady, simple little changes in our lives is a process. It’s not all about checklists and following instructions. It’s about knowing what we want – to keep, to let go and making small changes every day to honour these decisions.
A clutter-free life is an intentional life. That’s why so many of us in the simplicity and minimalist lifestyle community talk about intentional living. Intention is the mindful, quiet but driving force behind choosing less to live more.
CLUTTER-FREE AND INTENTIONAL LIVING
If you’re just starting out decluttering your life, swapping busy and complex for simpler and freer, I encourage you to think about the clutter in your life differently. Not just in throwing stuff out as quickly as possible and hoping for the best, but really exploring what clutter means to you. What does it hold you back from and how you can find ways to be free of it, for the long term.
WHY A CLUTTER-FREE LIFE IS AN INTENTIONAL LIFE
To help you understand more about the relationship between clutter-free and intentional living, here are 7 examples of living intentionally with less. I hope they help you clarify your own feelings towards clutter and how you can stay clutter-free going forward.
1. Identifying what’s important
Decluttering is a process of getting rid of the clutter in your life. It’s about deciding what’s worth keeping and what it’s better to let go of. Every time you pick something up and consider whether or not it’s clutter, you’re asking yourself, is this important to me or not. Is it important because you love it or want it? Is it purposeful or does it contribute in a meaningful way? Does it support you to be the best ‘you’ you can be? Does it value or enhance your life in some way? Clutter that just distracts, confuses or gets in the way of all these things is usually stuff that you can let go of. It’s an intentional choice of what to keep in and what to keep out.
Related post: What is clutter: 7 ways to think about your stuff
2. Doing less
Clutter isn’t just the stuff that takes up space in your home. It could be the stuff that takes time in your schedule. Too many activities and commitments in your diary takes you away from the people, experiences, memories, opportunities and things that mean the most to you. We all only have 24 hours in a day.
If you feel your day is stuffed to the brim but you go to bed at night exhausted but unfulfilled, perhaps it’s time to re-look at your schedule. Intentionally choose to invest your time wisely, don’t be afraid to cancel or postpone things if you’re feeling overstretched and learn to appreciate the value of being less busy and what that could open up for you in other ways.
Related post: Why we should slow down sometimes
3. Mindful spending
One of the best ways of staying clutter-free is to buy less. We all have to shop sometimes but aimless spending because we’ve been swayed by red bargain signs or we need a quick mood-booster just fills our homes with stuff and empties our bank accounts.
Before you hit the shops or the ‘buy now’ button, consider whether you really need that item and why. A clutter-free life is not a life with no shopping but it is a life of intentional, mindful shopping.
Related post: Minimalism and shopping
4. Creating good habits
Habits are powerful things. They’re little acts repeated often that help us achieve great things. Whether it’s hanging your coat on the hook as you come in the front door, or getting up a little early to carve some quiet-time out of your day, small habits make big things happen. A clutter-free home and life is definitely made easier by adopting some healthy habits – ones that serve and support us well.
The more you do them, the more you can build on them and over time see the huge benefits that small changes to your daily routine and mindset can bring. You begin to intentionally choose more of the habits that contribute meaningfully and become more aware of the bad habits that pull you off course and remove you from the life that you’re wanting to create.
Related post: 24 simple daily habits to make life easier
5. Gratitude and appreciation
Before I began decluttering my over-stuffed life, I was too busy chasing, doing, achieving and knocking things off my seemingly endless To Do list. I thought I’d be happy when I received the promotion, planned the holiday, bought the bag, booked my children in for every baby and toddler group going. Of course, I wasn’t happier, I was more stressed out, tired and wired but I was still collecting things and activities because that was what I thought I should be doing. I’d become caught up in the chase and stopped thinking about the life I really wanted and what I actually needed to make that take shape.
Decluttering my life helped me clear the way for creating my best life, but it had another welcome side-effect. I began to notice the little things, appreciate what I already had and stopped chasing more. When I stopped chasing, I began living in the present and felt happier, less stressed and more fulfilled because of it.
Related post: How to enjoy the little things
6. Focus and being present
Gratitude and appreciating what I already had also helped me be more present. I’m no longer chasing, I’ve slowed down, deliberately given myself less to do (or tried to as much as possible!). This means I can play with my kids, enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts here on the blog, listen to whatever my body and mind needs, without rushing to tick things off my list or be all things to all people.
I can be more focused, less distracted, and be fully present in both body and mind. I’ve stopped multi-tasking so much and, to name a few examples, the quality of my work, my relationships, my parenting and my website (in my humble opinion anyway!) has improved.
Related post: 10 ways to reduce distractions
7. Letting go
Busy, modern life is a barrage of signals telling us to buy more, do more, achieve more, be more. In determining what was important to me through decluttering my home and then my life, I learnt to define my priorities, slow down and practised the art of being mindful, present and grateful. All these points which I’ve mentioned above, were made possible by becoming comfortable with letting go.
I let go of the pull of consumerism, of fear of missing out, of conforming or living up to the expectations of others. I let go of trying to meet my own unrealistic standards and meeting unrealistic targets. I let go of old decisions that no longer supported me.
I learnt to let go by making space to breathe and room to grow. Space in my home by letting go of stuff that took up my floor space, shelves and my time, stuff in my schedule that stretched me too thin and stuff in my mind that caused fuzziness rather than focus. These were intentional decisions to let go and love, learn and laugh more.
Related post: 5 things to let go of to simplify your life
RESOURCES FOR INTENTIONAL LIVING
Here are some helpful articles and resources to support your clutter-free, intentional life:
- How to set goals that really count – explore how to set goals that you’re likely to keep
- 4 clutter-busting daily routines – to keep your home clutter-free (without the hassle)
- Maximise Your Time – my popular little course for those of us who struggle with saying no, slowing down and managing our time effectively
AND NOW IT’S YOUR TURN…
If clutter-free, intentional living is speaking to you, but you’re not sure where or how to begin, I have something for you!
Pop your details in the box below to receive my free download to help you declutter your home, schedule, heart and mind.