4 Easy Ways To Spring Clean Your Entire Existence
Declutter for 2018.
We might still be in the midst of winter, but January is the perfect month to kick-start the spring cleaning. And before you freak out wondering how da fuq you're supposed to lift the years-old chocolate stains from your carpet, or actually get round to putting up those IKEA shelves, don't stress. Those are tasks for A* spring-cleaning students only.
What we're really talking about here is decluttering – your entire existence. If you're trundling through the day-to-day feeling constantly overwhelmed, as if tripping over a tiny crack in the sidewalk might catapult you into full-scale existential meltdown, you're not alone. This Forbes survey found that nearly 20 percent of women under 35 feel “chronically overwhelmed” and we wouldn't be surprised if that figure has risen sharply since.
Taking the time to do a little bit of organization is essential for your mental well-being – especially when you've resurfaced from the festive period with no grasp of what day it is, why the mornings are suddenly so dark and what the fuck you are even doing with your life anyway. And before you start feeling overwhelmed merely at the mention of the word O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-E, it's all about starting small, until you create the headspace to make bigger life changes. Here are four simple ways to get started.
Declutter your bag
Do you know why tote bags were invented? To haul heavy blocks of ice. To tote literally means “to carry” – like, fucking everything. If you're a diehard toter, chances are you don't love your handbag merely for the fact it's Balenciaga. You're hauling around your whole life in that thing. Baggage much?
A cluttered bag says as much about you as your questionable browsing history; it says, I have a fear of being caught short. If reaching into your purse is like dipping your hand into a dumpster – the place where half-eaten biscuits, crumpled receipts and unsent birthday cards go to die – just think how chaotic the inside of your head must look.
It's actually incredibly liberating to carry less – both physically and mentally. Instead of going about your day as if you've got a ball and chain dangling from your elbow, decluttering your bag will teach you that you needn't rely on anything but yourself (and the absolute essentials). “Tidy house, tidy mind” can really apply to any of your immediate spaces, your car, desk and bag included.
Tip out the contents of your bag and get rid of everything you can – especially those things you know you'll be able to pick up on the go if you really need them. If your bag doesn't already have loads of handy compartments, get yourself a couple of zip-up pouches: one to neatly organize your tech and chargers and one for make-up and stationary essentials.
Declutter your to-do list
Think of your to-do list like your outfit. Is piling on tons of accessories just because you can going to make it look any better? Probably not. In fact it'll likely do the opposite. When it comes to to-do lists it's equally easy to get carried away – gotta have some outlet for that sloppy tangle of brain spaghetti, amirite?
Jotting down everything you want to achieve in the next week, month or year on the same page is a one-way street to Overwhelmedsville, and totally counterproductive. Put that to-do list on a diet; slim it right down to just a few essential tasks per day, number them by priority and give yourself a realistic time frame for each of them. For example, instead of writing “reply to emails,” write who you're going to respond to and how long you're going to spend doing it.
A few tasks, well done, will always beat double the amount of half-arsed rush jobs and you'll have a much better chance of holding onto your sanity. Pro tip: throw out the term 'to-do' altogether; the real boss bitches in life have action plans.
Declutter your friends list
Both in the virtual world and the real world. If browsing through your Facebook timeline feels like taking a stroll through the Upside Down – nothing but ugliness, negativity and anxiety – you probably need to do something about that, especially if you're compulsively spending hours on there per day (tut tut).
Remove, or at least unfollow, anything that makes you feel like crap, whether it's your school mate's unsolicited political opinions, the loved-up ex that's tormenting you, the supermodel whose body you long to morph into or the selfie-addicted acquaintance you can't help but feel sorry for. The same goes for Instagram, obviously – and while you're at it, clear out the clutter of pages or publications that you rarely even engage with. That social media fucks with your mental health is practically scientific fact. Choose to take an active stance to your online consumption and we guarantee you'll feel much better.
You could probably do with trashing some of your real-life “friends” too. Never feel obliged to spend time with people you honestly don't value that much. Prioritize your real friends, and in-the-flesh connection to them. Actively organize your social life and take the power back into your own hands. It's your life, after all.
Declutter your headspace
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New Year's resolutions are utter bull. It's great that you're thinking about what you'd like to accomplish over the next 12 months, but if you're feeling more confused than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles about your 2018 #LifeGoals, putting pressure on yourself this way won't help your cause in the slightest. When your mind is clogged up with conflicting ideas about your future, “decision paralysis” usually sets in.
First off, forget about silly societal conventions, others' expectations or unhealthy self-comparisons; you're not living anyone else's life but yours. Realize that by following 'extrinsic' motivators, such as a high salary, your parents' hopes for your career, or impressing your mates, you'll likely end up procrastinating on those goals – and if you do accomplish them, you probably won't feel as satisfied as you'd hoped. 'Intrinsic' motivators such as following your true passion, being creative, helping others or traveling are much more likely to propel you into a more exciting, productive and successful direction in life.
In short, focus on what's really important to you and the white noise that's been overwhelming your headspace for so long will begin to transform into the most harmonious of mental melodies. Who knew spring cleaning could feel so satisfying?
Next up, here's how to overcome your social anxiety.
Preview images via @emilielilja , top image via feelfreeartz.blogspot.de/20