Declutter Your Mindset, You Can Declutter Your Home
It wasn’t so long ago that I felt like a spiraling mess of disaster. With 3 young kids, a full-time job, and our farming operation, I couldn’t get a handle on the chaos in our home. I fed my family more convenience foods, was consistently (by this, I mean always) behind in laundry and housework, and inside, I was going crazy. My mindset wasn’t in the right place.
I had a habit of shoving items into closets to get them out of sight. But it didn’t stop the guilt or overwhelm of knowing that I’d have to deal with the closets eventually. I was always on edge and never completely able to relax, even when my house appeared to be clean on the surface.
I had always told myself that my time was better spent with my kids. Did an orderly house really matter? And while I still believe that spending time with my kids when they’re young is super important, I realize now that I wasn’t giving my entire self to them because the mess unhinged me. My mind was as cluttered as our house was.
What is a cluttered mind?
When I say a cluttered mind, I mean that there’s a whole lotta stuff going on in our brains at one time. Like a junk drawer. Mental clutter makes it difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time. So no matter what we’re doing or who we’re with, we’re thinking of a million other things – which means we’re never fully present.
That was the big kicker for me. How can I be the best mother and wife I can be if I’m always sidetracked by the kitchen counters covered with mail, the kids’ artwork, and the other random things that get set there throughout the day? Or the endless baskets of laundry hanging out in the living room? The clutter in my head was affecting more than just me. I needed a change in not only how I was handling the household chores but in my mindset.
How do we bring order to our headspace?
Like with most things, there’s a strategy to working through some of our self-created madness. Because our brains are complex machines, there’s not only one strategy that fixes it all. To bring true order to our minds, we need to focus on more than just our domestic organization skills. Here are a few mindset hacks to tame the mental disarray.
Focus on you – no more comparison to others
So much of our self-created anxiety and inner turmoil comes from how much we compare ourselves to others. And not ourselves in only the physical aspect, but in what our houses look like, the activities we do with our children, how put together we look. If there’s something to compare, we do it. There’s an entire flock of educated psychologists out there who agree, as do I.
Tune the noise out. Stop comparing the state of your house to those of your friends. Stop scrolling through Facebook and Instagram (remember those people are only showing their best of moments). Stop the hamster wheel of guilt and self-sabotage.
Instead, think about how you feel about everything–from the way your house looks and feels to you, how your relationships are with your kids and spouse, and to the time you give yourself each day just to be. If you’re not giving yourself a few minutes a day for only you, it’s no wonder your mind feels so cluttered! We all need a moment to decompress and get a handle on where we’re at with things.
It’s not selfish to focus on you. It’s the exact opposite. By making the time for yourself, you are giving yourself to the people you love the most. So sit for a moment with a coffee (or an adult beverage!) or take a walk, breathe deep, and focus on what makes you feel relaxed.
Breathe in, breathe out
A reminder to breathe sounds like a silly how-to tip, I know. Naturally, we breathe in and out. But when we are agitated and overwhelmed with life, we hold our breath. That has a direct impact on the rest of our bodies, and we feel the stress even more.
To gain a sense of control and counteract the mind clutter, pause, and breathe in and out. In and out. Until you are only thinking of the breath. Once you’re feeling calmer, return to the essential tasks, and I swear everything will feel more manageable. Whenever you feel anxiety coming on, use breathing to bring you back to what really needs to get done in the here and now.
Go one step at a time
I said essential tasks above for a reason. Because returning to focusing on everything that needs your attention will get you right back to those big feelings that caused your anxiety in the first place. Chip away at the metaphorical mountain one rock at a time. My 5-day declutter challenge helps narrow your focus to one area at a time. There’s even a printable to keep you on task!
Before you start, it’s helpful to write down everything you want to get done. Once it’s all laid out in front of you, take on one action at a time. When you feel yourself going in a direction off-task because you discover something else that needs to be done, write it down for later, and re-focus on the task at hand.
Gravitate toward gratitude
When we use an angle of gratitude to look at the surrounding things that cause us discomfort, it shines a new light on our perspective. Now, when I see a mess of toys in every room, I breathe deep and thank God that my husband and I are blessed with the means to provide toys to our children. Not everyone is so lucky.
When I don’t feel like making dinner, and when the pile of laundry feels like a burden, it helps to be grateful that we have enough clothes to wear and food to eat. I mean, I still don’t want to fold laundry, but it lessens the insult to injury when I realize my blessings.
On days when you feel overpowered, try using this trick of looking through the lens of gratitude. It’s funny how this simple, mindful act can spin a feeling of overwhelm into a different emotion.
Make a plan and stick to it
Everyone works a little differently, but I’ve found that when I create a plan helps maintain a calm mindset. Even when I have a billion things to do (because don’t we all?), a written out plan keeps a chaotic week more controlled. It’s never perfect, but armed with a plan, I’m typically able to keep my house reasonably organized and healthy meals prepped for my family.
Use this declutter checklist freebie to help you gain control around the house and keep you on task. If you can clear 15 minutes of your day for organizing and decluttering, you’ll be well on your way to a less chaotic home. Plan a time seasonally to go through this checklist, again and again, to keep clutter down.
What happens when we declutter our minds?
As mothers and wives, we become used to functioning with our cluttered minds. Outwardly, we may even look like we’ve got it all together. But it’s inside our brains that suffer, and therefore we’re focusing on decluttering the mindset. When we actively seek ways to bring order to the jumbled thoughts:
We get more done
We procrastinate less because everything feels more manageable. The ability to focus on one thing at a time, even when we have a laundry list of items to get to, becomes easier. We are even more gracious to ourselves when we don’t get it all done. Multitasking often creates enormous piles of half-finished work, which adds to the mind clutter. But a single-task focus helps us proactively manage our households better while keeping our cool at the same time.
We sleep better
How many times have you gone to bed only to lay there for a long time thinking about the things you need to get done? Or have woken up in the middle of the night and can’t stop the wheels from spinning?
It’s called stress-triggered insomnia, and it happens to the best of us. Simply relieve it by gaining back some mind control around our lives.
The ability to refocus your attention on you comes into play here. Knowing that connecting with your breath and pushing all the other thoughts out will help you get back to sleep in the middle of the night. You’ll wake up more rested and ready to take on the day.
We have more quality time with our families
When we have a plan to tackle tasks, give ourselves more downtime, and focus on gratitude, we allow more time with our family. And not the time where we have an internal tug-of-war going on either. Clearing the clutter physically and mentally will enable us to spend the time we always dreamed of before our kids were born—the kind when we are fully present, relaxed, and creating lifelong memories.
We think more positively
Negative thoughts tend to trail after cluttered thoughts. It’s easy to look around at a messy house and immediately come down hard on yourself for not staying on top of it all. That you aren’t enough. Negative thoughts and hard feelings toward family members may also rise if you feel they’re not pulling their weight.
When we embrace gratitude and create a plan, we linger less on the negative aspects and focus on the positive. It becomes more natural to see our world sunny-side up instead of gloom and doom. The outward benefit of this is excellent, too. Friends and family members will notice the difference in your disposition and be attracted to your positivity.
Help is always a click away
Does decluttering your mind sound great but you question how do you apply it to your situation? Having an outside perspective helps us see where we are stuck. My upcoming coaching sessions may be the perspective and accountability you need! In only 6 weeks, we will work together to define your long-term goals. We’ll outline the things that stand in your way. Shoot me an email to set up a free discovery call to make sure we are a fit for one another. Even if we aren’t a fit, you’ll walk away with one action step you can use to make some progress!
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