This blog is part of our “SUMMER STRESS DETOX!” Series.
Time to clear your slate—and start the summer season refreshed and revitalized. To that end, Experience Life has partnered with meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management system, to bring you this 8-part series on detoxing mind, body, and spirit. You’ll discover strategies for everything from rethinking your diet to clearing clutter and shifting your stress response so that you can feel lighter, cleaner, and healthier than ever.
WEEK 1: REASSESS & REMOVE
Step 2: Remove the Junk; Clear the Clutter
In step 1 of our month-long detox, you started to identify how thoughts are your #1 stress-inducing enemy, and how your response to your surroundings can make stress worse.
So let’s take a closer look at what is surrounding you, exactly.
Ask yourself the following:
- How do I feel when I look around my home? My workspace?
- What piles or other unaddressed items are taking up space?
- What am I hanging onto that I no longer need or want, but have a hard time getting rid of?
- What can I do to improve my working and living environments?
Declutter—and Detox Your Space
Taking some time early in the process to make some dramatic physical changes to your environment can kickstart your motivation. The immediate payoff of looking around your place and seeing a cleaner, more ordered space is incredibly energizing, as a detox should be, plus can make you feel far more in control of your home and your life.
Here’s how to get started.
- Set a timer. You can start with a drawer, a closet, or one area of your home that seems to be a clutter magnet—but set a timer. Start with 20 minutes and keep moving.
- Sort into three piles: Keep, Trash, and Donate. Whether it’s clothes you don’t wear or appliances you never use, figure out what to do with them and then make it a point to get them off the premises within two days. If you want to sell a few items on eBay or craigslist, post the ads immediately.
- Let go of the things you don’t love. It sounds like common sense, and yet there are likely lots of space-eating objects in your home that were either expensive mistakes or unwanted gifts that you feel bad about tossing. This is precisely the kind of thing to get rid of. If it makes you feel bad every time you look at it, that’s a toxic drag on the psyche. Re-gift, donate, or sell to someone who will make good use of it.
- Store it—temporarily. If you’re really on the fence about a few items, put them in a box in the garage or closet. If, after three months, you never seek it out, and can’t name what’s in it, out it goes.
- Make the decision today. Most piles that gather on a desk or table are there because you haven’t made a choice as to what to do with them—and you’re procrastinating. Make today the day you do what you must to get the paperwork, recycled, shredded, or filed away.
- Unsubscribe. Catalogs and magazines are big clutter culprits. Visit catalogchoice.org to unsubscribe from unwanted catalogs, and unsubscribe from e-newsletters you don’t read, or apply filters on your email so they don’t junk up the joint.
- Do a digital cleanup. It may not take up the same kind of space as a pile of mail, but the digital clutter on your desktop or unsorted emails are also a drain on your energy and time. Spend 15 minutes a day this week sorting, discarding, and filing whatever’s taking up space on your computer so you can streamline your workday.
Want to make an even more dramatic change? Take the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!