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Mindful : April 2015
Do you find yourself surrounded by too much stuff? Basement or attic brimming with things you haven’t used in years? Closets haunted by clothing from other eras? Have you rented a storage unit and filled it with stuff you never even look at? Enough! That stuff isn’t just cluttering your living space. It’s clogging up your mind. Here are suggestions for creating a clutter-free frame of mind and letting go of lots of stuff. Clear Out the Clutter 1 Create breathing room The result of decluttering can be more open space. You can create a space you enjoy being in, instead of feeling like you’re surrounded by Jenga towers and rats’ nests of stuff. Desig nate a space for noth- ing. It’s a refuge from chaos, and your home will feel more uplifted when you walk in. 2 Don’t dread it. Enjoy it. If you just keep focusing on how miserable a task it’s going to be to sort through and offload decades of junk that you and your partner and your children have collected from various life stages, you will never take it on. It will just nag at you. Instead, contemplate the joy of purg- ing your living space of the old moldy detritus of bygone days. It will be a load lifted. Letting go is a joy. 3 Take manage- able bites or make it a BIG project When you’re clear why you’re doing it—and how much fun it’s going to be—you can get down to business. It helps to figure out what strategy fits your situation. If you have a lot of responsibilities (chil- dren, ag ing parent, start-up company) it’s probably hard to get big blocks of free time, so it may make sense to tackle the mess project by project, closet by closet, spending a couple of hours at a time. But some of us will never finish the job unless we take it all on at once—fol- lowing Marie Kondo’s advice in the best-selling The Life- changing Magic of Tidying Up— and make it into a festival of decluttering. (You can combine both approaches: the bite-sized approach can be the prelude to a big final push.) Figure this out early on—so you do less planning and more doing. 4 Finda clutter buddy Trying to make tough deci- sions about whether to keep your daughter’s third grade art or the leash from the dog you had growing up? A friend can help you come to your senses and practice letting go. (If you have grown children, you can enlist them. If they want those old toys and board books, they’ll have to take them.) → 24 mindful April 2015 PHOTOGRAPHS:©BRENDACARSON,©MONSTERSPARROW,©LEUNGCHOPAN/DOLLARPHOTOCLUB how to live a mindful life 11ways to take time for what matters