Spring Cleaning for The Mind: Decluttering for Better Mental Health

Spring is here!! Flowers are blooming, days are getting brighter and longer; No better time to channel our inner Elsa, and let some stuff go! The clutter, baggage, hurts, uncertainties… “let it go Sis!” – Free up some space for bigger and better things.Step into the new season feeling FRESH.  I mean they don’t call it the “Season of Rebirth” for nothing! 

Initially I planned to do a “spring cleanse series”, which would spread throughout spring, with each blog focusing on a specific area of clutter (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and so forth). However, when i pulled out my laptop to start writing, i was hit with a tornado of mind clutter I did not expect.As a result, “cleanse series” needed to be parked. What showed up was loud. Loud  enough for me to stop in my tracks and take some inventory of my emotions. To be frank, I thought I was attending to myself enough- I suppose some things show up on their own time, and demand you address them!

I have since sat with the mess – fussed about it, prayed over it, and took some time to sort it all out – Ultimately, managing to pick up the dustpan and dust it all away. Poof-poof Gone – Easy breezy!  And , Of course, I am here to share some of the process with you. I hope it can motivate you to do some dusting of your own.  

I do wish there was a magic wand we can just wave around to get squeaky clean this Spring. Unfortunately, we gotta roll up our sleeves and get to work the old fashion way. I also hope for us to stay polished and shiny for seasons to come. I mean it’s ok to be a little messy by choice but the, involuntary mess we are dragging around gots to go!

Physical Clutter: The Power of Letting Go!

Over the past few years (maybe 5),  I have gotten really good at letting go of physical clutter. Anything that no longer serves me is deemed clutter- and I have no issue tossing it to the side. However, I understand this isn’t the case for everyone. STUFF can really have a serious hold on people. Whether it is sentimental attachment, a fear of letting go, or other psychological attachments-  it’s important to find effective solutions, or the proper help needed to minimize physical clutter. It is also important to mention the direct correlation between the state of our  mental wellbeing and how it can manifest into physical clutter.

It’s a no-brainer that accumulating clutter can get overwhelming, and create a sense of chaos/disorganization in our lives. Which can lead to mental clutter, making it extremely difficult to focus and feel calm. It can also be challenging to find the items we need in a cluttered space, leading to more frustration and wasted time. 

Although this blog will mostly focus on mental clutter, I want to touch up on a few simple steps I find useful to help keep my physical space free of clutter (on the good days). I am not one of those naturally organized freaks (damn you people), I aspire to be you someday, but for now I often find myself referring back to these 4 simple steps:

KISS (Keep It Simple & Small) 

I am all for simplicity and want to avoid getting overwhelmed as much as possible. Pick a small area of focus (closet, desk, bed etc.) and set a timer if needed (5, 10, 15 mins) and tackle a given area for the time you’ve set for yourself. You get the point-  K-I-S-S! I know what you’re thinking, obviously I think very highly of you so relax- the “S” is for Small. 

The 4 Box Method ( Keep, Unsure, Donate, Toss)

This one is self explanatory, and a decent  way to help you categorize items. Hopefully this helps the decision-making process a lot less overwhelming. Just remember that after you divide what goes where, you must follow through accordingly. 

Channel your inner Marie Kondo

Is your “Keep” box is the only one with items? Sis – this is not how this game is played! Smh – I guess the box method isn’t your thing  – so let’s invite MK to the clutter party (it’s kinda her thing) and she’ll be asking you  if the  item you’re holding “sparks joy!?”- if you’re anything like me and -Joy- is an overcommitment for a piece of shirt – just ask yourself if the item serves you in some way? – if the answer is No– it’s time to let it go! Even a “maybe” is a toss for me- but, hey  that’s just me. You do you!- I am already asking for too much – I know!

Create a System and Stick to it!

We’re getting Tidy this spring, but we plan on staying polished! remember? We want to be shiny and sparkling for seasons to come. The amount of sparkle will depend on the individual, but revisiting these 4 steps as often as possible is the minimum requirement. This can involve creating a designated place for items, regularly purging unnecessary items, and scheduling. The more we get into a routine of decluttering and tidying up the less tasking the process becomes. Therefore, it’s important to establish habits and systems to maintain a clutter free physical space. 

We can’t escape physical clutter because it’s often staring us straight in the face, sometimes knocking us over the head. Hopefully, the steps above are simple enough to help you keep your clutter slightly under control. Now that we can see where we’re going, let’s get to the clutter that’s hidden from our eyesight. 

How cluttered  is your mental space? And what extra baggage are you bringing into this new season?

This Spring we’re not just cleaning our homes, we’re going a step further to declutter our minds. By taking some time to declutter our minds, we can reduce stress, increase focus, and boost our overall well-being. I’ve also recently learned that April is Stress Awareness month so the timing feels just right. 

Personally, looking after my mental health is a very important aspect of my self care routine. When I first sat down to write this blog or something like it, I realized how I’ve been juggling so much all at once. Brainstorming ideas for this blog gave me some insight and has helped me to really pull up my sleeves to declutter my own life. Five plus weeks and some serious decluttering later, I feel happier, lighter and ready for the change in season. Hopefully this can act as a reminder for you to take inventory of your own spring cleaning needs. Let’s get right into it!

Pack Light: Unpacking Emotional Baggage

Are you tired of carrying around baggage from the past? I hear you- but, it’s time to let it go! Trust me, baggage is so last season. Let’s start our deep cleaning journey with decluttering the baggage that’s weighing us down.

First order of business – Unpacking!  shall we? It’s time to open up the heavy suitcase and identify every item that’s inside. Each item represents an emotion you’ve been tossing to your suitcase and letting it pile up. That grudge you’ve been holding onto, the hurt, resentment, disappointment, pain and the old story you keep telling yourself ? it’s all there! – SO, what are you waiting for? Get in there – time to acknowledge the pile and ask yourself why it’s still there. Now, one by one we’re going to identify what’s in the suitcase and feel the emotion that shows up for each item. Don’t be afraid to cry, scream, toss, rip, punch the air – whatever you need to do to let your emotions out, Do it- Show that stuff who’s in charge!

I recently realized that I was blocking some of the blessings that were showing up in my life because I haven’t fully released some things from my past. I needed to tackle some emotions around pain, hurt and guilt,  in-order to fully open myself up to new and exciting experiences. Dwelling on what was, or could- have- been just prolongs the work needed to move forward. So bring yourself to the present moment and find ways to help you release the hold these emotions have on you. With every release you are to feel -light as a feather.-

I know decluttering baggage that’s been around for sometime may not be an overnight job, but regular unpacking can help keep it light. If we put in the time and effort needed we can create the space we need for all the exciting things that await us! So what do you say we let go of old baggage and step into a new season of life feeling cleansed!? I am all for it.

Purge the Mind Free the Soul

I bet your mind is overflowing with information. I mean if you’re with us in the 21st century it’s very much unavoidable. The internet, social media, news, friends, apps, ChatGPT, aliens, you name it, the list goes on and on. But luckily we also have various apps and good old notepads, to write or journal what’s on our minds. So how about it? let’s –WRITE IT DOWN! I can not emphasize this enough – Our brain has limited capacity to remember and if we are overwhelming it with ongoing information, thoughts, and ideas, it will eventually lead to some serious fatigue and overwhelm. Take if from a recovering over thinker, shit gets real! real toxic that is.

The ability to write down all that’s in our minds will relieve our brain from acting as data storage and free up space for us to actually think and connect with ourselves. This is proven science people! I am telling you, the simple task of purginging our thoughts or as the cool kids call it “brain dumping” can result in boosting our creativity and productivity ten fold. Which makes further decision making a breeze! I think this one is a Keep, What do you think?

Just Say NO: Protecting Time & Energy

Saying NO can be difficult, but it’s a skill we can develop overtime and it’s necessary. Especially to the people pleasers amongst us. “Time” is  precious and we must try to use it accordingly, so collect all the time/energy vampires, and toss them where they belong -In the Trash! If you find yourself agreeing with people and things you aren’t too thrilled about, it’s time to set some boundaries.Setting limits on what you cannot do, will help you prioritize the important things in your life. Resulting in stronger relationships, better health, and less STRESS!

Stress Free season is where it’s at!

Stop scrolling! No, keep reading this blog, I mean stop scrolling on instagram and all its cousins! I know it’s hard, but saying NO to your bad habits is just as important as setting boundaries with others. Cut down the time you’re spending on social media – the excessive use is damaging your mental well-being. I am sure this is not news to you but, I believe discipline is within your reach. Yes- you can say NO to excessive scrolling and learn to maintain a healthy relationship with technology why? because you care about your well-being and you simply CAN!  Don’t come for me –  I just have blind belief in your ability to say NO, that’s all!

Remember, saying NO is not a negative thing! However it is important to identify your values and priorities in order to stand firm in your Nos’. Avoid overwhelming your calendar with tasks, instead carve out time to simplify and make space for some You Time. Once you come to terms with the power of your NOs, and the positive impact it will  have on your mental health, you’ll never look back.So this spring season we are saying  NO to time wasters, and instead attending  to ourselves, and prioritizing what truly matters to us. 

Meditation: Finding Zen in Chaos

It’s only appropriate to mention MEDITATION when discussing decluttering the mind! Because taking inventory of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being depends on our ability to look inward and asses our state of being. And meditation can help us understand where we are currently and where we want to go. Yes, it is a lifetime practice and it may not be something we conquer overnight, but we’re not trying to be experts here ( I mean if you’re one of the overachievers) Hello! but for the rest of us, let’s not get too caught up in the grandiosity of the word. Trust me you can find suitable ways to incorporate some form of meditation in your life (plenty of resources out there). A simple 5-10 minutes practice of scanning our bodies, staying grounded, and letting go of distracting thoughts can reduce stress, and declutter our mind from a state of chaos to a state of peace.Meditation can be a powerful method to help declutter the mind. Find a practice that works for you.

I can not mention Meditation without Gratitude. A regular practice of gratitude for what’s keeping us together even in our mess, is  a great way to ground ourselves and invite more blessings into our lives this spring season.  I don’t know about you but I can do with more Blessings- Thank you Lord!

All Roads Lead to…FUN

We have meditated, set some boundaries, emptied our baggage, and purged our feelings. – The only thing left to do now is to pat ourselves on the back, jump for joy as we step outside for some fresh Spring Air. Hopefully you will be greeted with some sunshine on your way out. It’s nearing the end of April and we’re still awaiting  the sun here in Vancouver –  So if you got some, Please share!   It’s the right thing to do for deep cleaning alongside you this spring. Who am I kidding? – I LOVE Cleaning! –  I hope the decluttering journey has been useful for you as it has for me.

What new and exciting adventures are you inviting into your life this season!?