How to Declutter Your Life and Improve Your Environment: Unfriend, Throw Out, & Delete
I want you to think back to all of those times you did a huge closet purge. The kind where you’re filled with rage and literally tear things off of the hangers – likely because you should have cleaned out your closet months ago. Or the time you cleared out your email inbox after leaving it for far too long. Or the time you stopped talking to a person because they no longer provided joy in your life. Now imagine how you felt after you did one of those things – relieved? Lighter? Below, we’re going to talk about why you need to unfriend, throw out and delete – and just how that can declutter your life and improve your environment.
Related Post: 50 Simple Things You Can do to Change Your Life
What I Mean When I Say Environment
I’m a firm believer that your internal environment and your external environment are extremely co-dependent on one another. Your external environment includes your living space, the people you surround yourself with, your career and the settings you choose to spend time in.
Your internal environment is your thoughts, your dreams, your affirmations, your feelings and emotions and your health. It is influenced by your external environment, as well as what you choose to consume (food, entertainment, social media, etc.)
In order for you to thrive, you need to have balance among your environments. If you are unhappy with your home or your job, that will directly impact how you feel internally. If you’re unhappy with your internal environment, you may seek out external settings and people that don’t enhance you nor support your wellness.
What Happens When We Let Things Pile Up
I’m sure you’ve heard of the show on TLC – Hoarding, Buried Alive. While I may talk about letting things pile up, I don’t necessarily always mean material possessions.
When we allow things to pile up in life, such as material possessions, unfinished business, items on the to-do list, it can create a sense of overwhelm and frustration. We all know it’s easier to deal with clutter, issues and problems when they start small. The bigger they grow, the more difficult it can be to process and develop a plan of action.
All of this to say – you’re not alone. Whether you’re a collector of things, the person with thousands of unread emails in their inbox, or the person who has one too many people in their life that need to go, you’re absolutely not the only one.
So Why Do We Do It?
It Overwhelms Us
Like I mentioned previously, it’s way easier to deal with things before they become a larger problem. It’s way easier to fold and put away one load of laundry instead of five, to delete 25 emails instead of 250, to end a friendship as soon as possible. Ya know, instead of dragging it out and looking for excuses and scrambling to cut it off – while letting it linger on that much longer.
Good Read: 5 Tips to Tackle Big Projects
We Want to Save Face
When you no longer want to have someone in your life, it can be a little awkward as you navigate the process to removing them. Whether it’s un-friending someone on social media, distancing yourself from a friend or co-worker or cutting yourself off from a toxic family member, the ties that are involved with the person can be a major factor in what stops you from wanting to go through with it.
We never intentionally want to make someone feel bad, and by putting this feeling above our own need of freedom, we end up putting ourselves on the backburner.
We’ve Become Emotionally Attached
It’s hard to let go of someone or something in your life that once was a source of great joy. Not everytime we need to declutter and remove someone or something it’s because they were a horrible thing, we just have grown and no longer have the use for nor energy to capacitate the thing or being.
Just as we can form emotional attachments to humans, we can also form similar attachments to our things, making them harder to part with even though we may no longer need them.
Change is Scary
Anytime you think of removing something from your life, you’re changing something about it. Changing our conditions and environments causes uncertainty in our lives, and naturally this feels uncomfortable.
We often think to ourselves we would rather be comfortable and unhappy with our surroundings just as they are, when realistically stepping out of our comfort zones benefits us most in the long run.
Good Read: How to Overcome the Fear of Change
Unfriend, Throw Out, Delete: How to Declutter Your Life and Improve Your Environment
Now that we understand the burden we place on ourselves by neglecting to deal with clutter (and why we do it!), we can start to fix it!. Below we go over what to unfriend, throw out and delete to declutter your life and improve your environment!
What you choose to consume on social media inherently affects how you feel. Whether you follow someone who makes you feel bad about yourself, keep an old friend from high school on social media who irritates you to no end, or get constantly blasted by a company and their sales and promotions, all of this is negatively affecting your thoughts and overall mindset.
Unfollow: any account on social media that doesn’t make you feel good, makes you feel feelings of shame towards yourself, makes you obsess over changing yourself to look more like them, or shames you for doing things that are crucial to your wellness and wellbeing.
Unfriend: anyone who posts content that you find doesn’t resonate with you at all, repeatedly shares negative thoughts and content, you find yourself annoyed by, or anyone that simply doesn’t provide what you want to see on social media.
Unfriend in Real Life Too
This goes beyond just people and accounts you interact with on social media. If someone in your life is is a constant source of negativity, no longer feels like someone you can talk to, causes feelings of negativity or annoyance in your life, it’s time to let them go.
The people you surround yourself with should for the most part be on your team and around to support you, as well as have shared interest and mindset points of view. Keeping someone in your life that is a source of your unhappiness or is toxic in anyway towards you will directly impact your wellbeing.
Distance Yourself: If you’re uncomfortable with direct confrontation, distancing yourself may be the better option. Being less readily available to respond and meet up protects you and your wellbeing. You do not owe anyone an explanation for how you need to take care of yourself.
Be Upfront: The other option you can take is to be direct with the person and explain where you’re coming from. Explain to them why you need a break/no longer want to see this person.
Helpful Reads: 7 Tips for Eliminating Toxic People From Your Life , Removing Toxic People From Your Life In 9 Steps , (and of course, for a laugh) The 5 Stages of Deleting Someone from Your Phone/Life
Ah yes – the physical clutter. This is the part where you need to come to terms with what you want to keep in your physical environment, and what needs to go. Whether it’s your closet, junk drawer, or boxes in the garage, holding onto physical clutter can have the same detriments as holding onto mental clutter. For a lack of better wording, it’s time to let that shit go.
Get Real With Yourself
The Why: why are you holding onto this clutter? Are you holding onto the feeling of using/wearing the object? Are you holding onto memories associated with this clutter? The powerful connection we can build with our objects can make it harder to throw away. You need to ask yourself whether you’re emotionally attached to this item or if you actually need the item.
Be Practical: Are you ever going to use this item again? Does it really have a place in your space right now? Are you holding onto it for the hope you’ll one day fit into it/find the right place for it? Focus on the now. What do you need right now. What can you fit into right now.
Get right into it. Put yourself in a frame of mind to declutter and get started. Need some help to get started with decluttering and purging your home? Here are 3 great articles that will help you achieve your goal of decluttering!
How many times have you opened up your email box and scrolled past hundreds of unopened emails. How many times have you scrolled through your camera on your phone and seen a bunch of pictures you either don’t like, don’t need or will never use. Same goes for apps on your phone and subscriptions you don’t use. This is still a form of clutter, and for a lot of us it overwhelms us when we open up our phones and see the amount of clutter.
Purge Your Phone: Take the time to go through all the unwanted photos, apps and anything else that’s cluttering up your phone – notes, alarms, unanswered notifications, etc. You use your phone everyday – if clutter has been bogging you down and driving you nuts, this will be a huge stress release.
Unsubscribe: to companies you don’t open emails from, to services you don’t intend on using, to receive newsletters and updates if you have no intention of reading them, or anything you no longer deem useful to receive updates for.
Delete Those Messages: I’m not talking about the messages with people you talk to on the regular, I’m talking about those messages. Maybe from an ex that you can’t bring yourself to delete or from a friend you no longer talk to. Do the hard thing and remove them from your phone – I promise you will feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders.
Decluttering is something that makes us feel better in the long run, but can definitely stir up quite a few feelings while we’re doing it. It’s hard to let go of things that gave us joy at some point, and it’s hard to let go of people that also once brought joy into our lives.
When you decide to unfriend, throw out and delete to declutter your life, you’re making a bunch of changes that will inherently benefit you. It’s important to remember that while it’s okay to be sad about letting these things go, you are making room in your life for so many more blessings, positive things and adventures to enter.
Have any tips for healthily decluttering? What was something you decluttered or removed from your life recently?