How to Remove the Clutter in Your Life

By Robyn Johnson, Expert Access

Sallie Felton, clutter coach, international speaker and author of If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Get Rid of This Clutter? was a featured guest on Expert Access Radio. Sallie shared her ideas on how to un-clutter your desk, mind and life. Discover what you don’t want to do, how to delegate it to others to get it done and how to prioritize what you need to do today with Sallie’s tips and tools below.

How to Remove the Clutter in Your Life

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Mental Clutter

Mental clutter is the to-do list that runs in your head 24/7. It is the one thing that you have total control of when deciding to whom you are going to delegate things. The key with getting rid of your mental clutter is to find out what you don’t want to do. Once you figure that out, you can then learn to delegate to someone else to do for you, or in the case of mental clutter, figure out what is the priority for today versus what you can leave for tomorrow.

Tips for Prioritizing Your Mental Clutter

Take a look at your to-do list, and figure out what needs to be done now. It might be possible to have a section of your to-do list that is seasonal, but you must also keep a section of your to-do list for making time for what you want. Add those things that you want to your list also.

Physical Clutter

“A house is a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

- George Carlin

We buy, inherit and collect things throughout our lifetimes; where is it all going to go? You must exercise your SDAs. An SDA is a single daily action that you take to remove some of the things from your home. For example, every time you move around your house, if you have the thought of “hmm, maybe I want to get rid of that,” place it in a box by the back door. When you have the box full, take it to the Salvation Army. Even if there are only four or five different things, you can still get them out of your house. To be able to accurately use SDAs, you have to hold yourself accountable. If you don’t, the box by the back door is never going to be filled, and those things will never leave your house. If SDAs don’t seem to be the right method for you, try taking each room in your house on individually. Just be aware that taking on an entire room can seem like a lot. Don’t look at it as an entire room; the goal is to keep your thinking simple and specific, break the room down into sections and work on a section at a time. Make sure that what you are looking to take on in the room is an attainable goal to reach and can be reached in a realistic and timely manner. Your goal is to get rid of or reduce the amount of clutter in the room to bring it back and allow it to function the way you want it to—but it doesn’t have to all be done in one hour or one day.

Tips for Removing Physical Clutter

When you find something you’re not sure you want to get rid of, ask the following questions:

- Do you love it?

- Do you need it?

- Is it useful?

If you can’t answer those questions within three seconds of looking at the item, get rid of it.

Emotional Clutter

Emotional clutter comes from the heart. It is the hurts, woes, guilts and angst that tie us up internally and hinder us from moving forward. Emotional clutter is what, in most cases, holds people back. To be able to remove the emotional clutter, you have to target what the hurt, woe, guilt or angst is that is causing the clutter. To be able to purge emotional clutter, you need to confront the person who hurt you. If that doesn’t work, you can also try writing a letter. In some cases, a time just comes when you know you really need to let it go, because it serves no purpose.

A Tip for Purging Emotional Clutter

A great tool to see if you have less emotional clutter in your life is to keep a journal. Write down what has happened to you. Many times, getting out emotions can help. Removing those emotions from your inner self can be very therapeutic.

LISTEN to the complete interview with Sallie Felton on Expert Access Radio.

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For more information, go to Sallie Felton’s website.

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  1. Sarah Gregson says:

    Why is it then that while I have kept an object for years and never use it, the moment I throw it out, I need it?

    • Liz Harter says:

      That always happens to me too! Sallie spoke about it in her book – she said that it’s cheaper to purchase the item again (or better yet, try to borrow it or find one on a site like freecycle) than it is to keep that physical and emotional clutter in your life.

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