On the plane, heading out for a short vacation I heard a group of people talking about how much they needed to simplify their lives. I began to chuckle to myself, because haven’t we all been there? We get that burning desire to change our lives and then do nothing about it. We give a good talk about how we need it we may even plan how we will go about doing it, but in the end most of us never complete it. This picture depicts what I look like while I am waiting to do something.
We all want and need to clear the clutter of negative things that prevent us from making room for positive things to take their place. Spring is probably the best time to join a “mental health club” by doing some serious mental and material Spring-cleaning. Here are six simple steps that are manageable to get us started. By completing them, you will be more balanced and feel rejuvenated by your accomplishments ready to tackle almost anything placed before you. Just remember, small steps lead to big changes and big accomplishments.
Step 1: For every new item you purchase discard an old one. That means if you go shopping and you buy four new shirts you are giving to charity four old shirts, etc. This principle applies all purchases including decorations, statues, kitchen items, etc. This new practice will prevent clutter from accumulating, and you will feel good about your old things going to people who need them. One man or women’s garbage is another man or women’s treasure.
Step 2: When you hang your spring clothes in your closet, hang them backward. As you take an article of clothing off the hanger to wear it then wash it put it back the correct way. That way, at the end of the season you will notice, by the way, the hangers hang what you actually wore and what you did not wear. All the clothes, hanging the wrong way put in a garbage bag and give them to charity. You will be surprised by how many clothes you thought you were wearing that you actually did not.
Step 3: Pick one day a week to tackle one area of your home to sort through your stuff. If you have not used something in six months – one year get rid of it. You do not need it! Remember, for everything you get rid of you will make room for something better. Baby steps, one kitchen cabinet one day another cabinet next week; soon your entire house will be complete, and you will feel like a champion.
Step 4: Say “no” more than you say “yes.” Most of the things we say yes to even the good things are not necessarily good for us. Before we know it, we are saying yes to so many things we become overextended; in over our heads and then we have no time for the things that matter. By saying no and having more time on our hands, we can truly assess when we should say yes. Then our efforts during the process will be more beneficial to those we are serving and to ourselves. They say that having more time gives way to more kindness. A recent study polled people who went out of their way to perform an act of kindness. The results showed that they did these acts of kindness because, they had the time to do it.
Step 5: Stop playing the “IF” game. We tend to clutter our minds with thoughts from our past. We replay what “if” I had done this, what “if” this person didn’t do that, what if, what if, what if…. just let it go!!! The past is dead, there is nothing living there any longer move on to the present. God lives there, and where God is there is life, and He has a lot to share with you don’t miss out on all of your blessings because, you are living in the past. Release yourself from this mental clutter.
Step 6: Give yourself 5 minutes of silence per day. Sit without the T.V., radio, smartphone, or anything that may distract you. Five minutes of silence will open for you a whole new world of clarity, and new things will spring to life. Silence is not silent, but filled with life that is trying to teach you something. Still yourself to hear your wiser self, God lives in your soul. All the answers to everything you are searching for can be found within.
If you follow these six- steps, you will notice a positive change. You will gradually make better decisions and replace the material things in your life with the more invisible. By shedding yourself from the clutter of what is no longer relevant in your life, you will open yourself to the new and give yourself more room for God to act. You will not only achieve balance, but you will also find peace and joy.