Five steps to ‘de-cluttering’ your life


There is a good reason that professional organizers start their projects by first clearing out the cluttered space they’re tackling. You can’t organize before you de-clutter. The same holds true for our lives.

It’s difficult to organize a life unless you first clear it out by de-cluttering all of the “junk”— negative thoughts, toxic relationships, unfocused career goals, etc— that have you disempowered. This means you and I have got to de-clutter.

Here are five simple steps that you can take:

Step One: Clean Out: Start with the basics. What are the bare essentials that make your life worth living? Maybe it’s great relationships, a small savings and running everyday. Maybe it’s a great career, family outings and monthly massages. Distill your life “basics” down to the bare minimum. In this step you are going to sit down and jot down the 1- 5 bare necessities that make your life special and worth living every single day.

Step Two: Sort Stuff: Hear your own heart. In this step, I want you to listen, very, very closely to what your heart says are the most important values that you hold dear. Listen for what makes your life rich and savory. What does your heart says makes you happy? What gives you purpose and meaning? Who do you want to become? Hearing your own heart helps you to focus on the values that you hold dear.

Step Three: Organize: Ask for what you want. Now that you’ve distilled down to the basics and have listened for what gives your life meaning, it’s time to ask for what you want from yourself and others! Asking is huge. It’s audacious! It’s having the guts to say, “I want love from you,” or, “I want you to respect me,” or it’s saying, “I need to take care of myself right now.” Asking is uncomfortable, especially for those of us who are fiercely independent. But asking for what you want and need first from yourself and then from others is a liberating experience.

Step Four: Record: Keep a journal of your journey. It’s great to have a “record’ of our journey. In this step we are going to record the progress we are making in our lives through journaling. Journaling gives us life-changing potential; it stimulates self-growth and it helps us clear our minds. In the de-cluttering process, it’s imperative that we keep our lives free and clear from accumulating more “junk,” and journaling will help us stay on track. Pull out an old journal (or grab a new one) and start writing.

Step Five: Give Away: Encourage someone else. Neuroscientists say that our brains “heal” when we serve others! In this step of de-cluttering our lives it’s analogous to the organizer giving away items that have been collected. When you get to this step, you take what you’ve learned about yourself through the other steps and you help others in your life. Give away your time. Volunteer. Help your neighbors or friends, share love and laughter. This is a wonderful “end” to a new de-cluttered life!

Jennifer Keitt is the author of Shake Up Your Life. For more information, visit her website: