The Student
Lifestyle
The art of decluttering: mentally, physically and digitally

It doesn’t really need to be stated that the world is getting pretty hectic and crazy just now. With all the uncertainty and chaos going on, it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and those around us. Being stuck inside may not be the Meadows BBQ’s and European holidays we had planned for our summer, but it doesn’t need to be all that bad. We rarely have this much free time on our hands and so it seems like the perfect opportunity to check off all those tasks that have been hiding at the very bottom of our to-do lists.

I know that for me at least, decluttering is one of those tasks. Clutter sneaks up in every area of our lives. From our phone, to our wardrobe, the volume of things to sort through can be overwhelming. The problem only escalates when we move our uni stuff home. The sheer mass of things we accumulate over time is unbelievable. I find that making a list of things to work through and then tackling one a day, is a great way to both get through it all and feel a little productive at the same time. But where to begin?

Why not start with the devices on which we spend our most time? My phone can get cluttered without me even noticing and it really doesn’t take long to clear some of it out. I usually start by going through my camera roll and deleting all of the screenshots of conversations or map locations that I don’t need any more. Then I’ll check my emails, deleting ones I don’t need and highlighting ones I need to come back to. While I’m at it I make a little extra effort to unsubscribe from all the random sites sending me, what feels like, thousands of emails a day. Doing this will make it easier to declutter in future. Culling apps can also make your home screen feel less cluttered, as can clearing all of those distracting red bubbles.

Doing a similar clean out of your laptop can also be extremely beneficial. After a semester of Uni, my laptop is always in a mess, with files and downloads all over the place. Reorganising your uni notes into clear folders, makes them easier to access and less headache inducing to look at. Clearing out downloads you no longer have any use for might even make your laptop run faster, so that is definitely worth the effort.

For me, my wardrobe always feels like the most daunting thing to tackle, but it shouldn’t be. Pulling out all of my clothes one afternoon and sifting through them gives me a clear idea of what I have and therefore what I can/ really should get rid of. If I’ve never worn something or it doesn’t fit right and I know it never will, there is no point in it taking up space. Clearing out your wardrobe may also give you a chance to make a little money, through apps such as depop. Really it’s a win win.

Sorting through my desk, bedside table and cupboards etc. are also important things to do. I’m always surprised by the random things that have been hiding at the back of my cupboards. Maybe you’ll find a new book you haven’t read yet, or your old nintendo DS, perfect for helping to kill a few hours.

With all the uncertainty going on, it is also easy for our heads to go into overdrive. I find moving my body or practicing mindfulness incredibly helpful ways to quiet things down and to concentrate on something other than my worries. Apps like Headspace or Calm are great

for helping with this. Another great thing to try is writing down all of the stuff that is on your mind, it can be a list or a stream of consciousness, whatever works. After you’re done writing it, scrunch it up and chuck it out. The main aim is to acknowledge the thoughts, but to let them go. Hopefully this will make you feel lighter and ready to declutter other areas of your life.

Building decluttering into your daily routine will have a positive impact both on life now and later. Being in control of your clutter can make you feel organised and in control in a time that is the opposite of all of those things. After this is all over and things start to get back to normal, you should feel lighter and fresher, ready to take on life with your junk sorted through and your unnecessary clutter taken care of.

Image Credit: Ashton via Flickr