07 Jan How to declutter your teenage mind
Welcoming in the New Year seems like a distant memory, but it does mark a short and ideal period of time to declutter, organise (or re-organise). Are you back to normal now?
What I mean by normal is have you settled back into the routine of life? Are you back at school, college or university? Back working in a part-time job? Has the humdrum of home life and social activities kicked back in again?
Declutter for a new decade
Today’s article is about getting organised or planning to organise things, activities and processes. You may laugh at me adding the word ‘planning’ as a pre tense to organisation, but for some of us organising aspects of life needs a spot of prior thinking. Is this you? If you procrastinate often then you might need gentle encouragement to sort out your teenage tat! I say this lightheartedly because it can be a struggle to let things go, to say goodbye to objects, or to change a routine.
If you’re still young (or young at heart) you probably had quite a bit of stuff over Christmas as presents or that you bought in the January sales. Have you had a tussle to fit things into cupboards, squish them into drawers or push them under the bed? I know this battle very well because I have daughters and grandchildren! Stuff just gets everywhere!
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” Joshua Becker
Dejunk your teenage mind
A declutter is a superb task for a new year. The act of decluttering does something to your mindset – it’s a positive thought process. It provides clarity and focus because you need to ask questions about your stuff or the things you do in life and the answers will make you seriously consider whether you need it in your life.
- What purpose does it bring?
- How happy does it make you feel?
- What memories does it offer?
Tidying up will make more space around you and this effect will transfer from the outside world into your internal world. It will free up more headspace to think more easily and declutter your teenage mind. You’ll feel like you can breathe again and have more control over your life. If this is a time for mock examinations then a tidy up will help you to absorb your revision efforts more effectively. In essence, you are allowing your brain to retain what you are learning with more precision in its newfound space!
Simple things like a clear desk space and a fresh note pad will have a huge cleansing affect. Clutter is a distraction in the same way that a social media notification is.
“Enjoy the peace of nature and declutter your inner world.” Amit Ray
Are you an emotional clutter collector?
Arriving at my office in the first week of January triggered the need to write this article. I had stuff everywhere! Mess on my computer desk. Junk on the floor. Boxes on my sofa and piles of magazines on my table. Even my cupboards were fighting to stay shut against the paraphernalia lurking inside!
Dare I say it, but out of sight out of mind was the situation in my office. I had accumulated all this tat, but when I started to organise it, most of it could be binned. There were so many random and unnecessary objects and bits of paper that, at the time, I must have thought, ‘I’ll hold onto that for XYZ’. But the XYZ often never happens. You’ve heard of FOMO (fear of missing out), well the art of accumulating excess stuff has to be just that. Is this you? Do you hold on to things just in case? Are you an emotional clutter collector who hangs on to items because of their emotional value and memories? It’s great to hold on to happy memories I can’t argue that, but some memories can be negative and that’s when you can start to feel anxious, stressed or even depressed.
Sometimes we hold on to things because we can’t face dealing with them at that time. It’s important that you recognise if this happens because the same can be said for feelings and emotions. You can hold on to a throwaway comment made by someone who hurt your feelings on some level, the same way you might hold on to a broken pen because of where it came from. The hurtful comment has no place in your life because it’s not true and is only the opinion of another. The same can be said for the pen because it has no use in your life other than taking up space.
“Happiness is the place between too little and too much.”
Get more organised and unjumble
Time to tackle the tat. You will need to review everything and assign some kind of order so you can weigh up their worth. What has been hidden away that can be recycled such as plastic, old paper, clothes, shoes, books, stationery and games?
What can you re-organise and put away so that’s stored in a tidy manner? Maybe you need some new shelves or cupboard space. Could recycling an old shoebox work as new storage? They’re stackable too!
Make it fun. Can you wrap boxes in paper or posters that mean something to you? If you’re a bit of a perfectionist, try colour coding items and boxes with labels, handwritten tags, or attach stickers.
You could even make the daunting task of decluttering competitive! Give yourself an hour or 90 minutes and see how much you can get through. Or could you race against a sibling or friend? A race might be a bit too competitive for some of you so if you’re a people person, offer support and dejunk together.
- Who can make the biggest impact? Take before and after pictures.
- Who can fill the most donation bags?
- Who can sell the most and make the most money?
- Who can throw away the most, how many bags can you fill?
- Who can recycle the most – who’s the most environmentally friendly?
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.”
Tips to deal with decluttering your mind
It’s all well and good talking about tidying up your bedroom but how to declutter your teenage mind requires a bit more mental effort. Follow these tips to focus your mind on a positive emotional clear out.
- If you have an object, ask what memories it holds. If they are negative in any way, get rid of it
- If you really feel the need to remember the object in some way take a photograph on your phone and write down what it means to you. Going through this process might reveal that you don’t have that much to say about it
- Something you’re holding onto might have sentimental value but no financial value. Capture the good emotions by writing down
- Why you like it
- Why it makes you smile
- Who it reminds you of
You will find that organising or clearing out objects with emotional attachments will distance you from any negative aspects so that you feel lighter and happier.
Keep pictures and memories, but think about donating the item. You will feel good from this act alone. For some sentimental items, there might be no room for it in your room, but there will always be room in your heart.
If you don’t have objects, but have thoughts and memories to unmix it’s best to carry out a pen and paper exercise. Write down all of the unhelpful stuff that is cluttering your mind then work through similar points as you did with the objects.
- What purpose does it bring?
- Who does it remind you of?
- How does it make you feel?
- Why do you think this way?
Whilst you might find some of this painful to do, it’s a simple process and it will help you to identify why you can let this unhelpful stuff go. Have a good cry if you need to because crying is good for you!
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” Marie Kondo.
Choose the life you want to lead
Refrain from hoarding clutter in your external surroundings and your internal mind. If your headspace is freer you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying life.
I’d love to hear your ideas on the subject of decluttering and what methods you use. Please do share your before and after photos in the blog comments. Show us your evidence, I can’t wait to see the results J.
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Until next time, have a super week and create some space.