Three ways to declutter your life

The latest episode of Live.Life.Better. looks at clutter busting and spring cleaning – both digitally and in the rest of life.

Authors Sheila Chandra (Banish Clutter Forever) and Emma Gannon (Ctl, Alt; Delete) joined host Melissa Hemsley to share practical tips. Here are three things you can do to reduce clutter in your life.

1. Be self-aware

Some people find that setting rules works for them, while others prefer to just monitor their behaviour in terms of how much time they spend online.

Emma Gannon definitely falls into the latter group. “I don’t do the whole ‘don’t have any screen time at least four hours before you go to bed,’ or whatever’s recommended but I try and definitely cut down,” she says.

But she’s also made significant changes to her routine to help free her mind from the clutter that being constantly connected can bring. “I don’t have my phone near my pillow anymore – I thought that is so weird that I sleep with my phone right next to my head. So that’s well away from me now – still in the bedroom but I have to get up to get it.

“And I just make sure that I’m conscious of what I’m doing. When you get that glazed over look and you’re just in a hole, scrolling and you’re almost out of your body, just floating, I just catch myself and switch it off now. But I think it takes time and I think it takes being really self-aware of your own body. Just knowing what you’re doing because I think you can get really trapped.”

2. Mind your social etiquette

With the fact that we all carry smartphones everywhere with us, comes some significant changes to social behaviour. Sheila Chandra says: “There’s a whole new etiquette in social terms. The impact of carrying the internet around in your pocket is so huge. In a way it’s 100 years of evolution that’s happened in 10. It feels to me like our etiquette and our manners need to catch up. I can’t stand it if someone invites me to dinner or to a café or something and they’re scrolling through their phone. But then I’m 53 and it feels to me like the rudest thing in the world – like if they got their office paperwork out and started filing. ‘Do you want to talk to me or not?’”

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Emma agrees, she says that spending all night scrolling while you’re with someone is like saying ‘My phone is more important than you,’ right to their face.

While Sheila says that she can understand the other side – how addictive it is, it’s important to mind how you’re treating your friends and family. Challenge yourself to leave your phone in your pocket when you’re spending quality time with your loved ones.

3. Learn to say no

Emma’s number one tool in decluttering life? One small word: “Saying no to things is the best de-cluttering tactic ever.”

She explains: “Saying yes to everything is very stressful and you’ll end up resenting yourself and everyone else.”

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