Organizing Your Mental Space

Undoubtedly, our mental space and our physical spaces are related. One impacts the other. If our physical space is in order (we know where to find things, it’s not cluttered, it feels calm and peaceful), then it’s easier for our mental space to reflect that sense of peace. If, however, the physical space is in disarray, it’s all too easy for the mental space to follow suit. So, how do we avoid this? First off, I’d advocate for the obvious…get organized in your physical space. However, if you’re in a place where that’s challenging, it’s still possible to get a handle on the mental space.

1. Consume Intentionally

The focus here isn’t just on the most obvious – purchases or food. It’s on consuming in the broader sense – particularly social media, the news, or intrusive or repeating thoughts. We want to consume what will improve our mental state, not drag it down into doubt, fear, despair. You know what this includes, and what it doesn’t.

Your mental state can’t be decluttered if it’s swirling with images, jammed with to-do’s, just remembers, and in a state of constant rush or catch up.

2. Establish Systems

calendar organization

If your mental state feels cluttered, check in to see if you’re relying on “me, myself, and I” too much. Yes, you’re capable, talented, a master multi-tasker, a keeper of all the things! Yet, you’ll likely get to a point where it’s all just too much. You run yourself ragged, start to forget things and drop balls (no, not because you’re a bad mom/wife/friend, but because it’s just too many balls for one person).

You could delegate some of things filling your mind with clutter. Or, stop doing the non-essential things. And, you can also employ systems to help you. This could mean to-do lists, schedules, or calendars. It could mean regularly scheduled family meetings to get everyone on the same page. Or, it could mean establishing some routines – getting the kids and yourself on a consistent morning, after school, and evening routine.

3. Get Out

This can mean various things…get out of your head. Get outside. Get moving. Get, as in, a verb. Mental and physical movement helps you shake things up and re-gain perspective. It may feel like the last thing we feel like doing. But, likely just what we need.

peaceful nature

You may be at a time in our life that is just busy – work, kids, activities. But, you can still guard your mental space against excess and burden. It’s your right, and it’s part of taking care of you, because only then can you care for others. You’re not destined to a mental state of clutter and chaos, but peace and joy. It’s yours to claim!

4 Things to Declutter From Your Mental Space

Decluttering our physical space and decluttering our mental space is undoubtedly related. All types of clutter acts as a weight that drags us down. When our environment is free of clutter, there is a corresponding levity, a calm, and a clarity to our mentality and outlook.

Decluttering our physical environment is great – life changing, in fact. But, a decluttered mind is even better. What are you holding onto that isn’t helpful? Or, isn’t true? Here are some common types of mental clutter. Once we’re aware of these things, we can be more mindful of kicking them to the curb.

1. Comparison

comparing 2 doors

I love the book Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze. It’s a finance focused book, but the concept of loving your life, not anyone else’s (or the appearance of anyone else’s), can be applied to every area of your life. You can recognize yourself comparing when you find yourself thinking things like “I wish I….” or “If only….” It could be related to material possessions, such as “I wish I had a house like that”. Or, it could be lifestyle related like “If only I could have the time/money/motivation/skill to cook/work out/travel like so and so does”. It takes on many forms, most of them subtle.

Why is this bad? You’ve likely heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy”. What does a thief do? It robs us of something that is inherently, rightfully ours – joy, in this case. We miss the blessings right under our noses. And, you better believe, our kids pick up on this comparison. So, let’s be mindful of perpetuating only what you want those little ones to adopt.

2. Fear

How free would we all feel if the fears we held tight to no longer had a hold on us? We hold them close like they’re ours to nurture and cherish, and it’s just the opposite. They’re ours to actively release, as fearful worrisome thoughts don’t do anyone any good. That’s not to say it’s always easy to do this. But, doing so, even in baby steps, has that same freeing sensation that clearing out a room has.

no fear jumping from rock to rock

3. Busyness

I wrote a blog post you could check out titled The Culture of Busyness. Busyness may be at bay now, but will inevitably return as the pace of life gets back to…normal….right? The good thing about starting from scratch is that we can choose what gets added back! We can deliberately decide if this activity or that trip or that class is something that will be a blessing or, instead, a source of unnecessary stress or obligation.

This resetting is an opportunity to craft a clutter free schedule that honors the stillness we’ve cultivated over the last couple of months, while still pursuing activities that bring joy. Maybe you’ve uncovered some new individual or family interests that you’d like to pursue. Now’s the time to prioritize what’s important and say no to the rest.

4. Perfection

perfect is the enemy of mug. cup says good enough.

Sometimes people mistake a decluttered or organized house as a “perfect” house. That is never the goal! A decluttered environment is a foundation that allows for stillness, and frees up your time and money to make space for what is important to you. Because nobody wants to spend their time looking for lost things, stressed about cleaning all day, or dealing with excess. That’s what organizing and decluttering is about. Not perfection. So, if you find yourself striving for a perfect ________ (fill in the blank) stop yourself, and let good enough be good enough.