As the first day of spring officially approaches (20th March), it's time to turn over a new leaf
One of the best ways to do this? The Spring Clean – and not just of the home, but of the mind too
39 per cent of Brits have said they find an untidy home stressful. On top of this, 43 per cent have said a clean household provides them with a sense of accomplishment.
To provide a helping hand, Google's Digital Wellbeing initiative teamed up with psychologist and spatial expert Helen Sanderson to reveal what you need to consider when decluttering, by using a 5-stage gardening metaphor.
Connect the garden to the idea of decluttering and you'll transform the task from a daunting job to one that's actually enjoyable...
Prepare for gardening
It's time to let go and make space for the new. Whether it's a creative project, relationship or new opportunity, you should give yourself a purposeful vacuum, instead of having an empty space.
1. Begin by readying yourself mentally to let go. Find a space to sit down, meditate and then write down what you want your declutter project to achieve.
2. Make sure your goals are on display - that way, you can refer back to them, should you get stuck.
Tip: Are you worried about distractions? Then put your phone on silent mode. Certain phones like the Pixel 3 will have a Do Not Disturb mode.
It's the hardest part of the process - pick a time when you're in the right frame of mind, and then do so without distractions.
1. Work quickly and systematically. Place everything you want in a 'keep’ pile, so you can then separate exactly what you want to 'weed' out.
2. Make sure you're honest with yourself - denial is a good way of convincing yourself that you actually need to keep something. However, if it’s not been used it in the last 12 months, you probably don’t.
The weeds are gone - now, choose where you want your flowers to go.
1. Categorise the items in your 'keep’ pile, so you group together similar items. Then, choose whether it's sensible for you to keep or display them.
2. Each room and drawer should have a specific purpose. If your study is multi-purpose, it's not surprising that it can seem cluttered, and you'll subsequently be less likely to know how to use it.
3. Calming music can help you concentrate - sticking with instrumental music will ensure you have no lyrics to distract you.
In the same way you'd weed and prune it’s crucial to maintain your indoor space too.
1. You need to operate with the 'one in, one out' principle. If you buy something new, it's time to either recycle or give another item to charity.
2. Paperwork accumulate incredibly quickly. Get around this clutter by switching to paper-free banking and utility statements - you'll now have less paper coming in, so more mental space will be free to deal with the tasks at hand.
3. Build an 'organisation muscle' by setting yourself some house rules. Having the chores at the front of your mind will make them easier, helping to support your wellbeing.
Now that the clearing process is done, it's time for the green shoots to appear.
1. Don't let yourself procrastinate and put off a spring clean. It could seem daunting when you want to declutter, and before you know it, excuses will crop up. However, the best ways to tackle this is to begin. After starting, it suddenly become that much more manageable.
2. After clearing your clutter, it won't be uncommon to find the seedlings of an aspiration that you'd previously forgotten about, be it settling down to use those art supplies you bought a while back, or writing a short story.
Tip: Give yourself room for growth in your life by using the Google Digital Wellbeing app or other wellbeing trackers. This lets you track how often you see your phone, the habits that you feel good about and what you'd like to change.
Speaking about decluttering, expert Helen Sanderson says "Keeping your home in order is not only beneficial to your physical space, but can also bring about a psychological change. When you realise that our mental, physical and digital spaces are all interconnected, you can create a powerful synergy to support your wellbeing, both in your space and in your mind."