I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love. I get satisfaction from transforming a disordered, cluttered space into a organised, beautiful area that works. I love it because it saves money. I love it because it reduces consumption and protects the environment. I love it because it saves time. I love it because it protects people’s physical and mental health.

And I love it because it simplifies life.

How often do you wish you could stop the world for a while? Get off the hamster wheel? Have an extra day to catch up while the rest of the world stands still?

If your life is like mine, it’s packed to the brim. This world is full of opportunities and it’s hard to say ‘no’ to them (and to other people!) Sometimes it gets too much. You end up overwhelmed by things to do and by physical STUFF.

Here are five ways to simplify your life.

1. Give this blog post your full attention

Go on! It’s good! Hehe.

It’s tempting to think that you’re achieving more by multi-tasking but often you get through your to do list no faster (in fact, usually slower). Plus you do each task less effectively because your mind’s not on it fully.

Multi-tasking is a tough habit to break so I don’t recommend trying to give it up overnight. Try focusing on one thing at a time for a few minutes each day at first and see how you get on. (I thought it would be easy until I tried it).

2. Mind your own business

Don’t try to change others or expect others to change the world. Concentrate on what you can be responsible for. Which, by the way, is anything you want to be responsible for.

Shift your thinking from ‘Someone should do something about that!’ to ‘What would I like to do about that?’ (And, if the answer is ‘Nothing’, stop worrying about it and focus your energies somewhere else).

3. Don’t make it more complicated than it is

When you catch yourself thinking or saying ‘It’s complicated’, take another look. Chances are it’s not complicated at all. There’s just something you don’t want to admit, take responsibility for or deal with.

Try explaining the situation simply, either to someone else or on paper to yourself. Wherever it appears complicated, focus on recording hard facts rather than your emotions about, opinions of, and attitudes to the situation.

4. Be yourself

Stick to your principles. Don’t be afraid to express your desires. Say what’s there for you. Express yourself. Don’t pretend you’re OK with something when you’re not.

I often coach people who are living with other people’s clutter to the extent that they haven’t got enough space for their own stuff. I ask them to look at why they are in that situation. What does it say about their sense of themself, their home and their life that they have allowed their space to be so constrained?

You can’t change someone else (see above!) but you can stand up for what works for you.

5. Spot your comfort blankets

Notice what you do to distract yourself from stress. Go shopping? Bite your nails? Eat chocolate? Drink alcohol? Next time you feel like this, notice the thought that’s just gone through your head. Just notice it. You might be surprised what you learn about the way your mind works.

I gave up a lifelong biting habit (nails, fingers, lips) that way. And I learned how trivial most of my worries are along the way.

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