10 Mindful Habits for a Lighter Life

Apartment Therapy's Home Remedies

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A disorganized and cluttered home can quickly become a huge source of stress that can rob us of the ability to live life to the fullest. Of course we all want a lighter life, but what is the key to truly achieving it? Streamlining your home and developing the rituals needed to keep it that way can allow you to come home to a peaceful and relaxing environment instead of feeling overwhelmed the instant you turn the key in the door. Here are ten mindful habits that you can follow to help you achieve the life you deserve.

1. Have a vision for your space.
The first step toward a lighter life and less cluttered home is to have a vision for your life and your space. Picture it in your mind and use that image as motivation to make the tough decisions.

2. Have a plan.
Go on the offense and plan ahead, for example, have a blueprint for your wardrobe - choosing simple basics that coordinate with one another will ensure that you have an open, airy, unstuffed closet no matter its size.

3. Before buying, ask yourself, “Is it useful? Is it beautiful?"
If the answer is no, don't allow the item to enter your home, even if it may be free or was a gift.

4. Don’t let it get past the front door - shred, trash, donate, or recycle it.
Immediately shred personal papers, recycle junk mail, and trash garbage - don't let it pile up on your landing strip or counter. Keep a donation box in the back of your vehicle and drive it to your favorite charity as soon as it becomes full.

5. Follow the "one in, one out" rule.
If you buy a new dress, donate one to charity. When your child gets a new stuffed animal, have them choose one to give away. Make sure it's done immediately and don't be afraid to make substitutions. It's okay to get rid of a blazer when you purchase a pair of pants - as long as it's making space in your closet.

6. Utilize an outbox.
If you're finding it difficult to get rid of something due to an emotional or financial connection, or you're just afraid that you might need it "someday", an outbox is a no-pressure way to get started on decluttering.

7. Have a place for everything.
If you know where something belongs it's much more likely that you will actually put it away. Items that don't have a home are the ones that pile up in the corners, cabinets, closets and on the horizontal surfaces of your home. Eventually, if left unchecked, those piles can become overwhelming sources of stress.

8. Follow routines and complete the cycle.
Those with clean, organized homes have a very simple secret - they follow small routines throughout the day. After dinner the dishes are washed and put away. When they get the mail it is opened and action is taken. The coat is hung up immediately upon entering the house. Completing the cycle is all part of this - putting clothing in the washer but failing to switch it to the dryer will leave you with moldy, musty-smelling clothing that needs to be rewashed and the dirty laundry piles up. Failing to unload the dishwasher in the morning leads to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.

9. Be a problem solver.
Too many bulky CD's and DVD's? Toss the plastic cases and use paper instead. Overwhelming piles of old family photos? Digitize them. Keep losing your keys? Create a landing strip. When something threatens to overwhelm you or becomes a source of stress, set aside time to research or think about a solution for the problem and take action.

10. Be content with what you have.
There's the old saying "less is more". Being content with what you have is truly the key to a lighter life.

What habits do you follow in order to maintain a lighter life and an uncluttered home? We'd love to hear about them!

(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)

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