Time for the mind

House of Calm

Mindful Decluttering: the way to a nurturing and stress-free home by Helen Sanderson

Does your home help or hinder you live mindfully? Read on to learn the difference between mindful and automatic behaviours in the home and for practical ways to mindfully get on top of your clutter and create a stress-free home.

A key insight is the difference between automated thoughts or processes versus simply being in the present moment. Being Here Now, as Ram Dass said: being 100% in this moment with whatever you are doing. 

Automatic vs mindful behaviour

Many of us lean toward a more automatic way of being. Learning from childhood to do most things without thinking. For example, brushing our teeth, whilst planning what we are going to have for breakfast or do later that day. This may be productive thinking, but it can be anxiety, with worst-case scenarios going around in your head!

Automatic body-mind memory is not all bad of course. Learning to drive, we become able to change gear and steer automatically. Meaning we can focus our attention on driving safely. These processes are essential and helpful. What’s important is to be mindful of when they are getting in the way of what you want to do or how you want to be.

Like most things in life, it’s about finding a healthy balance.

Mindfulness and automatic thinking at home

Most of us live in the automated state of mind most of the time. What do you do with your mail? Does it sit unopened on a heap? Do you tear out recipes and have a pile on the side, waiting to be put in a folder?

After years of living like this, there may be places in your home you’re simply disconnected from. Piles you never move, storage cupboards or areas you just don’t look in anymore. These places need your attention. And if you don’t give them it, they may find a way of getting that attention in the form of a crisis. You tell yourself, ‘I’ll get around to that one day’.  But ‘one day’ will never come, unless you break out of that ‘automatic’ way of being and make a date with yourself to consciously go through your belongings and review whether they still serve a useful purpose.

Make decisions, take action

Clutter represents decisions you have to make or things that need to be allocated a home. If you are living automatically at home, break the cycle with some mindful decluttering.

Top tips:

    1. Make decisions – keep, mature or let go
    2. Allocate homes for things
    3. Put things away in their homes regularly!
    4. Identify areas where things accumulate, tackle them, move them and give that space a new job, such as putting a plant there. If you don’t change the use of the space, it will quickly attract clutter again.
    5. Get children or partners on board and tackle together the tendency to automatically dump stuff. Changing behaviours is hard, so make it fun.

Let’s face it we like automatic, it’s less stress and we can be asleep to ourselves and to our home, but in the long run paying a bit more attention will help you create a truly nurturing and stress-free home

Learn more at my workshop Create space and order in your home with mindfulness 


Time for the mind

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