How to declutter a stressful life

Being a busy mumpreneur means living a fast-paced life, with the calendar jam-packed, distraction of multiple modes of stimulation, and everything needing attention at once. Whilst avoiding stress completely might not be realistic, there are ways to manage it.

Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress.

The negative effects of clutter

Clutter can be distracting, feel like a heavy burden and generally invites a life of chaos. It affects the time it takes to do things, makes our brains multitask, taking away the enjoyment of life.

And to make matters worse clutter can increase negative emotions, such as feelings of overwhelm and frustration and can even induce a spike in cortisol, a stress hormone.


Psychologists and neuroscientists say that decluttering is good for our self-esteem, motivation, sense of self-control, for lowering stress and for improving our food choices.

The best way to declutter a stressful life is assessing where the stress is coming from and taking small steps to avoid overwhelm and more stress.

Devoting small pockets of time to clear the clutter and maintaining things relatively clutter-free, results in calmness, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.

Here are some steps to take to declutter a stressful life and enjoy calmness while creating time for what really matters.

1. Identify core values

Identifying our core values can be especially helpful in deciding what to keep in our schedule and what to let go off.

This requires getting crystal clear on what’s important and what is in line with our goals and vision.

For example:

  • Asking ourselves this question daily: “What’s really important?” can help us to live a life according to our values rather than being driven by busyness.
  • Recalling moments in our lives that were particularly calm— instances when we felt most alive — can help in identifying our core values.

The next step is to create a shortlist of the beliefs those moments honoured and use it to assess whether the activities on our current calendar are well aligned with our core values.

2. Tracking time

To get a better handle on our time, we need to know how we actually spend it.

The numbers often reveal a story about time spent that’s completely different from what we may have imagined.

For example:

  • Track the time it takes to perform all the tasks for a week.
  • Record all tasks including eating, breaks, etc.
  • Create a tracking sheet and clock each activity.
  • At the end of each day, reflect upon each activity and consider what’s working and what’s not.

If you see that time is being spent in satisfying ways, choose to do things differently.

3. Create free space and time.

Personal time is meant to be enjoyed – create the space to enjoy it.

This is a great way to reclaim time and schedule it in the future. Make choices based on identified values of freedom, peace, and joy.

For example:

  • Schedule regular chunks of internet-free time and restrict social-media visits to short periods each day.
  • Start blocking time in the work schedule to focus on single tasks without interruption.

These little windows create opportunities to see a problem in a new way, or redirect energy toward the things in life that are cherished most.

So, what does this all really mean:

If you look at clutter from a feng shui perspective- our homes mirror our emotional state. Remember that a clean space promotes a calm, clear mind and allows us to focus on what’s important thus avoiding distraction.

An ancient Chinese proverb says that in order to live a calm life, we must embrace peace and let go of anxiety.

As the Chinese proverb goes, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

And lastly, welcome change and stay flexible, as this creates a better energy flow towards calmness.

Irena Geller, Emotional Eating Coach,

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