More spring clean


There is no optimal time and season for simplifying your life and belongings – when the urge hits you and you are ready to make a new start- that is the right time and you should grab the impetus by the horns and ride with it. That is what I call an inspired action. Unlike a job or chore one has to do, an inspired action is defined by positivity, purpose, energy and in most cases, excitement. These are the key ingredients for an outcome that can bring much happiness, fulfillment and growth. In the previous post,  I brought up areas in our lives- mind, passions, relationships and finances- that would benefit from a review, cleansing, de-clutter and exploration of new ideas and directions. I’m going to round off with the three other areas that would benefit from a spring clean.


We all have 24 hours in a day- that is one of few things in life we share equality in. Many of us pack our days with stuff: appointments, comitments, watching mind-numbing TV programmes etc.. Now is the time to look at the items on our calendar and ask ourselves if they are essential, if they contribute towards the important goals and relationships in our lives or if they are just filling our lives with busyness and stress. Do we need to be part of all these communities, meetings and activities? It is great to contribute and be part of something we feel deeply about but in many instances, we become part of something because it is expected of us, we are obliged to do so or because it contributes towards our self-importance and other people’s perceptions of us. You would think the particular club or activity would suffer if you were to opt out or that your social standing would suffer a dip  and lose your ‘friends’ if you failed to appear at certain parties- well think again. The club would probably  still chug along without you and you would find something more fulfilling and enjoyable to do instead of having drinks and conversations with people you don’t care much for.

Clear your calender of such non- essential items and free up time for yourself to spend with people who are important to you (that includes yourself) and on things you feel passionate about ( more time to read, to cook , a new hobby or even start a new business). I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to non-essential commitments so that I can say ‘yes’ to spending time with people who matter and on things I’m passionate about or that help me grow.


I find it amazing that many of us (myself included) think so little about what we put into our bodies. We grab a couple chocolate bars or a bag of crisp for lunch because we are too busy to have lunch; we do take-away dinners because we are too tired to cook after a long day or we buy that cheap roast chicken from the supermarket simply because it’s a good deal and not caring how that chicken was reared and in turn, what it does to our health. We only have one body; it is irreplaceable and it certainly deserves better.

Over the last couple of years, I have made a few rules about food that I put into my body: I only eat free range or organic meat at home ( I personally think that if you can’t afford decent quality meat, it’s healthier to do without), I try to patronize farmer’s markets as much as possible ( so that I get to interact with the people who actually reared the animals and grew the vegetables) and I try to have as many home-cooked meals as possible. As I start spending more time cooking and eating at home, I not only get to save money but also learned to try out new recipes and ingredients as I get tired of eating the same few dishes. So by making a few simple rules, I have been shopping more ethically, cooking more skillfully and imaginatively and eating more nutritiously- resulting in a healthier me.


I have written a number of posts on simplifying, organizing and de-cluttering. Why do I do it? Because it gives me peace and clarity of mind, frees up my time and physical space, saves me money  and helps me to focus on what’s important to my life and personal growth. How do I do it? I like to take the bull by its horns and do it all in one go while others might like to take a slower step-by-step approach. There is no right and wrong way to go about it- it all boils down to individual preference.

When we talk about clutter, we tend to think of physical clutter. That’s a good place to start when we embark on a simplicity journey – though we must not forget the mental clutter (negativity, worry etc.) and emotional clutter (unhealthy relationships) that is preventing us from reaching our full potential.

For me, there are two types of physical clutter: physical-physical and physical- digital. For most of us, it’s easier to see and tackle the physical-physical clutter and forget about the physical-digital stuff that also takes up time and space in our lives. When was the last time we reviewed the emails, files and folders, photos and music we have on our computer and digital systems? I make it a point to review my digital belongings on a regular basis as like physical clutter, they have a tendency to grow and expand if you are not aware. I want to make sure the files and folders are those I need or find useful; the photos I have are good and not the third duplicate; the music I have are those I still listen to and enjoy.

Recently, I cleared out and organized my email inboxes  and folders for the nth time. I deleted those emails I’ve read, filed those I need away in folders and made it a goal to keep no more than 20 emails in my inbox at any one time. I feel much lighter and in control once I’ve decluttered my inbox. Huge inboxes overwhelm most people and have the tendency to encourage further procrastination of finally sorting it all out. I remembered when I was still in the corporate world last year and just feeling overwhelmed with the number of emails in my inbox- my timid attempts at clearing the most recent ones made no dent at all on the inbox. To shocked reactions from my colleagues, I decided one morning to ‘select all’ emails and pressed ‘delete’- all my emails were gone in a second, leaving me with an empty inbox. I felt a huge sigh of relief and a huge weight lifted off me- I was back in control of my inbox and my life.  I reckoned if there were any important emails I deleted, I would get another email about it or be reminded about it in person; if there was any action I should have done and haven’t , I would get another reminder email if it was that important. Well, obviously there was nothing I missed or was that important amongst my hundreds of emails – I didn’t get any reminders.

So did I manage to keep my inbox at twenty emails? Email inbox maintenance is a daily task- so let’s just say some days are better than others. But I’ll never let my inbox get out of control again.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *