It’s time to cut the clutter.

I’m not just talking about physical clutter, AKA all the stuff clogging your closets and drawers.

I’m talking about all those non-physical things that keep you from experiencing the life you secretly dream about.

It’s true: physical clutter can be unsightly, annoying, and energy draining. You glance at the teetering stack of papers on your desk and feel anxiety fill your chest. You trip over the pile of shoes on your way out the door and start your day feeling resentful.

Addressing the pockets of clutter in your home can help reduce this stress and increase feelings of peace and joy. But decluttering your stuff is only one facet of decluttering your life.

You must also look at your relationships, activities, and internal environment—your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

As a former professional organizer, I know that every organizing project includes an elimination step. To get from where you are to where you want to be, you must release items you no longer want, need, use, or love.

Why is this so important?

Because getting rid of things creates more space for the things that truly matter.

When it comes to your life, what is clogging up your day? What is weighing on your mind? What is snuffing out your happiness?

Are there relationships in your life that drain you instead of fill you up?

As time goes by, people and relationships can change. If a certain friendship has become unbalanced or toxic, perhaps it’s time to cut the cord and move on. I know ending relationships can be awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes they fizzle out naturally. Sometimes you have to be more direct. Trust your instincts on how best to approach the situation you’re in and let go with love, as best you can.

Are you participating in activities out of guilt or to please others?

If so, do you get even a smidgeon of enjoyment from what you’re doing? My guess is no, not really. Maybe it’s even a hell no. If that’s the case, it’s time to move on.

Your time is precious and it is yours. Saying no to requests from others or no to activities that aren’t in alignment with your life goals is not selfish; it’s the responsible and healthy thing to do. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by participating in something you resent doing.

If you feel bad about saying no to someone’s request, know this: you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Every person is in charge of how they respond to situations. If you upset someone by saying no, let them handle their own reaction and move on with your life.

Are you plagued by negative self-talk, thoughts, or beliefs that keep you stuck?

This is one area that I have loads of experience with. This is perhaps that hardest area to declutter because it involves changing unconscious, deeply ingrained parts of your mind. Decluttering this area of your life can require ongoing effort and persistence.

When you uncover a thought or belief you’d like to change (such as I don’t deserve time for self-care), the first step to changing it is awareness. Do your best to notice when the thought creeps in. When it does, make a conscious choice to replace the thought with a healthier one that supports your goals and desires.

Consider putting up affirmations throughout your home, journaling, meditating, or chatting with a supportive friend about your new direction. If you’re struggling with a stubborn issue that stems from a significant emotional wound or trauma, please consider getting professional help to assist with healing and releasing it. (Your future self will thank you for taking this brave step!)

Here is my challenge for you:

As you go throughout your day, be mindful of what you’re doing and thinking. Stop and ask yourself: Is this activity/relationship/thought in alignment with who I want to be, how I want to feel, and what I want to be doing? If it isn’t, it’s time to let it go.

The more you remove, the more you open up space in your life for the things you want and that matter most to you. Release all the clutter in your life (not just the stuff in your home) and you’ll feel lighter, freer and happier than you can even imagine.