It may sound really stupid, but one of the greatest pleasures in life, for me, is organizing my cupboard and wardrobe.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not obsessed with tidying up. I simply derive pleasure from scrupulously folding my clothes and sorting my living space, as if it’s a way of regrouping my life and quieting my thoughts…

According to organizing consultants (yes, can you believe it, there are actually such people!), I’m not so crazy after all.  They, and many psychologists say that organization gives us a sense of control, not just of our physical space, but of our minds and emotions, too.

“Minimalism” has become a real buzzword the last few years, with its own media gurus who promise that decluttering our homes and simplifying our lives will help us cope with an overwhelming world

In her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Japanese clutter consultant (I know, it sounds funny hey!), Marie Kondo, states: “Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.”  She has even invented a way of decluttering, the KonMari method, that encourages people to keep only those items that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.  She says, “thank them for their service – then let them go. Silly thought?  Not really.  She says decluttering gives you a sense of accomplishment, feelings of self-efficacy, and it improves your mood.  It becomes a way of self-care…

Clutter – even the world feels heavy when we say the word…

We are all familiar with the saying “Less is more”.   But decluttering is not as easy as it seems.  Clutter is “in the eye of the beholder”, in the sense that some clutter might perturb some people and be totally fine for others.  Look, I’m very sorry, but things like not wearing make-up and not colouring my hair, is definitely not my idea of decluttering, just as it would seem unthinkable to someone else to get rid of the 200 Rooi Rose magazines in the cupboard of their living room, that no one has set eyes on since 2011.

The American writer, Alison Faulkner, recently said: “Enough is a decision, not an amount.”  But why is it so painful to let go of some items?  American professor of psychology, Darby Saxbe, explains that it’s our fear of being vulnerable.  Almost as if it’s safe to hide behind our clutter, to avoid the risk of exposure. Phew, this is quite a mouthful…

I suppose you are also wondering – what on earth does clutter have to do with fitness?!  It’s simple. Clutter is not just about the stuff we see.  It’s about our minds. And our bodies.  About being fulfilled, not just on the outside…

Even the tidiest among us struggle with messes we can’t see – mental clutter.   Whether we like it or not, our digital lives are full of clutter, between the endless notifications and opportunities to distract ourselves.  Then there’s losing sleep over tomorrow’s to-do-list, constantly feeling tired, drained, or overworked, having little motivation, and battling to shed those unwanted, stubborn kilos…

I’m sure you know this, but you really owe it to yourself to declutter your relationship with your body.  To find ways to be kinder to your body, because whether you are into exercise or not, it’s so easy to hold tension in your body.

We are often unaware that we’re doing it until our shoulders, jaws, or backs begin aching, especially after long hours behind our screens. Worry, stress, or fear also have sneaky ways of manifesting itself physically in our bodies. A cluttered body is one that has been ignored. The mind-body connection is real. When we ignore our physical health, it shows in all areas. 

Everyone knows that exercise is my body’s decluttering practice.  That, and of course my weekly Thai massage session with Iou.  If you haven’t yet found your decluttering practice in 2023, now is the time.  Even walking, or showering will help!  It will encourage an awareness of your physical condition, and will remind you to soften, and adjust. 

…The good news is, to embrace a lifestyle of minimalism is not about succeeding or failing at it or following a rulebook. There’s no need whatsoever to complicate it. It’s about doing it your way. A big part of minimalism is about what matters to you in life and about being conscious with your choices. About adding more of what matters, and limiting the other stuff.

Just like small slips create clutter over time, small improvements can clear it out, creating space for calm, and help you step into a clutter-free mindset.  But I would say, long before you remove unwanted clothes, old magazines, and appliances that don’t work, get rid of guilt, get rid of blame, get rid of negativity, and rather get rid of a few kilos.

As Joshua Becker writes in his book, “The Minimalist home”:  “Minimizing forces us to confront our stuff, and our stuff forces us to confront ourselves.”

Every time you make a decluttering decision, you’re not just deciding to let go.  You’re also making a decision about the type of person you want to be.  It won’t feel magical while you are in the messy middle…but one day you’ll look in the mirror and catch yourself smiling at your reflection.  And then you’ll wonder why you ever needed so much stuff in the first place.

May you find the courage to get rid of all the trash in 2023, to make room for the treasures, may you clear the clutter, and make room for YOU! 

Yours in fitness


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2 comments to “Declutter?”

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  1. Anthonie Botha says:

    Middag Mirna,
    Wat ń wonderlike manier om die goeie jr van 2023 te begin!

    • Mirna says:

      Dankie dat jy lees Anthonie!