But what I love so much about this lifestyle is that it does not end there.
Minimalism goes far beyond getting rid of unused possessions.
Sure, to live more minimally and simply, we most of the time need to simplify our homes and let go of the excess.
But we can also declutter many other spheres of our lives, not just our physical space.
Because clutter is everywhere.
And that clutter weighs us down, gives us anxiety, and has a huge impact on our emotional and mental health.
In short, it prevents us from living the life we want.
Thankfully, just like when we get rid of unwanted things in our homes, we can declutter these immaterial parts of our lives.
And when we do so, we then feel lighter, and it gives us more time, clarity, and peace of mind.
Here are eight things you can declutter that aren’t real, actual things.
8 things to declutter that are not actual things
1 – Your schedule & commitments
Most of us live a busy life with little time for rest and enjoying the things we love.
However, it is difficult to have full control of our time.
We need to work to earn money.
We have to go grocery shopping every few days so that we can eat.
Each week, we have tons of house chores to do. And no matter how much we clean and tidy, it all needs to be done again a week later.
We also need to help our kids do their homework, and drive them to and back from school every day.
And most of us have countless other activities planned on our calendars, and it is hard to free up some time when we want to.
If life often feels hectic, sit down, look at your calendar and go through each of your daily commitments.
Sometimes, there are things we do that we could actually eliminate and stop doing altogether.
Do your kids really need to play three different sports or is letting them attend one or two classes enough?
Do you really need to go to that party or event you are not even excited about?
Declutter non-essential commitments that are taking up too much time and do not add value to your life.
To prevent more unwanted obligations from taking over your life in the future, say no more often. And always think twice before saying yes!
Of course, we cannot always do only what we want.
But if we simplify and declutter our calendars, we will finally have more time for what matters most.
More time for what makes us happy to be alive, and for relaxing and slowing down.
Read more about my best time management tips here!
2 – One-sided or toxic relationships
This is one of the most essential things to declutter that are not actual things!
It is also one of the hardest to tackle.
Over the past few years, I’ve decided to let go of a few friends that did not align with me anymore.
I did not make the decision overnight, it was a long process.
Some of those friendships were toxic to me. They would drain my energy, and leave me feeling empty and depressed every time I would see these people.
There were also a few other friends that I did not have much in common with.
I did not enjoy spending my time with them anymore.
I sometimes am nostalgic about some of these friendships and wonder how things would have been now if they still were in my life.
But then I remember why I let them go.
It feels so much better to be far from toxic people and only nurture my most precious relationships.
So if you can, get rid of one-sided or toxic relationships.
Only stay close to people who are supportive and caring, and who lift you up when you need help.
Just because you’ve known someone for a long time or you’ve created memories together, doesn’t mean you need to keep them in your life forever.
By leaving those unwanted relationships behind, you will have more time for those that mean the most to you.
3 – Your finances
Everyone is in a different financial situation, so not everything may apply to you.
But money can be a significant stress factor for many people!
So I highly recommend that you analyze your finances and make them as simple as possible.
For the past few years, I’ve been trying to simplify my finances to make them simpler and stress-free.
The first thing I did was go through my bank statements.
I looked at where my money was going and if I could eliminate unnecessary expenses that no longer added value to my life.
For instance, if you have a gym membership but prefer working out at home, you might be better off canceling it.
This article about frugal living will give you more easy ways to save tons of money each day!
Since I used to have several bank accounts, I also decluttered those I hardly ever used.
I consolidated them into one so I can easily manage all my finances in one place.
To simplify finances, I highly recommend that you get rid of unnecessary credit cards as well.
Also, work on paying off your debts as quickly as possible.
Owing money is a huge source of stress for most of us, and I promise, becoming debt-free will give you an incredible sense of freedom!
For extra peace of mind, slowly build an emergency fund if you do not have one already.
That way, you will be able to pay for unexpected expenses without going into debt.
Plus, you will be a lot less anxious about the future and what might come up.
4 – Your digital life
With modern-day technology, digital clutter has become one of the major sources of clutter in our lives.
We may not see it, but it certainly impacts us, without us necessarily realizing it.
Raise your hand if you currently have hundreds, or should I say thousands, of unread emails in your inbox!
I’ve been pretty good at managing my email inbox as it always drives me insane when it gets too full.
But I am so guilty of having too many unnecessary pictures saved on my phone and computer!
I also tend to easily subscribe to Youtube channels and then end up having too much clutter in my subscription feed.
To simplify your digital life and let go of this intangible clutter, go through your devices and delete anything that you are not using, that is not serving you, or that you do not like.
For instance, delete blurry, duplicate, or meaningless photos.
Unfriend people you are not in contact with on Facebook, and unfollow people you do not like on other social media platforms.
Declutter unused or unloved games and apps on your phone, and let go of phone contacts of people who are no longer in your life.
Also, it might be time-consuming to do so, but consider unsubscribing from newsletters or email subscriptions you do not like.
Doing so will reduce the number of emails you will be receiving in the future!
Once it is done, it’s time to tackle the mountain of existing emails in your inbox.
If you have thousands of them, break the task down into small manageable ones that you can do each day.
For example, why don’t you commit to deleting 100 emails per day?
This only takes a few minutes to do, and after several days (or weeks), your inbox will finally be clutter-free!
5 – To-do lists and tasks
This one is a bit different compared to the first one.
Eliminating big commitments is essential to simplify our lives. But we should also get rid of unnecessary little tasks on our to-do lists.
We often fill our to-do lists with dozens of tasks to accomplish for a given day.
I’m so guilty of this at times! And I usually feel frustrated at the end of the day that I did not manage to complete even half of them.
However, I’ve found that oftentimes, these tasks I add to my to-do list are not even that important or essential.
Some can be eliminated without being complete at all.
When we think about it logically, why would we even want to do something if it is not necessary or important?
I find that we often do useless tasks to procrastinate and avoid tackling the important ones.
This gives us the illusion that we are productive when in reality, we are not.
Declutter useless tasks on your to-do list to save yourself some energy.
Free up time to accomplish other more essential things or simply things you enjoy doing.
If there are some things on your list that you have to do but have been avoiding for a while, commit to finally getting them done so that you can move on and cross them off!
6 – Your mind
When life gets busy, our brains often get overwhelmed because of our worries and daily problems, and by the number of things we need to remember.
As a result, it’s hard to focus. We may have brain fog, making it even harder to know what to prioritize and accomplish.
Every time I feel overwhelmed, I know it’s time for a good brain dump.
I take a piece of paper and write down everything that’s on my mind, bothering me.
Doing so helps me declutter and organize my thoughts and decide what to do about them.
Thanks to my brain dump, I then know what my problems are, what needs to be solved and dealt with, as well as what I need to forget about.
Writing it down means that you do not need to rely on your already tired brain to remind you of the things you need to do.
It’s a great way to get rid of toxic thoughts and practice self-care!
Once I have dealt with everything I’ve written down and tackled these issues, I usually throw the paper into the recycling bin.
This simple act feels like I’m letting go of the worries that were on that paper.
I then know that there is no need to think about these things again.
7 – Habits that are not helping you create your best life
We all do things in our daily lives that we know we should not be doing.
Whether that is eating junk food every day, smoking, sleeping too little, or spending our money mindlessly, commit to letting go of them, one at a time, starting today.
Depending on the habit you are trying to break, quitting them and incorporating healthy, supportive habits into your daily routines will incredibly improve your life!
I know it’s easier said than done. But even if you choose only one habit you want to change and start working on, you will soon start seeing the benefits.
It could be more energy, a healthier body or mind, more money, less stress, more time, or more meaning in your life.
Do not try to change everything at once, because you will be less likely to stick to your new habits.
Instead, try to nurture positive habits, one at a time, day by day, and promise yourself to let go of self-destructive ones.
Make a list of the things you want to change in your life, and start working on one today.
Next month, pick another habit, and so on until you are happy with your daily habits.
I have a full article about habits you should break to live your best life if you want to learn more about this topic!
8 – Your diet
One of the most important things you should declutter that’s not an actual thing but that will make a massive difference in your life is your diet.
Get rid of everything that does not make you feel good after eating them.
Try to cut out processed food, too much salt and sugar, and anything that does not serve your body.
To simplify the process, make a list of some of your favorite go-to, healthy meals that are super easy to prepare.
Having a few recipes of healthy meals that do not take a lot of effort to cook will make it less difficult to ditch unhealthy foods.
If you have the time, also try to prepare some yummy yet healthy snacks in advance.
That way, every time you feel like eating something, you will have these ready and you will be less likely to choose sugary foods.
I’m not saying you should only eat healthy food and never have unhealthy snacks or meals ever again.
But if 80% of the time, you manage to keep your meals simple and healthy, cooked with basic natural ingredients, your body will start feeling much better.
As a result, you will have more energy to work on the things that make you happy or enjoy the daily pleasures of life.
Minimalism can be applied to so many other parts of life!
Decluttering those intangible things can make us feel as much lighter and freer as getting rid of our physical stuff.
What things that aren’t actual things are you planning to declutter in the upcoming weeks?
Let’s chat in the comments below!