Extra cash from de-cluttering (and extra clarity too)

In the bustling world of an HDR student balancing research, writing, social events, and casual jobs, it's easy to find ourselves drowning in a sea of chaos.

What I used to do was to try to apply the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ theory by putting all my clutter very neatly into large storage containers and keeping them in the shed.

I’ve recently discovered that over the years I have accumulated nearly 20 of these 60-litre and 100-litre storage containers. Although they are so-called ‘out of sight’, they have not been fully ‘out of mind’ as their mere existence sometimes haunts me (yes – a bit of an exaggeration). I’ve very slowly started to open up these boxes, not only as an exercise to declutter, but more importantly to make space for what really matters to me.

And so, here are some of the things I realized during my weeks and months of decluttering. Beyond just tidying up physical spaces, decluttering extended to my digital realm, my calendar, and my mental load.

  • All the material things. A cluttered physical space often reflects a cluttered mind. Taking the time to declutter our living and studying areas can work wonders for our overall well-being. Start by identifying items you no longer use or need. Whether it's clothes, books, or miscellaneous items, consider donating or selling what no longer serves you. As you do so, you'll find that the physical act of clearing out the old opens up space for new experiences and ideas.
  • Digital decluttering. In the digital age, our virtual spaces can become just as chaotic as our physical ones. Begin by organizing your files and folders, and deleting redundant or irrelevant documents. Unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer interest you and clean up your email inbox. A tidy digital space can enhance your productivity and help you locate important information with ease.
  • A productive calendar. A cluttered schedule can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Take a critical look at your commitments and prioritize what truly matters. It's okay to say no to certain activities if they don't align with your goals or bring you joy. By doing so, you'll create more time for activities that truly enrich your student experience.
  • Boundaries on what you take on in your mental load. Decluttering isn't just about physical spaces and schedules—it's also about our mental landscape. Practicing mindfulness can help you declutter your thoughts and improve your focus. Consider starting a journal to jot down your thoughts, goals, and worries. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can also aid in clearing your mind and reducing stress.

In this process, I have emptied out seven 60L containers and five 100L containers. There are still several boxes to go through and as tiring as it was, it was also all so very fulfilling. I almost immediately felt relief, clarity, and a sense of lightness. I even sold those containers on Gumtree/Marketplace and got back some extra cash instead of just putting them in the yellow bin.

A decluttered physical space promotes a sense of tranquility and helps you think more clearly. A streamlined digital presence makes finding important information effortless. By prioritizing your commitments, you'll have more energy and enthusiasm for the activities that matter most. And perhaps most importantly, a decluttered mind allows for greater creativity and focus.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Productivity, Wellbeing, stress, Student life