Decluttering The Mind ~ By Sally White

Sally White of has kindly written this blog post for you. I hope you will find it helpful and your minds will be less cluttered after reading it. Enjoy!

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I first started decluttering my home to create a calmer environment that would help my over anxious and jumbled mind relax. I considered writing about decluttering possessions, but Colleen does such a good job of it that I thought I’d share something different instead – tips on decluttering the mind.

Begin by identifying the types of thoughts that are cluttering up your mind with worry, stress or negativity. It might seem as if you have a million different worries, but if you start to put them into categories you are likely to notice themes emerging.

Are most of the worries about trying to remember the numerous tasks that need doing or perhaps how you will find the time to do them all? Are you dwelling on things from the past that cannot be changed or worrying about what the future holds?

Once you are aware of the underlying themes, it becomes a lot easier to figure out how to tackle them. Here are some common problems and solutions:

Too many tasks – write them all down so that remembering them all is one less task. Next, prioritise them so you know which to focus on completing first. If the list looks too daunting then simply take a few of the highest priority tasks and turn them into a mini to do list each day.

Putting off larger tasks – break each big task down into several more manageable tasks. For example, cleaning the house could be split by room or type of cleaning (tidying, dusting, vacuuming etc).

Too little time – it is surprising how much time technology can take up without you even realising. Try unplugging by only checking your emails at certain times, turning off social media notifications etc.

Worrying about decisions – trust your initial judgment because repeatedly going over the same information won’t help you make better decisions. Only allow yourself to revisit it if new information comes up. And remember, sometimes there is no right or wrong decision.

Regretting the past – if you can’t change it then it’s time to let it go. Focus on the present and what is achievable.

I’d love to hear your own suggestions in the comments.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Great list … though I’d add not just prioritizing tasks but taking a good hard look at what tasks really need to done … declutter your to-do list.

    • Thanks Kate, that’s a very good suggestion. Sometimes we feel we ought to do everything on the list without thinking about whether they actually needed doing in the first place.

  2. Good information. We can all benefit from decluttering our minds.

  3. Excellent post! Just what I need this week!

  4. Loved reading your post, Sally.
    Something I taught my daughter and have said for decades is…..
    “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority”.

    • Kimberley – thats a good saying. I sometimes wonder how much of my daily to-do list is actually important and how much is actually just part of the Moni-on-a-hamster-wheel habit

    • That’s an excellent phrase Kimberley and one I will try to remember.

  5. This is a bit of a tangent but for the last couple of years my hubby has wanted us to ditch the home number. It wouldn’t be a huge saving, $40 a month or so, and what few calls we do get are usually telemarketers. We mostly use our mobiles. Our house number has been the same for 20 years as we live in the same suburb. When I got my first mobile I got the same number but with the cellular code on the front, which made it easy for the kids to remember.

    I was a bit the same when I got around to closing our PO Box and just had the home and work mail delivered to the street addresses (most stuff comes by email these days) so obviously deep down in my psyche there is a little glitch that relates to such things. I definitely survived closing the PO Box, (the post staff were surprised cause PO Boxes have become very popular again as business mail is now delivered every 2nd day unless it goes to a PO Box these days, but I figure Im helping keep the remaining posties in work.

    But getting back to the house phone, I know it is the logical thing to do but I keep stalling, any good suggestions?

    • I really want to ditch the home phone, too. And, it is my wife that objects, probably for the same reasons as you have. One problem for us is the internet- ATT gives us a package deal that is cheaper to have both internet access and home phone. I KNOW there must be an alternative that is cheaper. We do have one other company that provides tv/phone/internet in the area, but their primary service is tv. We only have rabbit ears and have no desire to have anything more. Sure was easier (and cheaper in the long run) before deregulation here in the US.

      • Jeff – When our kids were little a house phone was a necessity ie for emergency service. I also remember yakking on the phone to friends as I’d go about my housework. Now we text. I also recall that $40 landline fee seemed a lot of money out of the household budget back then, when we were on one income. Now we have an unlimited wifi package worth more than that, and thats considered more the necessity!
        Ive just been told by a friend that I can have the landline disconnected but keep the number and have it transfer to one of the mobiles. Fee $15 p/month. Maybe thats a way I could transition it out. If we were to move house I wouldnt bother with a landline but letting go seems more difficult while staying put.

        • Hi Moni. The problem was solved for us when we built our new house because the phone company can’t seem to find us and told us it would be 2 years before they could provide service! (the next door neighbor and the folks across the street have landlines…) We now have mobiles but aren’t really used to them, have a tendency to misplace or not charge them, so I am reluctant to be without a home phone. Our solution was a home phone through our cell provider. Plug a gizmo into the wall, plug the telephone into that. Kept the old number but it is billed through the cell company and much cheaper than dealing with 2 companies. Maybe your mobile provider has this service?

    • Moni,
      We still live in the age of the dinosaurs too.
      I am not ready to give up my landline right now.
      Part of it is the “teach an old dog new tricks” mentality.
      At some point, I will either be ready or forced into it.
      Which ever comes first, haha!

    • Colleen Madsen

      We haven’t had a home phone for a few years now and haven’t missed it. Some things just become habit clutter, simply an emotional reaction to the status quo. Let it go Moni.

    • Idgy of the North


      I completely understand the dilemma, we have a land line. As I work from home, I mainly use it for work (am in meetings 4-7 hours a day). We have been looking at voip options, but many of the voip services limit you to 3,000 minutes per month – with work calls, I am much higher than this. I am considering switching to my work mobile instead. I keep stalling due to the great number of places where we have to change the number.

  6. Haven’t had a land line for over 4 years. The only things I “miss” are the $40/month charge & all the solicitation calls. So glad I don’t have it any more! My cell phone has done just fine.

  7. We have kept our land line because it is also the fax #. We do not use the fax as much as we once did, but it is still a convenience. Since the land line has an answering machine, we use it to weed out unwanted calls. And the answering machine is a convenience for dr. appt. reminders and anyone else who does not need an immediate answer. We have a speaker phone, so we can both hear what is being said. My husband does not hear as well as he once did. But the main reason is that we live in hurricane territory, and were once without power for 8 days. We did not have land line use some of that time, but we could use it part of the time even though we had no power. It would have been hard to keep the cell phone charged during that time since we spent the days at home cleaning up downed trees, etc.

    I enjoyed Sally’s article, and need to write more things down. I do that a lot, but realize there are more items where it would help. I probably should write down what I donate because usually if I can’t find something I just say I must have donated that, lol. Most of the time that is true, but not always. There are about 25 books in the car to donate–books are so hard to declutter, but I just got honest and told myself the 3 or 4 I may not have read had been around long enough I was never going to read them. I guess books get aspirational like crafts and sewing materials.