Four Steps toward
De-Cluttering Your Life

by guest blogger Chalene Johnson, life-balance expert, fitness coach, and author of PUSH.

Four simple life de-cluttering steps can make the difference between an unfulfilled New Year’s Resolution and the most rewarding year of your life.

For many, the new year is like hearing the pop of a starting gun at the beginning of a race. It’s go time, baby! Eager to live a life done differently, many see the new year as a time for a fresh new start. New is exciting.  New gives us permission to dream, to envision possibilities, to hope, to transform, and to start again. Transformation is within reach, but it means more than developing new habits or committing to a workout schedule. Think about the last time you splurged on a new outfit or maybe a workout DVD. The temporary “high” you feel when you have something new often gives way to the muddle of preexisting chaos and old habits. This happens when blinded by the sparkle of something shiny and new, we skip the de-cluttering stage. This year, instead of simply squeezing “new” right up next to “old,” let’s secure your success by doing a little foundation work first.

Starting a new habit is kind of like buying a new couch. No matter how beautiful your new sofa might be, it just creates an unbearably crowded living room if you don’t first call the Goodwill to cart away the old one!

Listen, a new year is time for you to get serious about living the life that you deserve. Building that amazing life, just like designing a dream home, requires a plan.  This year, before committing to yet another New Year’s resolution, let’s do a little life de-cluttering!

Transformation requires new habits, fresh routines, a commitment to your priorities, a revised schedule, and an environment that supports your success. If you simply decided to exercise four days a week this year, and you don’t clear four hours of other activities, you’re more likely to have a stress attack than a six pack! This year will be different. By following these five steps to de-clutter your life, you’ll make room for the transformation that is destined to be yours this year.

Step one: Make room for the new.

In order to have an organized closet, the rule of thumb is to donate one bag of clothes for every new bag of clothes you bring home. The same rule applies when you’re adding something to your schedule or making room for more “free time.” Here’s a quick list of things you might want to consider tossing immediately.

  • All your “in case I get fat again” clothes hanging in the back of your closet
  • Workout shoes that have more than 100 hours of wear on them
  • Anything you haven’t worn in the last six months
  • Any weekly appointment or commitment that you really do not look forward to or find yourself dreading each week.
  • Life-sucking so-called friends who add drama and not quality to your life.
  • Clutter! Anything that if you were to put your home up for sale you would move into the garage to make your space feel less cluttered should be donated or tossed.

Step two: Clearly define what is most important to you this year.

What is your top priority? Give it measure and descriptive detail. In other words, rather than thinking, “my health is my top priority at the moment,” elaborate: A more clearly defined priority would be, “My top priority is to make eating whole foods and exercising for a part of my daily life. In doing so, I will limit any activities that are contrary to my healthy pursuits.” Let your top priority be known. By doing so, people are more respectful of your boundaries.

Step three:  Learn to use The Golden Phrase.

Each time you say “yes” to something new, you must say “no” to something you’re already doing.  However, for admitted People Pleasers like me, saying “no” is very uncomfortable—so much so that I developed an alternative response that I want to share with you! The next time someone volunteers you to plan the awards banquet or help move friends into a new apartment, take a deep breath, stop yourself from using the “Y” word, and try this one instead: “Thank you for thinking of me! Let me check my schedule and get back to you!” Now you have time to make a “wise” decision and determine what other commitment you’ll get rid of before you can agree to take on something new.

Instead of automatically responding, “Sure, no problem, I’ll do it,” get in the habit of using The Golden Phrase! Saying “no” will help you to become more productive.  Remember, if you’re going to live the life you deserve, you need to place the greatest importance on those pursuits that keep you on track with your top priority.

Step Four:  Create an environment that makes success convenient.

Your environment either supports or obstructs your journey to success. Our worst habits are often supported by a negative or unhealthy environment. “Environment” can include the physical space where you live and the people with whom you spend the most time. Does your environment make your success more attainable or more challenging?

Create the environment you need to support your mission. Your environment affects your mojo, your mood, your creativity, determination, your belief in yourself, your resolve, and ultimately, your success.  If your goal is to focus on your career, then look at your working environment. What could you do to improve the environment? Maybe you’ve resolved to get in the best shape of your life this year. Does that tired old corner of the garage where you’ve set up your treadmill give you the boost of energy your goals deserve? If the answer is no, then do something about it!

I don’t know what came first, the chicken or the egg.  But about the time that I learned to start making all decisions with my top priority in mind, every part of my environment started to become more organized. As I organized my priorities and set goals, my whole life seemed less cluttered, both physically and mentally. My office didn’t look like a bomb had gone off. I wasn’t embarrassed to give someone a ride in my car because it was clean and clutter free. My closet was well ordered and my day had structure. As you begin to think with clarity, your environment will become clutter free. When your life has less clutter, the things that are most important will stand out.

2012 is your year.  Whether your goal is to get in the best shape of your life or to get out of debt, by first following these four simple de-cluttering steps you’ll create the solid foundation you need to solidify your success.


Fitness and life-balance coach Chalene Johnson is the author of PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve! She is also the creator of Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire.



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4 Responses to Four Steps toward
De-Cluttering Your Life

  1. James Early December 27, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Great article. I love the declutter advice to get rid of anything now you would not take with you if you moved to a new house. That’s VERY helpful and puts things in perspective.

  2. Janice Burke December 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Chalene is so amazing! So thankful she is so willing to share her secrets and advice that helped her create the life SHE deserved! Its time to declutter…this is a hard habbit for me! Im a pack rat lol

  3. erin December 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I really liked the concise, yet impactful steps outlined in this article. I’m putting this plan into action! Thanks!

  4. BHK January 3, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    To answer your question: The chicken came first. It’s in Genesis. God created all the animals in an adult form, as were Adam and Eve (even though they are not part of the animal kingdom). There is no mention of God creating eggs, larvas, pupas, or any other form of early-stage life. Hope this helps. P.S. This answer is only for those who believe the Bible; otherwise, a person is free to believe in nothing and create the world in their own mind.

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