How to Use Your Journal to Declutter

How to Use Your Journal to Declutter

Yes writing in your journal can help you declutter! I’ve created a daily journal habit that has lasted over 14 years, and I also used my journal when I cleared the clutter from my own life.  This article explains why journaling is such a powerful transformation tool, how to move past common journal writing challenges and specific journal prompts to use.

There’s no end to the clutter tricks, hacks and tips filling your Pinterest feed every day.  It seems everyone wants the magic pill that makes our clutter disapear.

As a professional home organizer, I need you to know that tips and lists aren’t enough.  If those hacks instantly worked, wouldn’t we all be cured of our clutter by now?

But here’s the secret weapon that helped me completely clear and organize my life: my journal practice.

It’s been over twelve years since I began my journey to a clutter-free life.   And my journal was the piece that brought all of my efforts together.  Because it wasn’t until I changed my beliefs about myself and held a clear vision for my future that the decluttering magic really happened.

Suggesting you write in a journal to take control of your clutter may seem a bit unconventional.

After all, there’s a 8.8 billion dollar industry ready to sell you baskets, shelves and lazy Susan’s that will instantly make all of your clutter go away.

Or will they?

Those products may beautify, organize and streamline your home, but clearing is deeper than that.  I believe the real change takes place when you clear away all of the excess stuff in your home to build a better life for yourself.

Why Use Your Journal to Declutter?

When you heal your limiting mindsets, you’ll find the actual physical process of decluttering  much easier.

Carolyn Koehnline is a mental health counselor who teaches her students journal writing techniques to clear their clutter.  Here’s what she has to say about the results:

“I noticed that it was more often the case that people reported successful clutter-clearing not as the result of a particular tip or strategy but because their perception of the clutter issue had changed.”

You may beat yourself up for not conquering your clutter yet and worry it’s never going to get better.

This is where mindset work is so important!  And the easiest place to work on your mindset is in your journal, because nobody is watching or judging.  After all, it’s just you and the pages.

You’ll be amazed at how well you get to know yourself within your journal.

As I started my own clutter clearing journey, I had no clue where to start in my home.

So, I began by writing down in my journal how I wanted my life and home to feel. This guided my actions and with persistence I cleared every area of my home.  It was incredible.

Another reason I suggest using your journal to declutter are their low cost and accessibility. You don’t need any special skills or equipment, just a pen and paper.

Journal Writing Challenges

Writing in a journal will open up incredible new ways of believing in yourself.  This is the foundation of creating a life you love.

Your journal is a place to be honest about your clutter and why it’s there, allowing yourself to forgive and move on.  From this empowered place, you can build towards the calm, peaceful living space you’ve always dreamed of.

To succeed in clearing clutter, you must keep promises to yourself and develop supportive habits.

Doing this will last longer than any hack or tip out there. When you use your journal to declutter, you’ll have the support to succeed.  But, getting started with this practice has common challenges that come along with it.

Below are common reasons you might not start your journal practice, plus simple solutions to move past them.

Reason #1 You don’t have time

This resistance may already be present as you read this article.  It’s a classic chicken and egg scenario.

You want less clutter so you’ll have more time, but you don’t declutter because you never feel like you have the time.   And now I’m asking you to write in a journal every day?  Forget it.

This is where small, daily habits multiplied will get you the greatest results.  You don’t need to write in a journal for an hour to get the benefits, even five minutes will help clear your mind and keep you focused.

Here’s the thing: saying you don’t have time is an excuse.

What’s really happening?  

You’re choosing to prioritize other activities.

What if instead of scrolling Instagram Reels for five minutes after you wake up, you wrote in your journal?

Try this:  Set a timer for 5 minutes and write.  When the timer goes off, you may find the 5 minutes when by so quickly, you’re able to write more.  Or, that might be all for the day.

Everybody has 5 minutes. It’s a choice.

Reason #2 You don't know what to write

This is a common challenge amongst newbie journal writers. And the easiest way around it is to use prompts and fill in the blanks. Below I share my favourite journal techniques. Choose one or try them all – it’s up to you!

Gratitude Lists

When you actively cultivate a positive mindset, you’ll be amazed at the changes you create in your life.

Bob Proctor suggests this journal prompt:  “I’m so happy and grateful because… “

I’ve been writing out this sentence for 14+ years, and no matter what was going on in my life, I always find an answer. The air I breathe, my black and white cat Starla snoring softly next to me. The sun shining, a call from a friend.  I’ve written out hundreds of answers and know I’ll never run out examples for my gratitude lists.  I have dozens of pages of gratitude collected from my life.

 

Cultivating gratitude for your home also allows you to declutter and organize it from a place of love.  Do you enjoy meals with your family in your kitchen?  Maybe bedtime stories with your youngest are the highlight of your day.  

Write these happy experiences down – they’ll motivate you to create even more reasons to love your home.

Scripting

If your home stresses you out, try imagining something better for yourself.

Scripting is when you write about a future goal as though it’s already come true.  I started this practice in my bedroom and would write things like:

“I’m so much calmer now that I wake up and can easily find something to wear in my closet.  It makes my whole day smoother and I’m proud of the decluttering I’ve done.”

Or

“Every time I walk into my peaceful, serene and tidy bedroom I smile.”

Remember, I wrote this before I had decluttered my room! But writing in this way triggers the belief that you’ve already made it happen.

When you feel how good your future is, you can’t help but do the work to make it come true.

Setting goals & tracking progress

You can use your journal to list out what you’d like to clear, and then celebrate when you’ve completed the task.   This works well going room by room or category by category.  The important thing is you have a record of your progress.

Often, we grow in life, but are so hard on ourselves we barely see the difference we’ve made.  

Recording your progress in your journal gives you tangible proof of change to see how far you’ve come.

Affirmations 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love affirmations.  Repeating them keeps you in the right head space to achieve your biggest dreams in life.  

Affirmations lift you up when you feel down, and can help you take back your power when you feel powerless.

Affirmations can be written daily in your journal for a mindset boost.  

They will increase your confidence as you tackle decluttering parts of your home and life that have been hidden away for years.

Below is the post popular affirmation I’ve shared with my audience:

I hope by now I’ve convinced you that a journal is an unconventional yet powerful way to clear clutter easily.

The more you write in your journal, the clearer your life path will become.

Clear Clutter in an hour or less!
This guide shows you the exact 4-step process I use with my organizing clients. If you try to clear clutter but end up working in circles and feeling frustrated, try The Clear Your Life Method instead.
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