How to get into a “flow” state as you declutter

Mar 08, 2024


Imagine effortlessly going about your decluttering… you're laser focused, other thoughts fall away, you're present, connected… time flies by, and you're feeling really good! Sounds too good to be true? We don’t think so! Even clients who think they aren’t good at decluttering or don’t like it are surprised by how they can “get into the zone.” 

Flow state is a concept identified by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He defines flow as, “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”*

With the right conditions decluttering can feel like a moving meditation. The more you're "in flow" when you clear clutter, the more enjoyable and effective the process will be. And the more you will want to do it again. 


Decluttering takes time so it's important to value the process as much as the end result. With self-compassion and a grateful heart, there is as much joy to be found while decluttering as there is upon completion. 


Often what gets in the way of achieving flow while decluttering is getting stuck in our heads. When you are choosing what to keep and what to let go of, it is better to choose from the heart. Your mind will only confuse you and get in the way of flow.

Here are some tips for shifting from your head to your heart and into a flow state as you declutter:

  1. Clarify your intention: Why are you decluttering? How will a clutter-free space serve you? What do you gain? 
  2. Visualize your clutter-free home or find an image that captures your ideal clutter-free space and/ or that elicits the emotion of how you will feel in your clutter-free space.
  3. Prepare: Give yourself uninterrupted time by limiting  distractions, for example by turning off your phone. Also, have everything you need on hand, such as bags and boxes ready for the things you choose to let go of, or cleaning products to wipe down surfaces, so you don’t have to stop your decluttering to go look for them.
  4. Choose an area and begin by taking everything out: Empty the closet drawer or cabinet and put all the items on the floor, bed, or table. 
  5. Trust your body: When you are choosing what to keep and what to let go of, first hold or touch the object. Then observe your body's response. If you take a deep breath and feel expansive and uplifted, chances are the item is a loved keeper. You can put the item back where it came from. If you feel a clenching sinking feeling, likely it is time to let go. Place it in your boxes or bags. 
  6. Just focus on decluttering: Thinking about organizing and arranging items will move you into your head. For now, just put the items you keep back where you found them. After you finish your decluttering, you can organize. 
  7. Keep moving: Don't over deliberate when you clear. If you can't decide, just keep it and move on. Motion will keep you in your body.   
  8. Observe any judgment: If you find yourself judging yourself or your home, or engaging in negative self talk,  as you clear just observe the judgment by saying to yourself, "oh, there I am judging," and return to your clearing.
  9. Appreciate: Expressing gratitude for the things you choose to keep and the things you giveaway will instantly shift you into a heart centered space.

 Set yourself up for success and find your flow!


*Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

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