Clear out your physical and mental spaces

Written by Vadrine Boulle

Those who follow a minimalist lifestyle appreciate the idea that a good decluttering session could be the antidote to relieving stress and anxiety while regaining clarity by taking back control of our physical and mental spaces. 

I think we can all relate to that feeling of relief and joy after a good wardrobe spring cleaning or clearing out the kitchen fridge. 

But what if we could harness those same principles to declutter our physical and mental spaces to achieve clarity on our next career steps? 

When we carry the unnecessary baggage from our past, hold on to too many things at once, or haven’t made room in our physical spaces, it can be hard to move forward, to visualize and manifest the life and the job we desire. 

So what aspects of your career can you declutter?

  • Baggage from bad past employment. For example those feelings of resentment and loss after leaving an old job on bad terms with people
  • Your portfolio/resume or CV. You’ve just been piling on all of your past without really tailoring it to your goals
  • Your social media, inbox and online spaces
  • Your work-from-home space. The desk that you use to work at or the cabinet where you keep all your important papers, or maybe it’s an entire home office. When was the last time you did a little organising in there and got rid of the old clutter?


How can you declutter your career? Here are a few steps to do that so that you can find the mental clarity to make better decisions and the physical space to take action!

  • Ask yourself how holding on to the past will serve you. Are you ready to let go and make room for what's to come? Are you ready to learn from the experiences and the mistakes and move forward?
  • Take inventory of your LinkedIn connections.  Which of these connections are no longer serving me? Which ones elicit negative reactions? Which ones are genuine networks that have and will continue to allow me to grow? 
  • Audit and adjust your CV. Don’t cram those two or so pages with every single thing you’ve ever done. Remove anything that doesn’t serve the job you want next. Need more help with your CV? Check out this blog post.
  • Clear out your inbox and virtual storage drives. How many times have you told yourself you need to unsubscribe to all these newsletters that are just cramming your inbox? Or that you need to clear up your laptop’s desktop? Maybe you’ve got a whole bunch of files from old work that you need to put on a hard drive or in the cloud. Now is the time!
  • Clear out your physical space and get rid of what you don’t need, keep only what brings you joy. You may be familiar with Marie Kondo’s famous motto by now, that you should only keep what brings you joy. Try and use this motto here as well. Clear out your work desk of loose papers and old crumpled notes, organize your folders and files, and clean out that ‘miscellaneous’ drawer (You know the one I’m talking about!). An organized working environment makes for less distracting visual stimulation and this in turn helps clear out your mind and bring in clarity. 


In the same way that having a clean living environment helps to calm the busy mind, having a clear work environment in all aspects, helps with planning the future and getting rid of those self-imposed limitations that are keeping you from taking the necessary steps to either reenter the workforce or make a big career change.