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PERSONAL FINANCE: Get rid of your junk

Saturday January 12 2019

Even the simplest things like opening a new folder on my computer for the year’s gives me joy.

Even the simplest things like opening a new folder on my computer for the year’s gives me joy. PHOTO| FOTOSEARCH 

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I love the beginning of the year. Even the simplest things like opening a new folder on my computer for the year’s gives me joy.

You probably have a few days left before life, work, school runs and traffic return to normal. Your resolutions are still fresh in mind or on paper.

Many times we fall back into our normal way of being and before you know it, the year has ended. I don’t know about you but I can’t forge ahead with new plans when the old stuff is lingering. That’s why I think it is important to declutter – get rid of the old so that you can make space for the new. Progress does not happen in disorder.

You may want to have a new look or style this year. It won’t happen if clothes are falling from your closet and you can’t even see what you have.

You may want to be more efficient with time. That won’t happen with that disorganised filing system. You take more time to find files on your computer or trace the email then to do the actual work.


So let’s start with your physical space. Clean up your desk, office, house, wardrobe, store, and so forth. You know the places in your lives that just seem to block you mentally, you walk in there and you can just feel the heaviness.

I know this may not seem very important in the midst of getting kids ready for school and going back to work but it is.

This is going to be a creative year for me where I get to come up with new things for you to read and learn. My office doesn’t feel at all creative at the moment. There are things lying around that I don’t need and just will not help me get into a creative space.

The next and most important decluttering process takes place in the mind.

The digital world has many benefits but one disadvantage it has is cluttering our minds. Reading everybody’s comments, blogs, opinions and even the jokes they send is tiring.

Call me old fashioned but I still think the saddest thing is to see people having a meal together… with their phones.

First, get rid of groups or social media friends who clutter your head. Last year I took a real break. I was physically away and next to the ocean which is my favourite place on earth, but I also did not look at my phone for that week.


I came back extremely mentally re-energised and realised that the world did not fall apart because I didn’t reply or contribute to WhatsApp messages.

Afterwards I then set boundaries with my device. You should too. Health experts advise that you should not look at your phone an hour before sleeping and an hour after waking up. You shouldn’t watch TV either (I’m still working on that). It disrupts your sleep and is unhealthy for your mind.

The first thing you do when you wake up should not be to fill yourself with other people’s opinions. Decluttering your money will be an ongoing subject so stay tuned.

However, to kick us off, remember that wealth does not happen in disorder so your financial affairs cannot be all over the place.

Before you earn your next income know where your money goes. In fact, proactively allocate where you want it to go. It’s called budgeting. It doesn’t matter how much you earn; you cannot create wealth without this.

Next, know your assets and your liabilities (debt). We tend to have a lot of financial clutter – too many accounts, policies that you signed up for but don’t really work, shares of some company, chamas, etc.

List them down so you can find out what is worth keeping and what may be worth investing more in. Also come face to face with how much you actually owe and to whom. Running away from it doesn’t solve the problem.

The money that you are frivolous with can go a long way in paying down your debt. Do you run a business and are feeling cluttered?

Next week we will talk about what decluttering looks like for entrepreneurs.


Waceke is the founder of Centonomy, which offers coaching on personal finance & entrepreneurship. Get in touch with her on [email protected]|Facebook/WacekeNduati| [email protected]