From multiple social media platforms, to diaries overflowing with meetings, clothes we don’t wear, appliances we don’t use, and foods filled with chemicals we don’t really need, life is brimming with more and more junk.

The result is clutter. 

Not only in our homes but in our inboxes, our diaries, our fridges – and in our heads. 

And it’s making us feel overwhelmed and overloaded like never before.

But what if rather than doing more, you could be more successful by taking away what’s no longer working for you? Whether it’s in your diet, your exercise, your work life and even your choice of goals this year, what if doing less could make you more effective?

In his book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, behavioural sexpert Leidy Klotz talks about the incredible power of doing less. 

As more of us choose to cleanse not only our diets but also our homes, exercise routines, supplements, relationships and digital lives, our wellbeing will improve, and our nervous systems will get a break from our 'always on' culture

As more of us choose to cleanse not only our diets but also our homes, exercise routines, supplements, relationships and digital lives, our wellbeing will improve, and our nervous systems will get a break from our ‘always on’ culture

‘We collect new-and-improved ideas, but we don’t prune the outdated ones,’ he says. 

‘Every day across challenges big and small we neglect a basic way to make things better: we don’t subtract’.

Viridian Nutrition, an ethical vitamin company, has launched a report and a survey called Viridian Dejunk your Life Report 2024 on how to pare down your life to what really matters, what really works and most importantly, what you really want.

In 2024, the pursuit of a ‘no junk life’ will become increasingly important, it says. 

As more of us choose to cleanse not only our diets but also our homes, exercise routines, supplements, relationships and digital lives, our wellbeing will improve, and our nervous systems will get a break from our ‘always on’ culture.

So, take Viridian’s 16-question quiz to work out if you need a life edit… 

Do you often feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you consume ultra processed snacks like crisps, sweets or low-fat sweetened yoghurts?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you eat ready-made foods?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Are you confused by the labels and ingredients in the supplements you buy?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you use more than three social media platforms?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you sleep with your phone by the bed?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Does your home contain piles of papers, clothes and random items that have been there longer than a week?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Does your relationship feel stale?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you find yourself flitting from one task to the next in the course of a day?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you make long to do lists, only to find that very few items get done?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you make more than one new year’s resolution each year only to find that by the end of February you haven’t stuck with it?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you tend to do more than two hours of work at a time without any breaks?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

Do you find it hard to give up things like social media or junk food, even when you’ve tried in the past?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Don’t know

If you answered ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ to four questions or more, you could definitely benefit from a life edit, Viridian says.

So, how CAN you declutter your life?

Rob Hobson, author of Unprocess Your Life, says: 'Look at some of the UPF meals you cook on a regular basis and think about making your own homemade versions'

Rob Hobson, author of Unprocess Your Life, says: ‘Look at some of the UPF meals you cook on a regular basis and think about making your own homemade versions’

Unprocess your diet

Dejunking your diet starts with identifying the ultra processed foods (UPFs) in your current diet and replacing them with healthy alternatives that nourish your body and support your overall health.

Expert Tip:

Rob Hobson, author of Unprocess Your Life, says: ‘Look at some of the UPF meals you cook on a regular basis and think about making your own homemade versions. 

‘Start with a couple of recipes and try batch cooking them for convenience.

‘There’s no need to make everything from scratch as some shop-bought products are much better than others. 

‘Take plant milks for example – some are just the grain, legumes or nuts along with water and possibly a pinch of salt while others contain additives like thickeners and stabilisers. 

‘So read the label and think “less is more” with ingredients. 

‘If it’s a sauce or a crisp you can’t live without you may need to pick the best of a bad bunch so check the food label for the least UPF foods.’

Registered nutrition practitioner and microbiologist Dr Carol Granger says: 'All supplements are not created equal'

Registered nutrition practitioner and microbiologist Dr Carol Granger says: ‘All supplements are not created equal’

Supplement scrutiny

You wouldn’t hesitate to read a food label. 2024 will be the year you will also read supplement labels and get to know the brands you’re buying, Viridian says. 

A survey at the end of last year showed seven out of 10 people don’t recognise certain ingredients in their supplements.

Expert Tip:

Registered nutrition practitioner and microbiologist Dr Carol Granger says: ‘All supplements are not created equal. 

‘Look on the labels of most supplements and you will find a list of ingredients you won’t expect, from additives to binders, lubricants to glues (yes, glues!). 

‘It’s crucial to know exactly what is in your supplements. 

‘Many of these substances have no benefit for the body, but they make manufacturing easier, so mass production is quicker, cheaper, and easier.’

One of these excipients is titanium dioxide, a commonly mined compound that gives tablets and capsules their uniform colour. It’s also used in white paint. 

Titanium dioxide has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a possible carcinogen and in January 2022, the EU banned it as a food additive. 

Yet, in the UK, it’s still found in medicines, supplements and many foodstuffs.

Aimee Benbow, lead nutritionist at Viridian Nutrition adds: ‘Dig deeper and question anything you don’t understand. Independent health stores are great places to go for health products and advice.’

Clutter at home affects our productivity, mood and can even make us eat more, says organisational behaviour expert Dr Libby Sander

Clutter at home affects our productivity, mood and can even make us eat more, says organisational behaviour expert Dr Libby Sander

Home purge

Clutter at home affects our productivity, mood and can even make us eat more, says organisational behaviour expert Dr Libby Sander.

Extending the declutter process to your living space is an easy win for your wellbeing. Our brains crave order and living in a clutter-free environment is a simple way to give yourself some space to think, literally.

Expert Tip

Dr Sander says: ‘The 12-12-12 method simplifies the decision-making process during decluttering. Identify 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to find a place for somewhere at home.

‘This approach allows for a focused yet flexible approach to the decluttering process that doesn’t overwhelm.’ 

Exercise optimisation

Before you start an expensive new Instagram fad, get the basics of fitness and find out what really works, advises trainer Will Duru, a personal coach with over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry

Will says: ‘No doubt you will be tempted by new get-fit-quick fads in 2024. 

‘Every year, a wave of new exercise trends floods the fitness landscape, each promising the ultimate solution for weight loss and muscle building.

‘As a personal trainer, people come to me every year wanting to lose weight and build muscle and for that the principles are the same. 

‘There are no real secrets and no short cuts, only what science and time have shown to work over and over again.’

Expert Tip:

Will says: ‘Choose one goal at a time. Just like we can gather clutter in our homes and on our phones, we can also get tempted to pile goals onto goals and try to achieve lots of different changes at this time of year. 

‘But the research has shown that doesn’t work. 

‘In fact, one of the reasons resolutions fail is down to a psychological phenomenon called “goal dilution” where we try and change too many things at once.

‘That’s like trying to declutter your entire house at once instead of focusing on one specific area, like your wardrobe. 

‘So, as you make changes, prioritise one area at once and focus on that. By concentrating your efforts, you conserve willpower and increase your likelihood of success.’

Digital dejunk

Digital clutter has been identified as a distinct problem as more and more of us accumulate apps we don’t use, emails we never open and programmes we don’t need. 

Just as we unpack our wardrobes of clothes that no longer fit, so too do our digital lives need regular clear outs.

The average person has 80 apps installed on their phone but uses only nine and a quarter of apps are used just once. If that sounds familiar, you may need a digital declutter, says digital detox expert Tanya Goodin.

Tanya adds: ‘Reducing digital clutter isn’t about removing all tech from your life, it’s about making conscious choices to use what works for you and control the time in which you do it. And lose the rest.’

Expert Tip:

Tanya says: ‘Introducing short breaks in digital engagement can improve cognitive wellbeing and help you get a sense of control. 

‘It’s the constant flitting from one thing to another that impacts the quality of our work and leads you to feeling overwhelmed and chaotic.

‘Make some digital-free space in your life by designating specific areas as tech-free zones.

‘You can start small by leaving your phone four metres or more away during times of focused working so you actually need to get up and check it. 

‘Once you have experienced the clarity working phone-free can bring, you can move onto putting it in your bag, another room or even switching it off.

‘Then, you can introduce specific digitally-focused times into your day. Schedule an hour of digital activity here or there between focused tasks when you can do what you want online from sending messages to posting on social media. Being proactive about your digital time will add to a feeling of control over.’

Just like we refresh our computer browsers, our relationships need a reboot now and again, say Matt and Sarah Davies relationship experts and co-authors of You, Me and the Space Between Us: How to Rebuild Your Relationship

Just like we refresh our computer browsers, our relationships need a reboot now and again, say Matt and Sarah Davies relationship experts and co-authors of You, Me and the Space Between Us: How to Rebuild Your Relationship

Relationship refresh

Even the best relationships build up junk in the form of resentments, repetitive arguments and monotony. 

But there are a few simple steps you can take to press ‘renew’ on your relationship and identify the seeds of dissatisfaction before they germinate.

Like junk builds up in your cupboards, grudges and resentments accumulate in your relationships, causing emotional stagnation and forcing us apart. 

But just like we refresh our computer browsers, our relationships need a reboot now and again, say Matt and Sarah Davies relationship experts and co-authors of You, Me and the Space Between Us: How to Rebuild Your Relationship. 

Experts Tip

Get away from the idea of ‘the one’, the pair say. 

They write: ‘Often people that believe in “the one” can let the dissatisfying things in that 20 per cent be the thing that makes them move on. 

‘But the idea of “the one”, “the twin flame”, the “soulmate” or whatever is a myth. 

‘There are lots of “ones” but no fairy tale people or relationships and people who expect perfection tend to leave relationships and hop from one relationship to another. 

‘Whether you’re single, dating or coupled up, this is helpful to keep in mind.’

By identifying what you don't need to do, you can focus more on things that matter says organisational psychologist Zena Everett, author of The Crazy Busy Cure: A productivity book for people with no time for productivity books and she believes just that

By identifying what you don’t need to do, you can focus more on things that matter says organisational psychologist Zena Everett, author of The Crazy Busy Cure: A productivity book for people with no time for productivity books and she believes just that

Just don’t do it!

Even the smartest minds can be crowded and that affects productivity, mood and creativity. 

Cognitive overload is common, especially in today’s multi-platform world where various channels compete for our attention.

Often referred to as mental clutter. Almost half the items on our to do lists never get done. 

By identifying what you don’t need to do, you can focus more on things that matter says organisational psychologist Zena Everett, author of The Crazy Busy Cure: A productivity book for people with no time for productivity books and she believes just that.

Expert Tip

Zena says: ‘If it doesn’t serve your goals, don’t do it. 

‘This is actually an idea taken from property management where a building is considered for the best way it can be used in an environment. 

‘Every time you get a task – and this especially relates to those daily curveballs we all get – ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time?”

‘Go back to what we discussed in number two about what matters most to you. If the answer is yes, then do it but always think ‘what is not getting done because I’m choosing to do this’.

‘If it’s not the best use of your time, an easy way to say no is ‘I don’t have capacity/ bandwidth for that right now I’m afraid’.

‘Lost time is never found again,’ said Benjamin Franklin. But how many hours in your day do you spend on brain-draining, time-sapping tasks like scrolling social media? 

As more of us become reliant on the dopamine fixes, we get from our likes and reposts, we’ll use some of the steps in the report to reclaim back time and use it more intentionally on tasks that line up with ones goals and values.

Are you ready to do less is more and dejunk? To find out how to do less and dejunk your life https://viridian-nutrition.com/pages/no-junk

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