Clutter. Most of us have it – it accumulates, and every so often we get organized and clear the clutter, at least some of it, but it has a way of coming back.
Have you ever noticed how clutter makes it difficult to relax? Or maybe a better way to put it, do you notice how more relaxed you feel when you are NOT surrounded by so much stuff?
Julie Morgenstern, a person who specializes in organization and productivity, says “Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home.”
What could you do with that extra time?
So clutter takes up space, and it takes up time to move it around, clean it, think about cleaning it …
And what does it do to your brain?
Actually quite a lot, and it isn’t at all helpful.
It takes time and energy to tend to all that extra stuff, and people actually feel pain when parting with things that they have grown to feel connected with.
A study conducted at Yale showed that at least for “hoarders” the areas in their brain that are connected to conflict and pain is the place that lights up when they think about getting rid of excess stuff.
It is the same place that lights up with addicts try to quit.
Beyond the pain involved with parting, clutter makes it more difficult to focus and process information, and increases the stress response. It acts a lot like multitasking, reducing your ability to think with clarity.
The same thing holds true for digital clutter.
If you want to clear your space, inside and out, practice these 5 ways to clear the clutter:
- Set limits on everything. Don’t buy food too far ahead, don’t buy books before you have time to read them, limit the number of apps you have on your smartphone and tablet. Don’t have more than X number of icons on your desktop (everyone’s x is different, but be brutal!).
- On a monthly basis, go through your house (moving quickly) and grab 11 things to throw away and 11 things to give away.
- Go through your closet every month and donate anything that you haven’t used in the last year – or even sell them on eBay.
- If you have some extra time, go through a drawer to organize and get rid of stuff you don’t need.
- If your storage spaces are running out of room, you don’t need more storage, you need less junk. Review those spaces and get rid of anything you have not used for a year.
When you can take these actions regularly, they will just become part of who you are and you will be amazed at how much more you get done and how much more time you have to have fun!