For many Spring is a time to enjoy the increasing day light and lighten up our surroundings. When our houses or offices are cluttered it makes it hard to de-stress, rest and focus on our family or our work. Furthermore, when our lives are cluttered with too many obligations, tasks or even worries, it adds to our stress levels and saps our daily joy. De-cluttering both our physical surroundings and our minds can increase our happiness and can lay the foundation for making other positive life changes.
In her book Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin discusses how a clean, well-maintained environment helps add a feeling of self-command which will in turn make it easier to stick with additional good habits. Of course there are people who thrive in areas that are messy as it adds to their creativity. For most though clearing out the objects and obligations in our life that are not serving us any longer can be liberating and lightening. The key is to begin the process and take it in manageable steps.
Ways to Clear the Clutter
Create a vision of what you would like your environment and your time to look like. It is very hard to stick with a challenging task if you do not have a vision of what the change will give you. Will clearing out the clutter make your morning routine easier, make it easier to relax when you get home or be able to concentrate more in your office? Think about what you will get by giving up the extra stuff! Also clearing out obligations may give you more time for yourself, your family or for something else that is more important.
Tackle your clutter in small segments.
Many organization experts suggest putting things into piles of keep, donate or throw away. Many get stuck trying to make decisions about those items that we think we might need and struggle to give away. If you get stuck, try putting those items in a box and store in the basement, attic or garage with a date of one year ahead. At the end of the year if you have not needed something in the box, give it away. It might help you let go by visualizing that you are helping someone else who will be able to use it. One word of caution with this approach is over-thinking who that might be or passing on things to people who might not want them. Instead, donate to a good cause and move on knowing you have helped someone who wanted and needed the object.
Start with Your Calendar
For many the clutter starts with their calendar. We can become so over-scheduled that it is hard to find time to decompress or to find time to put things away let alone find time to organize. If this sounds like you look at your calendar and examine each activity. Ask yourself:
- Is it necessary?
- Do I enjoy doing it?
- Why am I doing it?
- Could someone else do it (even if it is not the same way I would?)
- What would happen if I let it go?
- Is this something I could put off for another time?
- Am I doing this because someone else thinks I should?
By answering these questions you will gain awareness about what is really important at this time. If you are not enjoying them, they are not necessary and someone else could handle them, think about coming up with an exit strategy. You can do this as a family and help them prioritize as well.
Some additional tips
Here are some additional strategies that might help.
- Start with the biggest areas of impact. As easy way to determine this is by thinking about what area or activity frustrates you the most.
- Try quick clean-outs. Make a 15-minute playlist of energizing music and play it as you tackle a messy drawer, a few files or an entryway.
- For sentimental items determine whether it is something that you actually like and use or display or if you are keeping out of guilt. Give away things that you are keeping out of obligation.
For additional tips on how to clear your clutter, check out my website www.bewelllifecoaching.com or give me a call (302)584-5521.