So if you are anything like me, just looking at the above picture is causing you to itch or want to crawl inside and start cleaning. For many people, this room is a daily reality of what it’s like to live inside of clutter. Clutter isn’t just a mess; it’s the cause of stress and anxiety for millions of people today.
Featured in today’s blog is why clutter wastes more time and money, why it causes mental health issues and how you can de-clutter your life.
Clutter Affects Your Time
Studies show that clutter actually affects how much time you waste. Think about it . . . how much time are you spending in search of your lost keys, the $10 you swore you put on your dresser, the socks you wear for luck, or just one pen to sign your kid’s permission slip.
When we have clutter in our drawers or on our counter tops (or Gasp- on our desk) it is nearly impossible to see clearly. Your eyes have to visually adjust to every object you see in front of you and that tornado clouds your judgment. You could literally stare right at the lost item and not even realize it because it is surrounded by so much junk.
Tip to Fix It:
Take one day per drawer/cabinet in your home. I think the reason so many people are hesitant to start a purging process in their homes is because they are overwhelmed by the inordinate amount of work to be done. One drawer and cabinet per day however will take perhaps 20-30 minutes. Put on some happy music while you clean or a motivational video and use this time to think of it as “I’m doing this for me.”
Clutter Causes You to Lose Money
“Honey, where’s the mortgage bill?” you ask after searching frantically for thirty minutes in a monsoon of papers on your desk. Clutter does not just look bad; it can cause you to lose important papers or bills, therefore accruing late fees.
Tip to Fix It:
Now I will admit this is by far the hardest area to commit to cleaning. My husband (I love him, I swear I do) is a “Paper Hoarder”. The man saves bills from when he was 21 (He’s 39 now.) I mean, do you think they are coming back for that 21 cents you owe on your old flip phone?
What we have started in our household is the “clean and analyze” method. First, just like your drawers, you need to spend time daily cleaning your desk. Let’s face it, most people cannot keep their workspace clean if they go more than 5 days without tending to the influx of papers that pile up daily. Spending 10 “power minutes” to clean the desk will help keep the mess contained for longer periods of time. I also recommend doing this mid-afternoon when the afternoon slump hits you hardest.
The analyze method is for you to analyze everyday “will it be harmful to throw this away?” Current bills would cost you money to toss, but that birthday card your grandma gave you two years ago will not. Throwing things away is not bad; it’s cleansing. If this is really hard for you, ask a friend to help. Trust me, I have zero problems throwing away anything my husband deems as important (insert evil chuckle here.)
Clutter Causes You Stress and Anxiety
Before you say, “Oh I’m fine though,” think about if any of the above situations caused you to flinch a little (lost bills, lost items, etc).
I want you to think about how clutter in your home causes stress in certain situations:
- Ever have to spend all day cleaning before entertaining guests?
- Ever feel like you can’t think? You just feel like your mind is cluttered with thoughts and ideas and your head might explode?
- Ever experience mood shifts when you walk into a cluttered room? (I know when my son doesn’t clean his room, I’m instantly annoyed or agitated.)
A cluttered home, car, closet, purse, or desk = a cluttered mind. In order to think clearly and feel good about those thoughts, you need space to be able to do so.
Tips to Make This All Work:
First of all, know that some clutter is normal, especially if you are a parent or live in a home with a larger group of people. It’s unreasonable to expect that every space will be 100% clear (and if you are a mother of a young child and that’s so- write a damn book so we can all learn from you.)
But seriously, start to think about how your clutter affects your “feng-shui” and how that clutter diminishes your creativity. Once you identify what areas cause the most stress, put yourself on a 30 day “cleanse”. Purge your home, your car, your closets, your bags, etc. I’m not saying to do all of this in one day. Who has time for that? I’m saying tackle one task per day for 30 days. There are quite a few books and websites that have calendars meant for this (does anyone love Pinterest as much as me?)
Once you take the 30 days to purge, set up parameters for you to not fall victim to this again. A hook for your keys, a bill organizer, a trash can in every room . . .whatever the system, use it.
I also recommend doing this before 2019. In order to bring in new, we need to purge the old (especially before the 2018 holiday season starts and we begin collecting unnecessary things all over again.)
Oh yeah, and last but not least- things don’t bring you happiness. When we live a life of simplicity, it’s a lot easier to keep our homes (and our minds) clear.
Love and light,
The Still PREP’n Experience
Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).