Look at the photo above. How do you feel? Don’t you feel mentally exhausted? You will feel stressed just by mere looking at it. Does your environment look similar? The fact of the matter is that a messy living and working environment do cause stress and anxiety. A study done by anthropologists from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) showed a direct link between clutter and stress. So, to remove stress, you must begin by decluttering.
What is clutter? A clutter is a collection of things from mails, books, magazines, plastics, pens, dirty clothes or just simply anything that is scattered everywhere creating a mess. It results to the impediment of movement and it reduces the functionality of the space.
It is difficult to maximize the use of your space if you have clutter everywhere. Not only that, chances are, you will be wasting a lot of time looking for missing items. In addition, clutter can also make you lose money by misplacing your bills. You might also feel embarrass when there is an unexpected guest. Thus, removing clutter will help you get rid of that unnecessary stress, worries and fear.
Causes of Clutter
Common causes of clutter include:
- Emotional attachment to things
- Guilt in disposing presents
- Lack of time to clean up
- Shopping for things that you don’t actually need
- Unfinished projects
How to Remove Clutter
Here are some tips on how you can remove clutter in your home:
1. Allot 15 Minutes per Day
Decluttering can be overwhelming if you have managed to accumulate tons of it for the past several years especially if you are busy. It would be very difficult to do it one sitting. The best approach is to allot 15 minutes a day for decluttering. All you need is a timer and a calendar. Set the timer at the start of the 15 minutes and mark your calendar with an X once you are done. This 15-minute daily habit will not only slowly transform your home but will also result to an improvement in your quality of life.
2. Do it One Room at a Time
If clutter is present in your whole house, the best approach is to do it one room at a time. Choose the room where you spend most of your time.
Figure out what the purpose of that room is. Each room in your home needs to have a clear purpose. What is it for? Is it a place where you sleep and rest? Is it a place to entertain your guests or to eat with the family?
Once you have clearly defined what the specific purpose of that space is, now you need to remove all things that do not relate to that specific purpose. Start with the left hand corner going down and slowly moving to the right. Think of it as if you are reading. Once you have finished with one room and see the results, you will be more than motivated to continue to the next room.
3. Use the 3-box-method
First look for items in your house items in your house that you need to declutter. Get 3 boxes and label each box with the following:
Then begin filling each box. Make sure to fill up each box equally. For items that you are unsure of, ask yourself whether you need that item or not. If you do need that item, do you use it? If your answer ‘no’ to both questions, then that is a sign that it is time for you to let go of that item.
4. Do the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment
If your problem is on how to organize your wardrobe, a quick and easy way is the Oprah Winfrey Experiment. Start with hanging all your clothes in the opposite direction. After wearing a specific clothing, return it back to your closet but this time in the correct direction. Do this for six consecutive months. After six months, you will have a clear idea on what items to dispose and not. You can try this approach with other household stuffs such as linens, bedsheets, cleaning products, etc…
5. Stop Buying Stuff
If there is a need for you to declutter, it only shows that you have so much stuff in your home. It would be very difficult to proceed with your decluttering if you are going to continue buying stuff. So, stop buying in the meantime until you have finished your decluttering. You will also be saving money by not shopping.
First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 07.22.2018