Turn Setbacks into Setups
How to Declutter Your Life and Focus on What’s Important
February 9, 2019
Some of the world’s most famous creative geniuses are said to have been messy and disorganized. So what’s the issue, you think, if your own space looks a little…busy?
We don’t always realize it, but clutter causes us a lot of problems. Too much mess can add to your stress, and it can impact the enjoyment you get out of being in your own space. It’s a distraction as you try to get work done, affecting your motivation and perception of productivity. And worst of all, clutter tends to breed more clutter, which can make it seem impossible to tackle the growing buildup.
For your own peace of mind, you should hold your living and workspace to strict standards of tidiness and organization, making sure you have more energy to follow through with your passions.
To make things easier, here are our tips on how to get rid of your stuff, declutter your life, and be productive and focused in your own space.
How to Declutter Your Home or Office
If your space is overwhelmingly cluttered, especially if the mess seems insurmountable, don’t panic. It’s perfectly okay to deal with the mess a little at a time, even over the course of days or weeks, as long as you make a plan and follow these steps.
- Decide where you’ll put it all.
Be prepared with labeled boxes or bags nearby, each with a different final destination: donation, trash, or storage.
- Tackle just one room at a time.
This holds true whether it’s a room at home, or your office or workspace. It can take a full day to clean out a single room, so don’t be hard on yourself if it feels like slow going. You might be surprised how tiring it is!
To keep things in perspective, Helen Sanderson, creator of The Home Declutter Kit, has one of our favorite declutter-your-life quotes: “Clutter is actually a pile of decisions that haven’t been made.” As we make those difficult decisions about keeping or tossing or storing our objects, we start to get decision fatigue—which is why there’s generally only so much decluttering we can handle in a single day.
- Begin from the floor up.
If you can do so easily, put things wherever they really belong in your space. If they don’t have a clear destination, put them in one of your labeled boxes or bags. Once you’ve cleared the floor, move to the next horizontal surfaces, like beds, desks, and tables to do the same.
- Dive into nooks and crannies.
When you’ve cleared the flat surfaces, it’s time to dig into drawers and closets. If you can, empty them out completely and sort through them, keeping only the things you actually need or use often.
Next, repeat the process in the other rooms of your house! Don’t forget to do the same in any storage spaces, garages, or sheds of your home.
How to Keep Your Space Decluttered
Congratulations! You’ve finally decluttered your home. But once you’ve cleared your space, it’s easy to slip into old habits, letting yourself throw things anywhere, just like you used to. Fight off that urge! It’s easy to maintain a clean space in just a few minutes a day, as long as you make the commitment.
We love to apply the One-Minute Rule here: you should immediately do any tasks that pop up, as long as they’ll take under a minute. In other words, drop a dirty plate in the dishwasher instead of leaving it in the sink, or put clothes where they belong as soon as you take them off.
And if you’ve got five minutes, you can do even more. Sweep through the house to check for clutter at the end of the day, as this makes a huge difference in the amount of clutter in your home or office. Or give yourself five minutes with creative “declutter your life” checklists like these strategies, choosing the one that works best for you.
You’d be surprised how clearing out the junk in your home or office can clear your mind as well, giving you a little more mental space to focus on the things that truly matter. It’s time for a serious spring cleaning. What will you do once you’re free of distractions?