What problems clutter can cause
As simplistic as it may sound, too much clutter in your life can be a symptom – and also a cause – of stress. As the saying goes, “Tidy house, tidy mind”.
Being surrounded by disorganised piles of papers, to-do lists, things you have hoarded and don’t know what to do with, and general untidiness can quickly sap your energy and leave you feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated – in a state of in-action and generally unhappy.
It takes longer than it should to do simple jobs as you know the clutter stops you finding things you need or they distract you from getting jobs done when you need them done.
Quite simply it’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed if clutter is weighing down your home, your work area and therefore your life.
Dealing with the workspace clutter
But by taking small steps, one at a time, towards reclaiming a clean and clear working and living space you can start to feel re-energised and happy. You can work more efficiently and have more time for the more important and fun things in life.
- In the working day clutter can mean more than just an untidy desk and a non-existent filing system. You’ve heard people talking about information overload and too much ‘noise’? Finding your inbox full of notifications and alerts and e-newsletters that you no longer need or don’t want to read? Spend 2-3 minutes at the start of the day culling them (rather than deleting) to your essentials and free yourself from the tyranny of unread emails continually piling up. You can organise your inbox into folders so that designated must-read items can go straight into them, bypassing your inbox completely.
- Clear your computer or laptop desktop – if it’s full of icons for software you no longer need and random documents and images that should be filed safely away online, again spend 10-15 minutes clearing and deleting.
- Your desk and your work area can quickly become cluttered with papers and invoices, receipts and stationery in random piles. Research suggests less than 10 gathering places is a good number to aim for, i.e. places where we pile things up that need dealing with. Next time you go to your local supermarket purchase a few good storage solutions for things you need to keep tidy so that there is “a place for everything and everything in its place.
Dealing with the home space clutter
In the home, wardrobes, drawers and cupboards, are the places where clutter usually starts and it can easily spill over onto floors and surfaces.
Mentally divide your ‘clutter’ into areas – stuff:
- you need to keep
- you KNOW (rationally) you should throw away and
- you can donate to charity shops.
Once you’ve compartmentalised keep a charity bag always lying around in an easily accessible space – utility room, downstairs loo, porch etc. and each time you come across something in the house for the charity, in it goes! Use the same method with a bin bag. Taking this approach chunks down the problem and you can deal with your clutter bit by bit.
Deal with clutter will feel like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. You and your rooms will be able to breathe easily again.
Past the point of no return?
If the clutter has you confused and debilitated into taking action and you can’t make sensible decisions about what to do with things; that’s when it’s time to call in expert outside help.
Reducing physical clutter will relieve stress and give you a feeling of freedom and liberation – but you may still need to tackle ‘life clutter’. Have you taken on too many commitments at work, at home and in your social life? Are you the sort of person who finds it hard to say ‘no’ and ends up helping with every school, committee and charity event going? Helping others is a source of tremendous personal satisfaction – but it can go too far when you’re being pulled in every direction and your own life is suffering. Think about what you really love doing – and consider opting out of the ones that are no longer enjoyable.
A coach, a house decluttering expert, holistic therapy all can help you bring better structure into your life – a bit like a filing system in an office. Together you can review your daily and weekly routines to see how you can organise your time more effectively.
Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue-chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.
Clare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.
Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.