Week 1 – What’s The Point: The Why Before the How
Before you rent a dumpster and start impulsively throwing away all of your belongings, lets take a minute to first understand why you want to declutter and get organized, and how clutter might be impacting your life.
People choose to declutter for many different reasons. Perhaps, you’re struggling with productivity at work because you’re preoccupied with your piles of mail or dusty knickknacks. Maybe you’re focused on living more simply, or you’re working on downsizing to a smaller living space. Whatever your individual reasons may be, we can all agree that getting organized leads to one common goal…Getting rid of the excess to create more space in our lives for the people and activities that bring us joy.
Here are some example of how clutter gets in the way of those goals.
Types and Effects of Clutter
Physical clutter is the most tangible and recognizable type of clutter. Most people experience some form of physical clutter on a daily basis. There are many levels of physical clutter ranging from a perpetual stack of mail on the countertop to hoarding. Regardless of how extreme your physical clutter is, the following characteristics apply:
- You can see it and touch it, which means it takes up space.
- It involves items that don’t have a designated place in the home.
- It’s bothersome!
More extreme cases of physical clutter can actually be dangerous, such as improper storage of hazardous items and clutter in walkways and stairways. Being surrounded by too much stuff can also lead to mental and emotional clutter. Taking the steps to declutter can not only prevent potentially dangerous situations, but can also bring about a better peace of mind.
It’s a common theory that physical clutter is a manifestation of our mental state. If you’re struggling to declutter or having difficulties staying organized, even though you’re putting in some effort, think about what might be going on in your life to impact this.
Mental or emotional clutter is a bit harder to define because you can’t see or touch it. You can’t simply put it into a bin, lock the lid and move on with your life. It presents itself in the form of stress, anxiety, fear, memories and all of the those thoughts that keep you up at night. These emotions are complex and can have very serious impacts on your mental health and overall wellness. If you find you suffer from one or more of these characteristics, you could be dealing with a case of emotional clutter:
- You feel stressed or anxious more often than not.
- You feel out of control.
- Your sleep is regularly interrupted by your thoughts.
Often, the act of physically decluttering can make a huge dent in your mental or emotional clutter. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, a good place to start is to declutter your physical space. Get rid of the excess, and see what a difference it makes for your peace of mind. If you’re still struggling, it could be the sign of something bigger, and seeking medical guidance would be recommended.
Here’s a fun test. Ask 10 people the simple question, “How are you?” How many people responded with something that included or alluded to being BUSY?! 8? 9? All?
Calendar clutter might be a term you’ve never heard, but I’m sure it’s something that you are all too familiar with. It refers to all of the day-to-day events, activities and tasks that clutter our schedules and consume our time. Yes, some very time-consuming parts of our day are completely necessary and unavoidable, but it all comes down to time management. You might be experiencing calendar clutter if any of these apply to you:
- You get up early, stay up late and still don’t have enough time to get it all done.
- You often find you’re supposed to be in more than one place at a time.
- You spend more time transporting your family members to and from activities and events than you spend in actual quality family time.
Sounding a little too familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone, and there is help. Whether you’re dealing with physical, mental/emotional or calendar clutter (or all three), the next 5 weeks will get you on your way to decluttering your space, managing your time and most importantly, making room for the people and activities that make you happy.