It’s the end of the day. You’re excused from work, getting the kids to do their homework and cooking dinner. All you want to do is sit down and relax (maybe even with a nice glass of wine!)
But to your left are art supplies thrown all over the floor, to your right a pile of papers never sorted, and the sink is full of dishes.
Your mind is a mess.
Why is it that all this clutter seems to be adding to your stress?
Clutter in our home leads to a cluttered, unfocused mind. When you own too much and stuff is never put away – it affects your brain in a very real way.
Clutter can symbolize work that was never finished thus leading to guilt and anxiety, or acts as a distraction by bombarding your sense with extra stimuli. In short, clutter doesn’t just affect the cleanliness of your home, but more importantly it can affect your health.
So what can you do to take back control of the clutter?
The first step is that you need to declutter. Work one room or even one area at a time. Often, when we experience small victories that can motivate us to keep on going.
I suggest creating three piles while you declutter. A keep pile, donate, and toss. The donate and toss pile should be larger than your keep pile. It may be difficult to let go of some items, but just ask yourself – is this item worth the stress of keeping?
Once you have decluttered the second step is to find all your ‘keep items’ and home. I do not mean shove everything into a drawer or crushed-up underneath your bed.
If you are working on decluttering your office, make a space for a nice filing system for your papers, a drawer for minimal office supplies, and a trash can nearby to immediately discard trash and papers.
When items have a home that they live in it – it becomes infinitely easier to clean up at the end of the day or even as you are working. And since you no longer have a junk-drawer you can easily find what you are looking for and just as easily put it back.
Next, create a system. For example, my husband likes to clean as he goes when he is cooking. When working with ingredients, as soon as they are used he puts them back in their ‘home’. Pots and pans are washed and tried and placed back in their ‘homes’ as well as soon as he is finished cooking.
I think it is important to note that decluttering and organizing your home should NOT be on just one person’s shoulders. It truly can be a fun, joint effort with your partner or whole family.
From my own experience with teaching my children to keep their areas tidy and organized – I’ve seen how they embrace the fact that I entrust them with this task. I leave it up to them to keep their rooms and play areas organized and trust them to not bring home junk that will clutter up their spaces.
With kids, you need to keep your expectation clear and your instructions brief and simple.
Now, I know I’ve gone over a lot! Like I said in the beginning, you just need to take one small step forward. Focus on one room or area in your home that will bring you peace of mind once you know it is free of clutter.
I’ve been a personal organizer for years, and I can assure you that once you’ve decluttered your home – you will have decluttered your mind!
So I want to know – do you feel like a cluttered home leads to additional stress? Which room do you want to declutter first in order to feel calmer? Let me know in the comments.
Here is a list of podcasts that will help you start your organizational journey!