Clutter can infiltrate all areas of our lives or just a corner. We can be comfortable with our clutter or completely overwhelmed by it. Are you looking to make some changes? Below are some of the most common areas that clutter collects and some simple strategies to manage them.
1. Paper Clutter – Be honest. Do you have to keep as many papers? If released, could you easily replace them IF you needed to? Statistics show that we only retrieve 20% of the papers we file.
2. Clothing Clutter – Be ruthless. Clothing clutter management begins with asking good questions. Does it fit? Do I feel fabulous wearing it? Does it look good on me? When was the last time I wore it? Can it be donated, consigned or given to a friend?
3. Toy Clutter – Less is easier. How many trucks, dolls, super heroes, balls or magic wands are enough? Less toys means easier maintenance, better organization, and less overwhelm for you and the kids.
4. Electronic Clutter – Establish boundaries. With 24/7 potential access and availability, setting limits about how much electronic noise you allow during the day is essential. Protect yourself and your time by turning off beeps, taking “tech-less” hours, and minimizing the sources of digital input.
5. Mind Clutter – Release thoughts. Our minds can feel as cluttered as our spaces. Too much activity “upstairs” can make us lose focus and feel frazzled. Try a brain download by transferring thoughts onto paper, computer or voice recorder.
6. Calendar Clutter – Evaluate schedule. The “too busy” syndrome is often a function of saying, “yes” without considering how that affects our stress level. If you’re overwhelmed by overscheduled days, consider these questions: What is on my “yes” list that I can convert to a “no?” What can be delegated? How much downtime do I need or want in a day?
7. Gift Clutter – Move on. Receiving gifts that we don’t like, want, or have room for is another source of clutter. You do not have to keep them. Let go. Remove the guilt and the clutter by permitting those gifts to move on. Exchange, donate, or re-gift.
8. Handbag Clutter – Quick sort. An assortment of things collects in our handbags from empty wrappers to expired ticket stubs to receipts that need to be filed. Take 5 minutes at night to do a quick clutter check. Remove all items that are expired, no longer useful, or belong elsewhere.
9. Space Clutter – Reclaim control. Excess clutter can cause stress. It’s no fun to hunt for hidden items, trip over paper stacks, or negotiate through overflowing closets. Pick one area to begin organizing and de-cluttering. Determine use for that area. Re-route items elsewhere that don’t belong. Be ruthless about remaining contents. Release what isn’t useful, you no longer want, or has overstayed its welcome.
10. Someday Clutter – Don’t postpone. Keeping things because you “might” need them someday are a source of clutter accumulation. When you hear yourself uttering the “someday” phrase, ask these questions: Is it worth the space? Is it worth the mental energy? Is it likely I’ll actually need or use it? Is my focus on “someday” preventing me from fully living and enjoying now?
Taking action and working on just one of the cluttered areas can greatly reduce your stress and restore some balance. What area is calling your attention? Share your thoughts, tips, or other clutter challenge areas.