Your Life Is Full Of Clutter; How To Fix It.

your life is full of clutter; how to fix it

The Cambridge Dictionary defines clutter as

noun: (a lot of objects in) a state of being untidy; verb: to fill something in an untidy or badly organised way.

Look around the places where you spend most of your life- your bedroom, your living room, your car.
Chances are, every available surface is covered with/in something. Books and papers are strewn about your car, clothes litter your bedroom, your wardrobe is a mess.
Clutter does not bring you joy. It serves no purpose. It’s just lying about and making things more difficult for you. How many of those things strewn about are things you don’t need, and don’t use? Too-tight shoes, clothes that are several sizes too small, memos and notes of meetings that happened 3 years ago.

Why Do We Need So Much Stuff, Anyway?

It certainly doesn’t make you happy. Maybe you’re just lazy to clean it up. Maybe the clutter is filling an emotional void.
It could be psychological, with studies showing increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula (regions of the brain) when people are tasked with throwing their things out.
Notably, these regions of the brain are associated with conflict and pain as seen in drug addicts trying to quit, or smokers battling with cravings.

Disadvantages Of Clutter

Researchers at the University of Princeton Neuroscience Institute have confirmed that clutter limits our ability to focus, and reduces the brain’s ability to process information.

This article titled Why Shouldn’t I Have Clutter? lists and explains the 5 major disadvantages of having clutter:

  1. Clutter stops you from finding things.
  2. Mess makes stress.
  3. Clutter makes doing housework more difficult.
  4. It can even cost you money.
  5. Clutter makes you feel out of control.

Clutter clouds the mind and makes our thoughts foggy. When my surroundings are cluttered, it means I’m not in a good physical or mental space to sort things out, but I won’t be myself until I do clean things up. It makes me feel unable to do anything. It’s a positive feedback loop that’s only broken by deliberate intervention.

clean room free of clutter

I’d rather be here than surrounded by clutter.

How To Get Rid Of Clutter

There are three action steps to getting rid of clutter:

Step 1: Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does it serve a purpose?
  2. Does it bring you joy?

Those 3-year old memos are not bringing you joy, and certainly don’t serve a purpose in your life. Neither do those clothes you haven’t worn in years, and will likely never wear again.
This step requires honesty. Lying to yourself about needing those things is just a waste of time.

Step 2: Throw out anything that doesn’t say Yes to one of those two questions in Step 1.

People balk at this part. They say ” Are you asking me to throw everything I have out?” No. You just have to be discerning in what you keep.
The extra clothes iron in storage serves a purpose, as a replacement if/when the current one breaks. On the other hand, the iron that broke ages ago and you kept around just in case? Be honest with yourself, you’re never actually going to take it to get fixed. Get rid of it- throw it out, recycle it or give it to someone who collects scrap metal.

You could choose to tackle this step by working through the rooms of your home, one at a time, or by working through categories of belongings i.e. clothes, books, appliances etc. Both methods have pros and cons. The important thing is consistency.

Step 3: Form new organization habits.

The principle I follow is: a place for everything, and everything in its place. Once you’ve got rid of the things you don’t want or need, make a home for the things you want. When everything has a spot, we’re less likely to throw the clean laundry on the floor in a heap, beside the dirty clothes. Of course, you have to be motivated, to want to get organized, and be ready to put in the effort. If folding the laundry is just too much work, you’ll be right back where you started with the clutter.

Do It

There’s never been a better time to get organized. This Declutter 101 article outlines different methods of organization. Also, as no article on cleaning and organization is complete without mentioning Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you could check it out.

the life-changing magic of tidying up

Image via Amazon

We face so many challenges daily, and picking up around us can be just one more thing to stress us out. However, if you put in the time and effort, you’ll find that it makes you calmer and happier.

Have something to say about your clutter? Are you blessed with superhuman organizational skills? Let us know in the comments.

Get rid of clutter.

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