"Your home should be your sanctuary," says Phoenix-based organizational pro Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple (Storey, 2004). "When it's cluttered, it's overwhelming. Plus, you can't find anything." Your life and even your mind can also become overcrowded with too much junk.
Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every facet of your life, from the time it takes you to do things to your finances and your overall enjoyment of life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down, and in general it invites chaos into your life. Often times, however, tackling the clutter can seem an insurmountable task if you don’t know where or how to start. By devoting a little of your time to getting rid of the clutter in your life and maintaining things relatively clutter-free , you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.
Mayo clinic offers several valuable tips on decluttering and simplyfing your life. The best way to tackle the decluttering of your home, your work space, and your life is to take things one small step at a time. Combined, small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain over the long-run. You've probably noticed the word "simplify" popping up in magazine articles and talk show discussions about how to deal with the chaos and complexity of modern life. The resurgence of an old idea — living a simpler life — isn't surprising at a time when many people feel overwhelmed by their busy, complicated lives. The voluntary simplicity movement, as it's sometimes called, preaches the value of living a more balanced, less stressful, deliberate and thoughtful life. You don't have to be a fanatic, though, to want to simplify your life.When you're surrounded by more things than you can manage, it sends a visual message that your life is out of control. And it can become a vicious circle, where disorder brings about procrastination, which only perpetuates the chaos. To make matters worse, when you're under stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, short-circuits your brain leading to forgetfulness, irritation and plain old meltdowns.
The following are ideas to help you simplify your life and reduce stress. Give it a try.Clear the clutter: Pick one area to tackle, such as the junk drawer in the kitchen or the piles of clothes in the bedroom. Take a hard look at what you've accumulated. Clear out any items you're not using.
Switch off the media: TVs, radios, smart phones, laptops, video games — they all contribute to audiovisual clutter. Being flooded with stimuli, even entertaining stimuli, is a tremendous source of stress. Unplug and unhook yourself.
Clear your calendar: How often have you complained that there aren't enough hours in the day? It's not the clock that's the problem. It's the number of activities you're trying to pack in. Being too busy can become a habit so entrenched that it leads you to postpone or cut short what really matters to you, making you a slave to a lifestyle you don't even like. What can you do? Only say yes to activities you really care about. In other words, learn to say no.Stop multitasking: Your mind can also be cluttered, your attention spread too thin among too many tasks. Long touted as the mark of the highly efficient, multitasking has recently been revealed to be less of a boon than once thought. In fact, recent research shows that people who multitask tend to be less able to concentrate and more easily distracted than people who rarely multitask. Perhaps more importantly, multitasking doesn't let you get into the flow — a state of being so absorbed in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. When you're in the flow, also called in the zone, things seem to happen effortlessly. You're totally absorbed by what you're doing. There's no room in your awareness for conflicts or contradictions. Flow creates a sense of fulfillment and engagement, and even contentment. So, try for more flow and less multitasking. Start by turning off the electronic distractions and focusing on one task. Only when you've completed that task can you go on to the next. Focusing on one task is also a good way to learn to be present — or totally engaged — in the moment. This is mindfulness. It doesn't get any simpler than that.