It can be challenging to get clutter removed from our lives. It takes time. It takes effort. It means making decisions about what should stay and what should go. It even might mean facing some longstanding questions or issues we've been holding on to, preferring not to face them. Questions about just why some things are so important for us to hold on to.
Research consistently tells us about the impact of clutter on our lives. Put simply, it can cause us great stress. Stress because we are faced with the knowledge that we really should be getting rid of it. Stress because it takes up space. Stress because our brain is always aware of the need for us to do something with it.
Research from Princeton University in 2011 found that cluster does more than just take up space in our homes and offices. It's more than just a nuisance, more than an annoying task. The research found that cluster actually limits the brain's ability to focus and process information.
Understanding what clutter is to begin with can be helpful. It can be described as anything which has been gathered or collected but not yet processed or dealt with. This means that the stuff is not where it needs to be for the rest of the time - so it's not filed away, not put into cupboards or shelves where it will stay. It can also be things we don't want or need anymore but still continue to hold on to.
So tips for handling clutter so that we are not only less stressed but can think better too? Deal with clutter, early and often. While it might make sense to accept that we have clutter and live with it, the clutter will build and just become a bigger problem, finally resulting in the need to deal with it anyway when it's become a much bigger job. There are worthy benefits to this approach. Research tells us that people who are able to limit clutter in their home and work environment are less irritable, less distracted and more productive.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed with facing the task of decluttering, so starting small by setting realistic goals, like organizing one drawer or removing unwanted clothes from one wardrobe, can help. Don't expect to clean out the whole house in a day. As we begin to create space by removing clutter we feel more energy and then in turn are more likely to feel motivated to keep going. We can then work towards a goal of each room containing only those things we need on a regular basis. Once this is achieved it will just take a few minutes work each day to keep the clutter at bay, tidying up and eliminating clutter before we leave the house each day, ensuring we return to a space where we can feel calm and relaxed.
Being ruthless when decluttering is crucial. If something hasn't been used for a year or more there's a good argument for suggesting we don't really need it. Getting rid of broken or worn out objects or things we have multiples of also makes good sense.
Getting rid of clutter frees up our brains so they don't have to continuously try to remember everything that needs to be dealt with, including clutter. Sounds good. Now - just where to begin?