I recently read an article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 2015 which discusses the research of psychology professor Sabine Kastner. Her 20 years of research on attention found that visual clutter contends with our brain’s ability to stay focused. It also causes a decline in our cognitive function over time. This study also found that our brain really isn’t very good at ignoring clutter. We tend to use all of the available space within our home to ‘temporarily’ store clutter until we find a permanent home for it. Unfortunately, the rate at which stuff comes in is faster than it goes out. As a result our free space often becomes a storage place for items that provide no real value to our lives.
Physical clutter restricts our ability to focus and inhibits our productivity. Our home should be a clutter free space where we can relax, entertain, and even do work if necessary. This post highlights a few key action items to kick-start the journey of decluttering your space. It also discusses some of the benefits this process can provide to other areas of your life.
My first piece of advice is to get in touch with your values. Write down your top five values (e.g. exercise, health, organization, family, etc.). Be specific! For example, “I want to exercise at home four days a week in my basement. In order to achieve this I need to clear the designated space of all clutter and remove all items that are unrelated to my fitness routine.” Redefining your values is a great way to begin decluttering your mind before you start organizing. Making decisions about what to keep, donate or throw away will simply be guided by your core principles. Defining your current priorities will create a solid foundation for change to occur with greater ease in your life.
Managing Your Clutter Regularly
As you may already know, clutter within the home causes stress. Why? If the items we use every day are in disarray, we cannot function properly and often struggle to focus on achieving our goals. It is important to prioritize the items on your to do list. This will help you to manage household tasks and chores in a timely manner. By consistently taking action to prevent the build-up of clutter within your home, you will be able to function better within your space. Less mess generally results in less stress and more time to enjoy life.
Focus on Yourself
This is an incredibly important aspect of keeping your space organized. Start by identifying what you need to change. Ask yourself:
- How do I need to change my mindset in order to achieve a clutter free home?
- What habits do I need to change to achieve my goals? (I.e. this could include your shopping habits, maintenance habits, etc.)
- How can I incorporate my core values into this space to better reflect my ideal home and lifestyle?
- Am I focusing on my goal of becoming clutter free?
Remember that it is okay to be NOT OKAY with other people’s clutter. You can encourage others and teach them some strategies to deal with clutter, but in the end stay focused on your own organizing journey. This will enable you to influence others to make change in their own lives.
When stressed by the clutter in your home, first identify your core values. Then set up a plan for how you will regularly eliminate clutter. Finally, focus on yourself as you declutter and organize. You never know who you will influence along the way. Apply these three strategies to your life, then message @lettherebespacebymel on Instagram or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how this helped you begin your decluttering journey!
Have we help kick-start your clutter free journey? Use the tag #lettherebespacebymel on instagram to show us your decluttering and organizing pictures.