Have you ever felt like you were drowning in your own life? Bogged down with a million things to remember, completely booked, forgetting important dates , having trouble keeping track of your bills, feeling like everything you are looking for is somehow lost? If so, then you probably need a good de-cluttering session!
According to UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families, “There is a link between high cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in female home owners and high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women feel. Men on the other hand, don’t seem bothered by mess, which accounts for tensions between tidy wives and their clutter bug hubbies.”
It’s truly amazing how our surroundings can literally cause additional stress on the body. Think about the last time you organized your closet or cleaned out your kitchen pantry, remember how good you felt after?
Like many of us, I’m always being pulled in all directions. So, this past weekend I decided to put everything aside and focus solely on de-cluttering my life, organizing my home, and resetting my mind. Boy oh boy, when I woke up this morning I felt like I could take on the world. Watch out, superwoman has arrived!
Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1. Write things down: Using actual pen and paper helps our brain make a connection to our memory. Technology is wonderful, don’t get me wrong; however, we don’t absorb information the same way when it is entered into a phone/computer. Go old school; use post-its, planners, calendars, etc.
2. Start scheduling, time-blocking, and making deadlines: The more time you waste, the more stress you feel. There is a difference between being busy and being productive! Set specific goals and then recognize what you need to do in order to accomplish them. This can be simple for small daily tasks, or, this can be for larger long-term. Jot down important dates and appointments so you can give your brain a break!
3. Don’t overwhelm yourself: Just spend 5 to 10 minutes a day working on your clutter. Like many things, consistency is key. Keeping a de-cluttered life is an ongoing process, make it part of your routine. Every night spend a few minutes going through the mail, sorting your piles, picking up toys, etc. A little each day goes a long way!
4. Find a place for everything: Realize that you don’t need to go crazy with color-coordinated baskets and labels in your closets (although, it would look ah-mazing, just saying!). But, you should assign a special place in your home for all of your special items. For example, paperwork should be filed and organized into work, bills, house appliances, etc.
5. Keep only what you need: Remember, more stuff = more clutter. So, when organizing an area of your house ask yourself, “when was the last time I used this”? If it was over a year ago maybe you should re-think keeping it. Be honest with yourself! When it comes to clothing, don’t keep an item because you hope one day to fit into it again; toss the small pants from college and set a goal for yourself. When you reach the goal, treat yourself to a nice new pair of smaller sized jeans. Reward yourself AFTER doing the work!
6. Check expiration dates: It seems crazy, but most of us have expired medicine and food in the house. Every few months do a small purge and toss any item that has expired. Let’s face it; it’s no use to you if it’s expired.
7. So you purged, now what: Giving to others and helping people in need will make you feel great! Look into donating items to a local thrift shop, good will store, foster homes, etc. It may change someone’s life, how cool is that! Hoping to sell instead; check out posting items on e-bay, craigslist, or even a community Facebook page.
8. Don’t go buying more stuff: You just got rid of things you didn’t need, you de-cluttered the mess, yes you opened your home and mind to more space, but don’t go filling it back up with more junk. Keep an ongoing written list of items that you NEED. If you’re shopping and see something you like, check your list of need items first before purchasing it.
9. Stop procrastinating: If you just do it now, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Continue putting it off and the tasks will pile up, adding more stress. Prioritize a list of things that need to get done. Check items off as you go; I promise you will feel accomplished with every check you make. I need to fess up, guilty; I’ve actually added things to my list that I did along the way just so I could check off another item!
By organizing your surroundings and keeping your mind clear you will find that you can save time and money. No more searching for lost items and paying late fees for bills you forgot about. Best of all, you will be reducing your stress levels, which will lead to a healthier you!
With “spring cleaning” around the corner, let’s march in like a lion and out like an organized lioness ready to take on the world!
For more great tips, check out Pinterest for clever and adorable DIY organizational ideas!