INSIDE: This post is a guest post by Andrea from Design Morsels. If you’ve ever felt blue because you’re drowning in clutter, you’re not alone. Outer order really can affect your inner calm! After reading this post, you’ll know exactly how to clear the clutter and restore balance once and for all. Want to know what Andrea’s top tips are? Keep reading!
Can outer order affect your inner calm?
Do you breathe a sigh of relief when you wake up and remember you cleaned off the counter before you went to bed? There always seems to be one place in every room where clutter collects. You’re not alone if you feel a sense of calm when you’ve cleared out the clutter in a room.
My name is Andrea and I’m the creator of DesignMorsels.com, a blog about designing a home you love on a budget. I’m going to give you some of the science behind how clutter affects us and give you some strategies for how to control it.
(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link your cost will remain the same but I will receive a small commission. Read my full disclosure policy here.)
Are you clutter blind?
If you live with another person you may have noticed differences in clutter tolerance. I think there are two kinds of people. There are people who like things to be put away and everything to be in its place. And there are people who need to keep things in view or they don’t know where they are.
I think the second group is blind to clutter. It doesn’t affect their state of mind. It’s like they don’t see the stack of mail or the boxes inside the front door.
I used to think my husband was just messy, but I’ve realized over time he just doesn’t see what I see. If you’re reading an article about why we should clear the clutter it’s a pretty good bet that you’re in the first group, too.
The science behind clutter and state of mind…
Studies show that if you start your day feeling like your home is cluttered, it increases your stress levels. They also show that women are more affected by clutter than men. And that the accumulation of clutter may be as a result of our over-attachment to things that really belong in the trash or donation pile.
Strategies to help clear the clutter
Before you read the strategies I’m about to share, I want to stress that you should know yourself before choosing one. Why? Because not every strategy is going to work for everyone. Scroll through them and pick the one you know is going to work best for you.
Clear the clutter strategy #1. | Clean slate clutter clearing
You don’t have to do this, but if you want to clear the clutter once and for all, I recommend opting for a block of time to devote to it at the beginning. It doesn’t have to be a whole weekend, it could be just half a day.
This might sound like a drag, but if you devote a block of time to clear the clutter, it can be easier to maintain in smaller chunks of time going forward.
During your clean slate time, identify the one spot in each room that collects the most clutter and clear just that spot. It may be a chair in your bedroom where you drop your clothes. Or a table in your entryway where you dump everything when you walk in. If you think about these spots for a moment, I bet you can easily decide where your clutter place is in each room.
Clear the clutter strategy #2. | The 10-minute timer
This strategy is good for people who like to work on things in small manageable chunks. It doesn’t have to be life-changing, just choose a time of day when you know you’re normally home and set a 10-minute timer. If you’re a morning person, it could be ten minutes whilst waiting for your coffee to be ready. If you’re a night owl, it could be before you sit down to watch TV. Whenever you choose, I recommend opting for the same time each day.
During these ten minutes, don’t check your phone or get distracted by Instagram. For ten minutes just focus on putting things away where they belong. Clutter clearing is more sustainable if you don’t just jam things in a drawer someplace. You’ll only spend ten minutes later looking for that thing you pushed in the drawer where it didn’t belong!
Clear the clutter strategy #3. | Mash-up clutter clearing with a perk
One way to motivate yourself to clear clutter is to combine it with something that you genuinely like to do. For example, if there’s a daily podcast you like to listen to, force yourself to clear the clutter during the podcast. Don’t listen to the podcast unless you are actively putting things away.
This works with music too. Try making a short playlist (even if it’s just three songs) and listen to it only when you are clearing clutter. You can also tie rewards to clutter clearing. For example, I’ll get a Starbucks today IF I clean off my desk.
Clear the clutter strategy #4. | Make your bed
I realise this has nothing to do with clutter, but studies show that making your bed every day can make you happier. And when you’re happier, you’ll be more motivated to keep the rest of your room (and house) tidy. There’s something about getting your day off to a good start that bleeds over to the rest of your home.
Managing other people’s clutter…
As I mentioned before, you may not be in complete control of the clutter in your home. If you live with someone who is clutter blind it can be stressful. I don’t recommend just putting things away for the other people you live with. This can lead to frustration and a sense of resentfulness.
#1. | Lead by example
I found that as I started to reduce some of my own clutter, my husband began to be neater too. I’m not saying we have equal levels of clutter comfort, but over time he has made progress as he saw how it affected my happiness.
Sometimes you get a little when you give a little too. For instance, I gave my husband the larger closet because I found I had an easier time keeping my things organised in a small space. And that worked in my favour because he now has more space inside the closet to keep things the way he prefers them.
#2. | Make it a family affair
If you have kids, it’s good to make cleaning up their own clutter one of their chores. Giving children responsibility makes them feel that they can accomplish things on their own. For example, if your kids bring home lots of art or papers from school, give them a bin or a basket to fill each week. At the end of the week ask them to choose one project that is special enough to keep.
Try adapting your storage to suit your family’s needs to make clutter control easier too. Some kids won’t put anything inside a drawer, which means bins and shelves might be a better choice. The same is true for some adults too. Some people use drawers only as a dumping spot for things that should probably go in the trash. Which means they might be more likely to puts things away if there are open shelves instead.
It’s time to take action and clear that clutter!
If you feel like clutter is overwhelming your life, try out one of the strategies above. Just for one week. See how it makes you feel. If you feel more calm and happy, chances are better you’ll keep it up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m Andrea. A numbers nerd and the founder of the blog Design Morsels. After I sold my B&B I wanted something creative to do with my weekends. And so now I help those on a tight budget to design their own home or apartment with confidence.
Clear the clutter, restore inner calm…
Thank you so much for this post, Andrea! It’s amazing just how much our surroundings can affect our mood. Being surrounded by too much ‘stuff’ can really bring us down. But when that clutter is clear, not only do we feel freer, we feel happier too.
And so whatever camp you’re in, whether you like things to be put away or you need to keep things in view, if you follow these strategies, you’re guaranteed to bring a little more balance into your life. Here they are again:
- Identify the one spot in your home that attracts the most clutter and clear it.
- Use a timer, set it for 10 minutes and clear what you can.
- Combine clearing your clutter with something you like to do – like listening to music.
- Make your bed – every day!
- Lead by example.
- Make it a family affair.
That’s it for this post! Which strategy will you be implementing first? What’s your top tip for clearing the clutter? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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