Cluttered Home Cluttered Mind
Updated: Feb 19
When our lives are filled with clutter it can make us feel helpless and out of control. And when we are not feeling our best selves we can take out our emotions on our spouses, our children, our friends, our families and ourselves.
There are many ways clutter can affect our lives:
It wastes our time: we spend our days looking for, moving around, dusting, storing, organizing and trying to sell our stuff. A lot of our time is wasted on our stuff.
It can cost us money - sometimes when we can’t find things, we buy them again only to realize later that we had it all along. Lost papers and receipts can lose you money in your business.
It can cause stress both mentally and physically and affect our health. Stress causes us to lose focus and affect our productivity.
It can cause us to isolate ourselves from society. Not wanting to go out for feeling overwhelmed, not wanting to have anyone over to our house.
WHY DO WE HOLD ONTO THINGS:
Each of us has our own reason we are attached to things. It may be an item that was left to you by a loved one and letting it go feels like letting go of that person. We also fear losing control. Once we open up the closet or the boxes, we have to deal with the feelings that we closed up.
THere's also the what ifs....what if I need this one day? What if there was an emergency? This is living in a constant state of fear of what could happen.
You may have grown up surrounded with a lot of things and so you feel more comfortable having lots of stuff. For most the reason why things pile up is procrastination. We don't want to deal with things and so we shove them into drawers and closets to deal with later.
HOLDING ONTO MEMORIES:
The main reason most hang onto stuff is because of the memories that are attached. It could be the memory of a loved one, memory of a time in our lives. Maybe we were younger or life was less complicated. Memory of a place we visited and a souvenir we purchased.
RELEASING THE PAST
If you or a loved one are having a hard time letting go, you might want to consider talking with a friend or family member about how you are feeling. If the feelings go deeper and you need more help, talking with a therapist can help you work through things. Working with a professional organizer can bring a new perspective and help you get through it. No matter how you decide to work through things, remember to recognize and honour the feelings as you go through this process.
There are so many great reasons to declutter our homes. It feels so good to be able to let go of stuff. There are actual health benefits to decluttering. If you have been holding onto stuff from the past, releasing them can make you feel lighter and more carefree. Decluttering creates space in areas of our homes that we forgot we had. You may find something that you thought you had lost.
Decluttering creates good habits to continue and pass along to your children. Lead by example!
Having less stuff, means that there is more time for you to do the things you love. When you have less to deal with in your home, you could do something else, like take a walk, have a bath, meditate, play with your kids, exercise.When there is clutter on our surfaces its harder to clean properly. Having a decluttered home, also leads to a cleaner home. Clutter can also cause hazards, like tripping.
You can help others. There are so many great charities out there that could use a helping hand. You might not realize that your donation of clothes, or housewares could change someone’s life.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLUTER
PHYSICAL CLUTTER - of course this is the main cause of clutter. This can be too many clothes, toys, books, kitchen stuff, garages, closets. This can also be paperwork and files.
DIGITAL CLUTTER - - in a fast paced world of technology we are experiencing more digital clutter. Sometimes it can feel like our computer files, photos and emails are taking over. When you are going through the processing of decluttering you might want to spend some time decluttering those digital files as well. The thing about digital files is that they are not seen out in the open, but these too can create clutter in our minds and our lives.
MENTAL CLUTTER - this is all the things that go on in our mind. Our endless lists of things to do, volunteering, work, our kids, our families. All the thoughts and feelings we have on a daily basis. Have you even taken the time to declutter your mind?
RELATIONSHIPS CLUTTER - - there will always be relationships, whether with a spouse or with family and friends. Sometimes we might not realize that a relationship is no longer healthy and causing us to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we might need to consider letting go of a friendship or relationship that is making us feel bad.
SCHEDULE CLUTTER - In our busy lives our schedules are constantly full with work, meetings, children sports, birthday parties and events. Do we ever take a minute to schedule time for ourselves?
DECLUTTERING YOUR MIND:
Have you ever heard of decluttering your mind? There are many ways to do this. These are a few of my favourites. Rather than heading over to the TV or your iPhone for some instant distraction try instead:
Meditation - taking even 10 minutes out of your day to sit, breath and reflect can change how you feel
Braindump - Taking 30 minutes a week to write a list of everything thats on your mind. It could be your to do’s, it could be your ideas, it could be fears, things that are bothering you. Taking the time to write it out on paper can make solving problems easier and it allows you a chance to get it all out.
TO DO LISTS - Like the brain dump, only a shorter and quicker way to get thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Talking with a friend - talking through things that are bothering you can help you to instantly declutter your mind.
GET OUTSIDE - Simply get away from everything, get outside, breathe some fresh air, even go for a walk can help us to declutter our minds from the everyday craziness.
COMPUTERS - spend a few minutes at the end of your day to declutter your computer files. Remember old computer files are just like old paperwork and need to be reviewed.
IPHONES - clean out old apps, old files and contacts.
GAMES - try to limit playing games to 1 a week
EMAILS - go through and declutter your emails, once a day, once a week. Delete emails once you have responded. Clean out your deleted and sent files. Keep it tidy.
PHOTOS - Now that photos are digital, these can add up fast. Take some time every week to delete photos and transfer the keeps to a backup drive.
UNPLUG - Spend some time every day and every week completely unplugged from digital. Go for a hike, read a book, get some exercise. The health benefits to unplugging are far greater than the productivity you think you will lose by turning off for a day.
This does not mean purging your spouse or your children, although sometimes we might feel like that. We will always have relationships with our spouses, our children, our extended families. Sometimes there are relationships that make us feel bad or uncomfortable.
FRIENDS - Do your friends make you feel good about yourself? Do you have fun together?
SPOUSES - Do you talk and communicate well?
FAMILY - Could you communicate better with loved ones?
CHILDREN - Have you spent quality time with them doing something fun?
OURSELVES- Do you invest time in yourself doing self care?
BOUNDARIES - Do you set good boundaries with all your relationships?
DECLUTTERING YOUR SCHEDULE:
In our busy world our schedules can just take over. Sometimes it feels like our schedules run our lives instead of the other way around. A few tips:
SAY NO - Don’t be afraid to say no if you feel like it’s too much.
SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOU - Schedule exercise, down time, unplug time
SCHEDULE FUN - I promise if you put it in your schedule, you are more likely to do it
KNOW YOUR LIMITS - Look within and don’t be afraid to say, this is too much for me. We each have a different capacity to manage stuff. If you don’t say it then people will just keep giving more.
DECLUTTERING THE PHYSICAL STUFF
START SMALL - Work on one area at a time - it could be as small as your junk drawer. Once you see the results and how good it feels, you will be motivated to do another project.
ONE AREA AT A TIME - Don’t try to tackle an entire house in a day. Plan a day to tackle the closet, then a day to tackle the kitchen.
BE READY TO DONATE - Make sure you have boxes and bags to fill with items to donate. Having the supplies you need will ensure a successful purge.
SCHEDULE IT IN - Just like an important meeting or work event, schedule decluttering into your calendar and stick to the time. Don’t plan too much at first, start with an hour, two hours and build from there.
DRIVE IT - Put them in your car as soon as you are done and take them to your charity right away. The sooner you get it out of your house, the less chance it will build up and create more clutter.
LESS IS MORE - You’ve probably heard this saying before but what does that mean? It means less stuff means more time for you, more time for your kids, more time for fun, more space in your home, more efficient, and more simple.
EVALUATE THE SPACE -Look at your space and evaluate how much stuff you need and want.
How much stuff is in storage that is never used or seen?
FUNCTION - How much do you really need to function? Do you need 5 spatulas if you never bake? Do you use that bread maker you got as a wedding gift? What things do you do in your home and what do you need to do those things? Then get rid of the rest.
So we’ve talked a lot about clutter, but what about organization. Good organization can make such a difference in our lives:
WE FEEL MORE IN CONTROL - I know where things are, this can make me feel more in control of my day and my time.
CREATES CALM - There is nothing nicer than coming home after a busy day to a calm, clean and organized space. You can breathe, you can relax, you can think.
SAVES TIME AND MONEY - Less time looking for things means more time to do things you love.
HELPS RELATIONSHIPS - An organized home is a harmonious home. Think happy wife, happy life…right?
SIMPLIFIES LIFE - When there is order, there is simplicity and who doesn’t want more of that
BETTER PRODUCTIVITY - You can think better and work better.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ORGANIZED
ADD BASKETS - Baskets can instantly tidy up books, toys, blankets, clothes. You can get them to match your decor, they come in all sizes.
ADD CONTAINERS - plastic containers in a pantry to hold all the rice, pasta and soup can make life less complicated when you are trying to get dinner in order. Try to put all similar items together (dinner, breakfast, snacks)
SYSTEMS - Systems keep us in order. We have bookshelves for our books, closets for our clothes. If an area is out of control, try to think about what systems can make it better.
DECANT FOODS - Putting foods in clear containers helps us to see when we are running low on items. Plus it eliminates cardboard clutter.
HOOKS & SHELVES - Sometimes its as simple as adding hooks for those backpacks that end up on the floor. A shelf to hold some art supplies, toys or books.
MAKE YOUR BED EVERY DAY
MAKES YOUR ROOM INSTANTLY TIDIER - Your bedroom will look more organized and you are less likely to dump dirty or clean clothes on it
FEEL MORE PRODUCTIVE - It’s actually been proven that if you make your bed every day, you will feel more productive. It’s like the start of the to do list, and once you’ve checked it off, you’ve accomplished that one small task and you can move onto the next one.
LESS LIKELY TO GET BACK IN - ever been tempted to get back in bed? I would hope most of us would be heading off to work, but man there are days its so tempting. If you make it, you can’t get back in it!
YOU GET TO GO TO BED IN A CLEAN TIDY BED - I don’t know about you but I prefer the feeling of crisp bed to a rumpled one. There is a feeling of luxury for me to getting into a made bed over an unmade one.
DO QUICK 5 MIN CLEAN UPS
This might seem simple enough but it can be a game changer of you do it every day.
KITCHENS - 5 minutes to clean off the counters in the kitchen, load those dishes in the dishwasher - waking up to a clean kitchen is the difference between a chaotic morning and an easy one.
BATHROOMS - while you brush your teeth, put some things away into the drawers and cupboards. Straighten the towel, hang it up, close the toilet seat.
BEDROOMS - make your bed, hang up clean clothes, dirty clothes in the hamper. It only takes a few minutes to build these habits into your daily routine.
TIDY TOYS - make tidying toys part of bed time or getting ready for the day routine.
FILING SYSTEMS - creating files for papers, declutter papers regularly, know what to keep and what to get rid of (check out my blog post on decluttering papers)
ACTION FILE - have an action file for daily papers and to dos
GO PAPERLESS - scan documents to computers, unsubscribe to newspapers and say no to flyers.
KIDS & CLUTTER
HOMEWORK & ART ZONES - creating an area where kids can unleash their creativity with a desk or corner to do art work and homework. Have bins for supplies and get them to help cleanup.
ARTWORK BINS - each child should have an artwork bin to keep special pieces safe. Keep to a minimum and go through each year.
GETS KIDS INVOLVED - cleanup should come naturally and part of a daily routine. Make clean up before bed, you can give small rewards.
MAKE BEDS EVERYDAY - your children should also learn the benefits of making their beds every day. Make them accountable for their own clean rooms.
CREATE SYSTEMS - Children will function better when there are systems to keep things tidy. You can label bins with a pic of the toy so that clean up is easy. An easy space for their clothes so they can put them away and find things easy so that mornings are efficient.
ONE IN ONE OUT RULE - if a new toy arrives, an old one should be donated. Get kids involved in the process of letting go and donating to a charity of their choice. Take them with you to donate and make sure they receive a reward at the end like an ice cream at Dairy Queen!
Less is more - letting go of the excess so that you can enjoy the things you really love
Experiences - having less stuff means more time to do the things you love
Clear Space - literally having clear spaces in your home allows more room to breathe, let go of the filling up every space in your home
Gratitude -writing in a journal every day something that you are grateful for
Peace & Joy - finding peace and joy in living with less
Mindfullness & Intention - being mindful of the things we bring into our homes and living with intention and care about our surroundings.
IS EVERYONE ON BOARD?
Do you feel like you are ready to make this change but your spouse, or children are not on board? What are some ways you could influence change?
LEAD BY EXAMPLE - you’ve probably heard the phrase be the change you wish to see. If you are living in clutter and you want to see a change, show your family how great it can be.
BE UNDERSTANDING - Each person has their own journey with their stuff, and we can’t tell someone else when it’s time to let go. Be understanding and caring with your significant others and instead help them with their journey of letting go.
WORK TOGETHER - Plan some time together as a family to work on decluttering areas of the home. If everyone shared responsibility in messing it up, then everyone should help to CLEAN IT UP! Have a cleaning party, make it fun, play music and have a reward at the end.
GET HELP - hire an organizer to help you and your family to get it done, stay on track and create clear and efficient systems to stay organized.
HOARDING - Hoarding is a serious illness that requires professional help, care and understanding. If you sense that someone in your family may have a hoarding problem, you can talk to a professional who can help.
Thanks for joining me! I hope you found something helpful to get the ball rolling with your own organizing journey.
Corey, Organize My Space Kelowna