Have you been feeling considerably stressed out, fatigued or inefficient lately?  Can’t find the exact reason why you are feeling this way?

Try and look around you.

Do you see a lot of unnecessary things lying around your home, office, or your mind? Not a lot of people are aware of this, but clutter can be a significant source of stress. When we are surrounded by clutter, our minds are constantly bombarded with excessive stimuli — often visual but sometimes also tactile and olfactory. This makes it impossible for our mind to rest.

Clutter can be a major stress inducer, but it is one of the easiest stress-inducing elements to deal with compared to other common sources of stress (like finances, relationships and career) because it is completely under your control. Although comparatively easy, still a lot of people hate the thought of decluttering, as an overwhelming amount of stuff can seem like an impossible task.  But fear not, it can be done. Let me share with you 4 simple tips on how to achieve clutter-free living:

1. Learn to sort and classify

This is the very first step in your decluttering journey. The simplest way to do this would be to group things in two:

  1. Necessary/Wanted
  2. Unnecessary/Unwanted

Go through your things and sort which ones are still useful or important to you. Sometimes we are afraid of putting things away because we feel that we might them in the future, but the general rule is if you haven’t used an item in a year then there is a good chance that you will not be using it again in the future.

You can also go ahead and further classify things to three categories:

  1. Fix it
  2. Reuse/Donate
  3. Put away

2. Set up a system

This means that you will have to create rules to keep your life free from clutter. You can create filing systems or implement rules. For instance, in your home, you can designate specific places for specific items. And in your office, you can implement a “Clear Desk, Clear Floor” policy. Success with this step can be supported with the help of some equipment like filing cabinets, labeled boxes, racks, and shelves.

3. Tidy up all year round

In order to sustain a clutter-free life, you need to declutter every day. Some organization experts suggest the use of a “declutter calendar”, which will guide you as to what and where you should be decluttering for a particular day of the year. It would also help if you set a specific time each day for this duty — a time which you are most likely able to fulfill. It can be right after coming home from work, after dinner, or before going to bed. It is not necessary to spend hours tidying up; 10-30 minutes each day can be enough. The more frequently you do it, the less time you will have to spend each time you do it.

4. Involve others

You will have a greater chance of succeeding if you involve other people in your plans. In your home you must share the need to declutter your space with the rest of your family, and in your office share the idea to your co-workers. You will need to have their full cooperation as you cannot keep these particular areas clutter-free if other people are constantly bringing in clutter.

The very basic principle of decluttering is to keep things as simple as possible, free from the shackles of having too much.

(Photo credit: Comfortable and Serene Bedside via Shutterstock)

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