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5 Strategies To Declutter Your Home For A Happier Life

5 Strategies To Declutter Your Home For A Happier Life

A house is a representation of a person’s mind, and a cluttered house represents a cluttered mind that cannot focus properly. You look at scattered cardboard boxes, clothes which you have not worn in a year, and feel intimidated at the prospect of trying to clean all of this up.

But as great men like Warren Buffet and Henry David Thoreau can tell you, simplicity is one of the great virtues. By not wasting so much and by living a simple life where you only have what you need, you can gain focus and will, especially without that useless clutter annoying your mind.

Here are 5 important tips to declutter your home and living a simpler, more focused, and happier life.

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1. Do A Little Bit at A Time

Cleaning up a cluttered home is similar to starting a new exercise routine. If you try to do everything at once, the only thing that will happen is that you feel overwhelmed, give up, and end up accomplishing nothing.

Start small. Focus on one area of the house every day and try to keep clutter away from that one place. Devote a few minutes every day or at least once a week to keep that place clean. Then expand that area a bit at a time, picking up stuff which you have not used. If you can spend 30 minutes every day, if not every week removing stuff and trying to store it, that can go a long way towards removing immediate clutter and turning organization into a routine.

2. Come Up with An Organizational System

You need to have a planned system before you can properly organize. What that system looks like can vary according to your tastes and what you believe you need. One recommended method is the four box method. This method sees you look at every single object you have cluttered away and decide whether to keep the item, sell or donate it, trash it, or store it.

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But the method you use matters less than the fact that you have a method. Make a list which determines what items are valuable and what items you are hoarding for a “rainy day” that will actually never come.

3. Act Like You Are Moving

Implementing a method where you determine whether you will keep or throw away an item is important, but it is too easy to just “store” an item while you inwardly acknowledge that you may never use it.

So how can you know which items are truly important? One great method is to pretend that you are moving to a new home. Moving always means that you toss out plenty of items which will not have value and cannot fit in your car or moving van.

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Find out what those items are by acting like you are moving. Ask yourself if you would keep or use the item if you ever planned to use. If the answer is ever “no”, then get rid of it.

4. Understand The Donation Process

There is more to donating old items than driving up to the local Goodwill and dumping everything out of your trunk. Even thrift shops will not accept some threadbare, dirty rags which you have not worn in ages.

Make sure that your clothes are properly prepared before you take them to a charity place or shelter. Wash them, make sure that the pockets are empty, and put them in a garbage bag or cardboard box. If you intend to donate a lot of clothing, try to organize it so that pants, shirts, and different kinds of clothing are all in their own containers. That way, the charity will have an easier time handling your clothes.

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Also try to make donating a regular event, just like decluttering. If you can make a routine of donating, it will go a long ways towards ensuring that you regularly dispose of unwanted clothes and clutter

5. Don’t Forget Digital Clutter

A computer is an important part of our life, and we store all sorts of things on it. Old papers which we wrote for work or college five years ago, photos which you never look at, movies which you downloaded but never got around to watching.

Cleaning up digital computer matters just as much as the physical clutter, especially because excessive digital clutter can slow down your computer and creates mental clutter. If you have over a large amount of unread messages on your e-mail, take some time to read, or at least delete them. Go over old documents or files. If you haven’t opened them in a long time, then you should probably declutter them.

Just because you can store gigabyte after gigabyte of useless information does not mean you should. Take care to organize your computer, just like you take care to organize your house.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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