Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 3, 2018

How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every facet of your life: from the time it takes you to do things to your finances and your overall enjoyment of life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down and in general it invites chaos into your life.

Tackling the clutter can seem an insurmountable task if you don’t know where or how to start. By devoting a little of your time to getting rid of the clutter in your life and maintaining things relatively clutter-free, you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.

The best way to tackle the decluttering of your home, your work space and your life is to take things one small step at a time. Combined, small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain over the long-run.

Here is a blueprint of how to declutter your life and enjoy a less stressful life:

How to declutter your work area

If you want to be more productive and focused in your work, getting the clutter out of your work area is essential.

1. Start with your desk

Clear everything off the top of it and take everything out of the drawers.

Assemble the items in piles on the floor. Clean and wipe down your desk and marvel at how pretty and clean it looks.

Sort through all of the “stuff” that was both in and on your desk. Toss out as much as possible a relatively small amount.

Once you’ve weeded things out, it’s time to sort through the remains:

Set up a basic alphabetical filing system with a folder for each project or client. Keep your office supplies and other items in designated drawers.

If you need to, label things, but the main thing you should do is designate a spot for every item you decided to keep and make sure that it stays there, or goes back there when you’re done using it.

Advertising

Keep flat surfaces clear, and have an inbox for all incoming papers. When the papers come in, sort them each day – toss, delegate, do immediately, or file simply file all documents, but whatever you do, DO NOT KEEP THEM ON TOP OF YOUR DESK.

All you want on the surface of your desk is your phone, computer, inbox, and maybe a special photo in addition to the documents you are working with at the moment.

2. Declutter your computer

Get rid of files and programs

on your computer that you don’t need.

Get rid of most or all of the icons on your desktop. They not only slow down your computer, but also create visual clutter. There are better ways of accessing your information.

Regularly purge old, unused files. If organization is not your thing, utilize a program such as Google Desktop to search for your files when you need them.

3. Then move on to information

In the digital world of today, there are so many different ways that information creeps into our lives.

Information in itself can become overwhelming when you have too much of it, and this is called information clutter. Instead of letting information take over your life, set limits.

Reduce the number of things that you read each day and get rid of things from your RSS feed. Chuck those magazine subscriptions and reduce your consumption of news and television.

I’m not suggesting that you cut yourself off from the world, just that setting some boundaries will help.

Instead of letting information, even the kind that friends share on Facebook, take over your life, control how and when you receive it by limiting what you read.

Advertising

How to declutter your home

Outside of work, home is where many of a bulk of our time. So it’s no wonder that a messy house can add to daily stress.

4. Simplify your rooms

If your rooms are too cluttered, you’ll want to simplify them.

Start by clearing off anything that is on the floors. Throw out or donate unused things.

After clearing the floor, move to flat surfaces such as countertops, shelves, tops of dressers, etc.  Clear them as much as possible, and then move onto furniture.

Consider if you need everything. Sort things in piles – toss, donate, or keep.

Organize everything that you’ve decided to keep into drawers, cabinets, and closets, keeping them out of sight, but still neatly organized and uncluttered. Do this one room at a time.

5. Tackle the closets

Closets are a great place to store things that you don’t want out in the open, and can easily become a place where you shove things just to keep them out of view.

Go through your closets – take everything out, clean it, and toss, donate as much as you can. Decide a specific place to store anything you decide to keep. Keep only the things that you love and use frequently. As for your clothes, get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in six months.

6. Clean out your drawers

Drawers are prime place for things to get shoved into.

Empty out your drawers, and sorting them by whether you’re keeping, tossing, or donating them.

If you have difficulty deciding what to toss and what to keep, this One Question Can Help You Successfully Declutter Anything.

Advertising

How to declutter your life

Decluttering your work area and your home are great ways to start reducing the clutter and stress in your life, but there’s still more you can do.

7. Reduce your commitments

Often times, our lives are too clutterd with all of the things that we need to do at home, work, school, in our religious or civic lives, with friends and family, with hobbies, and so on.

Take a look at each area of your life and write down all of your commitments. Seeing it all written down can be quite an eye-opening experience as well as overwhelming. From here, look at each one and decide whether it really brings you joy and value, and if it is worth the amount of time that you invest in it.

Another way to reduce your commitments is to identify a few that you truly love and get rid of the rest.

Learn how to say no and decline offers. If you eliminate the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love.

8. Reconsider your routines

Many of us do not have any set routines in our daily lives and simply tackle our obligations, chores and daily tasks haphazardly. Without structure, it can lead to chaotic days and a drop in productivity.

Batch tasks together. Instead of doing your laundry several times throughout the week, do it all on one day.

It’s helpful to write down all of your weekly and daily obligations, chores, and tasks, and then plan out daily and weekly routines. Hang it up where you can see it and try to follow it. You might find that having a routine brings a new sense of calm and order to your life.

Here’re some routines you can learn from:

9. Declutter your friendships

It may sound cruel but as you grow up, you’d realize some people are meant to stay in your life longer while others are not. While you should spend more time with positive people, people who help you grow and make you feel happy; you should get rid of toxic people who only drain your energy.

Take a look at this guide on how to declutter friends:

Advertising

The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering

How to maintain order over the long-term

Once you’ve successfully decluttered, whether it be one area or all the areas mentioned above, clutter will inevitably begin to creep back into your life. You must be vigilant in weeding it out on a regular basis, or it will just take over your life again:

Set up a system to keep clutter in check.

Examine the way that you do things and how things make their way into your life, and consider whether you can put together a simple system for everything, from your laundry to work projects and email.

Write down your systems step-by-step and try to follow them as best as you can. Follow your systems and you’ll keep the clutter minimized.

Don’t slack off.

It’s easy to put things off for another day, but it’ll save you headaches in the long-run if you deal with things immediately.

Throw it out, donate it, or keep it and put it in a designated area.

When you stay consistent and stick to these decluttering tips closely, you will find yourself less stressful and a lot happier as you’re surrounded by a lot less clutter.

Start today and start small. Begin with cleaning up stuff on your work area and then move on to different aspects of your life and get organized!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

Julie McCormick

Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide) 10 Ways to Improve Your Memory and Super Boost Your Brainpower How to Continue Reading the New York Times Online For Free How to Get Around Facebook’s New Photo Viewer 7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace

Trending in Lifestyle

1 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 2 How to Find Weight Loss Meal Plans That Work for You 3 How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries 4 How to Manage Anxiety: Sound Advice from a Mental Health Expert 5 How to Start Eating Healthy No Matter How Old You Are

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Read Next