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Last Updated on May 28, 2019

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 declutter 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 Life

Decluttering your life is essential to mental peace and calmness, so it’s important not to neglect this area.

1. 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.

2. 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.

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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:

3. 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: The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering

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.

4. 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:

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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.

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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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.

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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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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.

9. 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.

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:

10. 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.

11. 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.

The Bottom Line

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: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

More by this author

Julie McCormick

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

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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