“Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony.” Albert Einstein
I recently acquired a new laptop. Not being technically very savvy I was pleased the email was easy to set up but horrified when they started appearing as unread messages at an alarming rate. By the time the counter reached 9000 I was virtually hiding under my desk; how could that be? Hmmm apparently you are supposed to delete or organise your mail once you’ve read it; news to me. I re-received the past three years worth in one almighty chunk.
I guess I could have opened each one individually or started to try to file them somehow but in blind panic I selected the entire contents of the inbox and hit delete.
Extreme? Yes. Satisfying? Very.
For a few moments looking at my empty inbox I felt so serene I wondered what other areas of my life I could declutter. I have recently moved house and still not unpacked properly yet; it seemed as good as time as any to sort out my stuff.
Excess clutter can be both a symptom and a cause of stress. If we don’t regularly clear out our homes, bodies, relationships and minds we are inviting chaos into our lives. After completing my mass clear out I feel lighter and happier. I was never consciously aware that my external environment was affecting my well-being but I feel so unburdened now it clearly was.
Here are 5 tips that helped me:
1) If you are easily overwhelmed (like me) allocate 10 minutes a day initially to what could be a mammoth task. Start with a drawer, a shelf or a worktop. The satisfaction you feel as you progress means you will naturally want to dedicate more time to this. Before you know it you will have completed an entire room, followed by your whole home.
2) Pick 5 items a day and find homes for them. I had many ‘bits’ hanging around my kitchen worktop because I use them regularly and didn’t know where to put them. Now my surfaces are clear and I am finding pleasure in cooking again without constantly moving things out of the way.
3) Ask yourself if you really need each item. If you are not sure you probably don’t. If you haven’t used for a long period are you really likely too again?
4) For each new item of clothing I buy now I make sure I donate one of my existing pieces to charity. No more bulging wardrobes for me.
5) Sort the mail out when it arrives. I have a folder for anything I need to deal with and everything else either gets recycled or filed away appropriately.