With Covid-19, we should take this one in the lifetime experience for a new beginning. It often encourages rituals of cleaning, clearing, decluttering, and reorganizing. These processes are far more mental, emotional, and even spiritual acts, than physical ones.
Clutter is clutter, and it affects you whether you see it or not. Clutter can trigger the stress hormone cortisol. It increases tension and anxiety. This stress can lead to unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms – from consuming unhealthy foods to avoidance coping strategies like oversleeping, or binge-watching television.
Studies show that those who describe their home as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and a lower capacity to think, make decisions, and stay focused. It also affects relationships, both work and at home. A mess can create silent tension.
Cleaning the FEELGOODX Way:
- Two-step process. Think of this process as two separate and distinct activities: first, declutter, and then reorganize. Do not do both at the same time. They are different types of thinking.
- Set aside the time. Depending on your goal, set aside the appropriate time, and make it your primary focus. You need to be mindful and present every step of the way.
STEP ONE: DECLUTTER
- Think in categories (and subcategories), not spaces. Classes (and subcategories) are your best friends when decluttering. The brain likes to group items to make better sense of them. Find all the similar things and bring them together.
- Keep, Trash, Donate. One category at a time, decide what you keep, what is trash/ recyclable, and what gets donated.
- Only keep what adds value. Don’t convince yourself. It should be obvious. What brings you joy, or has a distinct purpose? Keep things that make you smile and motivate you. Ask yourself: What does this item represent? Why is keeping it necessary? Why can’t I live without it? Does this make my day better?
- Get it out. Once you have decided on what goes, get it out. Before you start to reorganize, get the stuff out of the way. Drop off donations, trash, and recyclables. You want to start the next stage with a new space and mind.
STEP TWO: REORGANIZE
- Look at your space with fresh eyes. Reorganization can mean rearranging and re-evaluating, where things go and why. Before you start this next stage, take a break and come back to your space with fresh eyes. Allow yourself to challenge your old ways and see if there aren’t new and better ways of organizing.
- Think about the process when you decide on placement. Now that you have everything organized in categories of like things, and you have decided what to keep, it’s time to put things back where they belong. Consciously choose what goes where. Think in terms of the process to determine placement. Process mapping how you live and use your things ensures that everything is where it should be.
- Don’t declutter your space. Now that you have come this far don’t declutter your spaces. Stay present and be conscious of your choices. If there is no space for something, then you might re-evaluate your reason for keeping it. Go back to ‘only keep what adds value’ and determine if you need this item. It means creating a system to keep your stuff organized.
Bring some mindfulness to all your physical spaces. Use the principles above and look at:
- Your digital devices: phone screen, computer desktop, files, etc.
- Your workspaces: office, physical desk, shelves, etc.
- Each room of your home: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, family room, etc.
- The spaces you don’t think of shed, garage, fridge, car, storage, etc.
Clearing and organizing your space creates space for new things and balance in your life. It has a direct effect on your mind – your thinking and your emotions. Clearing your area (s) makes room for growth, new opportunities, fresh perspectives, and FEELGOODX.
Living clutter-free will help you do better by thinking better.