Letting Go Of Clutter

Letting Go

Too much stuff is a common problem. Whether in your home, closet or your office desk. Excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. Studies have shown that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress. I know this is not new to you, you’ve heard it before. Be aware, clutter doesn’t  just confine itself to your physical space. It is insidious and creeps into every aspect of your life if left unchecked.

You may see clutter show up in the files on your computer, the 100’s of E-mails piling up, numerous notifications from your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Thus creating a digital form of clutter, eroding your ability to focus and perform creative tasks. That constant ping or vibrate every few minutes from your phone or computer is competing for your attention. This overconsumption of digital stuff creates “clutter” in your brain and  has the same effect on your brain as physical clutter. Then there is the endless to-do list constantly floating around in your head, along with worries, doubts, fears, anxieties  also competing for your attention.

Hence, your brain doesn’t get a chance to fully enter creative flow or process experiences. When you overload your brain, you are putting too much on its plate, brain energy is divided. The result? You can feel like you have ADD as your mind bounces from one thought to one “ping” after another tripping over old stuff, new stuff, all vying for your immediate attention.  It becomes harder to focus clearly,  filtering information takes longer. Switching quickly between tasks becomes a challenge.  Your memory , what memory? Is affected.   Making it easy to feel overwhelm much quicker than you use to. Overwhelm is your brain saying too much information at this time, slow down and let me process this. Maybe it is time to let go of some things that are “cluttering” up your life.  I do believe Clutter is a symptom or external evidence of what is going on inside your head. However for this blog we are going to start  with treating the symptom,  which in turn, can have, a positive effect on the cause. It is all about  letting go. Today, it is about letting go of the physical clutter.

I am aware that the thought of letting go of something you possess can create anxiety so I have brought in an expert to help you ease that anxiety. Meet Maxwell Ryan founder of Apartment Therapy. He is devoted to stylish living in small spaces so he knows a thing or two about de-cluttering.

Maxwell says “My method for easing the anxiety of letting something go is to use what I call an Outbox,” Here’s how it works:

SET UP Find a space for your Outbox. It doesn’t need to be a physical box, just an out-of-the-way place such as a closet or guest room. For smaller homes, it can be the corner of a room or the space behind a door. The Outbox is not a “toss-it” pile, but rather a holding spot for items we’re unsure about.

 CONSIDER  Choose a space that needs de-cluttering. It can be a small bookcase or an entire room.   Examine every item in that space and ask yourself:

Do I love it?

Do I use it?

Does my home need it?

If you answer “no” to any question, place the item in the Outbox.

DECIDE  Anything can go in the Outbox, but it must stay there for at least a week. After a week you can choose to keep it, get rid of it, or-if you’re still unsure-wait one more week. You’ll find that once the separation anxiety has passed, it’s easy to clean out and clear out a space.

For others it may not be the anxiety of letting go, it may be that, just the thought of getting organized, completely overwhelms you.  May I suggest organizing in bits, small steps? Commit to 15 minutes. a day of clearing out, organizing. Be sure to set a timer, it helps keep you focused and prevents you from losing track of time.    Continue with the same project for 15 minutes a day until it is complete before you tackle another. Knowing you won’t spend hours of your precious, limited time working on an organizational project might make organizing feel doable and easier to manage. Pick a project like a kitchen drawer or a bookcase, clear one counter, de-clutter one shelf to start.  Be sure to choose an item or area that nags at you daily. Remember you are looking for that Single Small Success. Beginning your war against clutter with a small success creates momentum and motivation to keep going. When you feel that tug to quit, or give up,  go to that one clear space, shelf or drawer to remind yourself of your  goal. When you see what’s possible you gain a new burst of energy for the next step. Keep going stick to those 15 minutes a day. You will be amazed at what order you can achieve with just 15 minutes a day.

Remember though, it is your perception of clutter that matters, not someone else’s. Exercise your power of choice.

If you like a notebook and pen handy or a photo of your significant other on your desk and it doesn’t feel like clutter to you, then it’s not.

To some, being in a totally organized room or area can feel sterile and be stifling to their creativity and productivity and for others it is exactly what they need.

It is about creating spaces that allow energy to flow and  make you feel at ease to live comfortably, powerfully and live a life you love.

Continue to stay empowered as you Rise Above It! You can do it!

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